ISIS Islamic State (ISIL/IS) Daesh – Al Qaeda Media/Propaganda and United Cyber Caliphate is now in Southern Mexico and Latin America
ISIL is known for its extensive and effective use of propaganda. It uses a version of the Muslim Black Standard flag and developed an emblem which has clear symbolic meaning in the Muslim world.
In November 2006, shortly after the group’s rebranding as the “Islamic State of Iraq”, it established the Al-Furqan Foundation for Media Production, which produces CDs, DVDs, posters, pamphlets, and web-related propaganda products and official statements. It began to expand its media presence in 2013, with the formation of a second media wing, Al-I’tisam Media Foundation, in March and the Ajnad Foundation for Media Production, specialising in nasheeds and audio content, in August. In mid-2014, ISIL established the Al-Hayat Media Center, which targets Western audiences and produces material in English, German, Russian and French. When ISIL announced its expansion to other countries in November 2014 it established media departments for the new branches, and its media apparatus ensured that the new branches follow the same models it uses in Iraq and Syria. FBI Director James Comey has said that ISIL’s “propaganda is unusually slick,” noting that, “They are broadcasting… in something like 23 languages”.
In July 2014, al-Hayat began publishing a digital magazine called Dabiq, in a number of different languages including English. According to the magazine, its name is taken from the town of Dabiq in northern Syria, which is mentioned in a hadith about Armageddon. Al-Hayat also began publishing other digital magazines, including the Turkish language Konstantiniyye, the Ottoman word for Istanbul, and the French language Dar al-Islam. By late 2016, these magazines had apparently all been discontinued, with Al-Hayat’s material being consolidated into a new magazine called Rumiyah (Arabic for Rome).
Amaq News Agency
Al Bayan Radio
ISIL’s use of social media has been described by one expert as “probably more sophisticated than [that of] most US companies”. It regularly uses social media, particularly Twitter, to distribute its messages. The group uses the encrypted instant messaging service Telegram to disseminate images, videos and updates.
The group is known for releasing videos and photographs of executions of prisoners, whether beheadings, shootings, caged prisoners being burnt alive or submerged gradually until drowned. Journalist Abdel Bari Atwan described ISIL’s media content as part of a “systematically applied policy”. The escalating violence of its killings “guarantees” the attention of the media and public.
Along with images of brutality, ISIL presents itself as “an emotionally attractive place where people ‘belong’, where everyone is a ‘brother’ or ‘sister’”. The “most potent psychological pitch” of ISIL media is the promise of heavenly reward to dead jihadist fighters. Frequently posted in their media are dead jihadists’ smiling faces, the ISIL ‘salute’ of a ‘right-hand index finger pointing heavenward’, and testimonies of happy widows. ISIL has also attempted to present a more “rational argument” in a series of videos hosted by the kidnapped journalist John Cantlie. In one video, various current and former US officials were quoted, such as US President Barack Obama and former CIA Officer Michael Scheuer.