Militant Imagery Project

The use of propaganda and imagery by terrorist groups has long been an understudied dimension of the broader field of political violence. This project explores the use of imagery and visual themes by militant groups, focusing largely on jihadist media production. Jihadist organizations and individuals inspired by their message are prolific producers and distributors of visual propaganda, and their efforts have expanded exponentially online. However, these images frequently utilize themes which can be inscrutable to those not familiar with the sub-culture. It is our hope that this project will provide academics, practitioners, and students with a basic contextual understanding of the ideas these images convey before they turn to the larger questions of why they are employed, how they work, and what responses they may elicit.

The First Edition of this project was completed in 2006. The second phase (2010-2013) included indexing the project’s initial images, expanding and incorporating new images, and putting all of the images online in a searchable format. Particular attention was given to groups who use images to further financial, material, and ideological support for violence. The imagery dataset provides not just a textual analysis, but also full translation, if texts are part of the image, and a search engine for those interested in specific visual motifs. While by no means an exhaustive list, we feel it provides a sample of the most influential and prominent images and themes. We hope it will serve as a useful tool for practitioners, academics and the general public. Contingent upon funding and interest, we hope to update the dataset to highlight visual themes of additional militant groups in the future.

Epigraphy for UBL
The image was scanned and posted on a website message board; it appears to be a leaflet distributed by Hamas...
Read More
Banner Celebrating UBL
This image seems to have been produced before Usama bin Ladin’s death on 5 January 2011, partly because it makes...
Read More
Image of UBL with Hamas Logo
The top caption in red states the name and title of Usama bin Ladin (“the martyr shaykh Usama bin Ladin”)....
Read More
Image of Warrior, Horse & UBL
The captions from top to bottom quotes a famous statement from UBL: “aqsamtu bi-Allah al-‘azim lladhi rafa‘a al-sama’ bi-la ‘amad”...
Read More
Pasdaran (IRGC) Logo
This is the logo of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), or Pasdaran in Farsi. It was founded in May...
Read More
Lashkar-e-Jhangvi Logo
The image expresses the virulently anti-Shi‘a nature of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ). At the top appears the slogan “ya Allah madad” (“O...
Read More
Image Commemorating Muhammad al-Fiqqi
While participating in jihad gives a jihadist important religious credibility, death in battle provides immortality, as the deceased is ranked...
Read More
Nawa-i Afghan Jihad Magazine Cover (October 2009)
The image is the cover of the October 2009 issue of the magazine Nawa-i Afghan Jihad. It includes a number...
Read More

Stay Informed

Sign up to receive updates from CTC.

Sign up