“Hymnen des Jihads”

Last year the German researcher Behnam Said published what may be the first monograph devoted specifically to jihadi anashid. It is based on his PhD thesis on the same topic. You may know Behnam’s work from the several excellent articles on anashid he has published in recent years. Behnam works in the German security service

Verfassungsschutz, and he was recently interviewed in the CTC Sentinel’s “View from the CT foxhole series”.

The book is in German, and I haven’t had the chance to read it yet, but Joas Wagemakers recently published a useful review of it in English. Joas writes that Behnam sets out to provide "a comprehensive (and perhaps even the definitive) treatment of the subject, a task in which he has largely succeeded.”

Jihadi dress: A reading list

Dress and identity markers are an important element of jihadi culture, so here is my best shot at a reading list. It supplements my previous lists on imagery, music, dreams, and poetry. Very little has been written about jihadi dress as such, so most of the items on this list are about Islamist dress or Islamic dress more broadly, but I think they provide useful background information. Please ping me on Twitter or send me an email if you know of other good articles or books on this topic.   

Adraoui, Purist Salafism in France

Hishaam Aidi,
Jihadis in the Hood

Samir Amghar, Le salafisme d’aujourd’hui

Charlesworth, Imported Religious Sartorial Markers and the Beard: Perceptions
and Politics in Morocco

Daily Mail, “Inside the ISIS gift Shop”

Fandy, Political Science Without Clothes: The Politics Of Dress Or Contesting
The Spatiality Of The State In Egypt

Fadwa El Guindi,
Veiling Infitah with Muslim Ethic: Egypt’s Contemporary Islamic Movement 

Haenni, L’islam de marché

Hatem, Gender and Islamism in the 1990s

Herding, Inventing the Muslim Cool: Islamic Youth Culture in Western Europe

Kamal, Islamic Dress and Fashion in the United States

Lewis, Fashion, Shame and Pride: Constructing the Modest Fashion Industry in
Three Faiths

Lindisfarne-Tapper and Bruce Ingham, Languages of Dress in the Middle East

Moors (ed.), Islamic Fashion and Anti-Fashion: New Perspectives from Europe and
North America

Moors, “Islamic Fashion” in Europe: Religious conviction, aesthetic
style, and creative consumption

Moors, “Islam and Fashion on the Streets of San’a, Yemen”

Patel, Concealing to reveal: The informational role of Islamic dress 

Pisoiu, Subcultural Theory Applied to Jihadi and Right-Wing Radicalization in

Sanford, “How to spot a jihadi”

Semple, Black flags and balaclavas: how jihadists dress for imaginary war

Faegheh Shirazi,
Men’s facial hair in Islam: A matter of interpretation 

Emma Tarlo,
Visibly Muslim: Fashion, Politics, Faith

Emma Tarlo,
Reconsidering stereotypes: Anthropological reflections on the jilbab

Jihadi iconography and cinematography: A reading list

So, here’s my reading list on jihadi imagery, to supplement my lists on poetry, dreams and music. I have not included general works on jihadi propaganda or internet use, nor have I included the large literature on visual representations of jihadis in mainstream media or cinema. I also haven’t included blogs (such as Views from the Occident) that contain primary sources on jihadi visual culture. As always, I welcome feedback on items I have missed. 

Anzalone, From “Martyrdom” Videos to Jihadi Journalism in Somalia:
The Rapid Evolution of Harakat al-Shabab al-Mujahideen’s Multimedia

Mike Ball, Documenting
Acts of Cruelty

Beifuss, Branding Terror: The Logotypes and Iconography of Insurgent Groups and
Terrorist Organizations

Bolt, The Violent Image: Insurgent Propaganda and the New Revolutionaries

Lianne Kennedy
Boudali, Afshon Ostovar, and Jarret Brachman, Islamic Imagery Project: Visual
Motifs in Jihadi Internet Propaganda

Maura Conway
and Lisa McInerney, Jihadi Video and Auto-Radicalisation: Evidence from an Exploratory
YouTube Study

Cori Dauber, The Importance of Images to America’s Fight against Violent Jihadis 

Cori E.
Dauber, YouTube War: Fighting in a World of Cameras in Every Cell Phone and Photoshop
on Every Computer

Coi E.
Dauber, The Impact of Visual Images: Addendum

James Der
Derian, Imaging terror: logos, pathos and ethos

Asiem El Difraoui, Al Qaida par l’image ou la prophétie du

Andrew Exum,
The Spectacle of War: Insurgent Video Propaganda and Western Response,

Farwell, Jihadi Video in the “War of Ideas”

Ferrell, Chris Greer, and Yvonne Jewkes, Hip Hop Graffiti, Mexican Murals and the
War on Terror

Jonathan Fighel,
Radical Islamic Internet Propaganda: Concepts, Idioms and Visual Motifs

Finsnes, What is Audio-Visual Jihadi Propaganda? An Overview of the Content of
FFI’s Jihadi Video Database

Tim Foxley,
The Taliban’s Propaganda Activities

Rosaviola Frohneberg and Guido Steinberg, Videopropaganda
und Radikalisierung

Christiane Gruber
and Sune Haugbolle (eds), Visual Culture in the Modern Middle East: Rhetoric of
the Image

Gruen, Innovative Recruitment and Indoctrination Tactics by Extremists: Video Games,
Hip Hop, and the World Wide Web

Hafez, Martyrdom Mythology in Iraq: How Jihadists Frame Suicide Terrorism in
Videos and Biographies

Harrow, Video-Recorded Decapitations: A Seemingly Perfect Terrorist Tactic that
did not Spread

Hill, Hostage Videos in the War on Terror 

Hiltner, Insurgent Media 

Philip Holtmann,
The Symbols of Online Jihad

Walid El
Houri and Dima Saber, Filming Resistance: A Hezbollah Strategy 

Evolution of Jihadi Video

IntelCenter, Jihadi Master Video Guide (JMVG)

IntelCenter Rebel Logo ID Guide for Syria

Aarti Iyer,
Understanding the Power of the Picture: The Effect of Image Content on
Emotional and Political Responses to Terrorism

Rita Katz
and Josh Devon, Jihad on YouTube

Kimmage and Kathleen Ridolfo, The War of Images and Ideas: How Sunni Insurgents
in Iraq and their Supporters Worldwide are Using the Media

Meleagrou-Hitchens, Lights, Camera, Jihad: Al-Shabaab’s Western Media Strategy

Miriam Larsen, Hostage Videos: Tropes of Terror as Social Practice

Lentini and Muhammad Bakashmar, Jihadist Beheading: A Convergence of
Technology, Theology, and Teleology? 

Sue Malvem
and Gabriel Koureas, Terrorist Transgressions: Gender and the Visual Culture of
the Terrorist

al-Marashi, Sadrabiliyya: The Visual Narrative of Muqtada Al-Sadr’s Islamist
Politics and Insurgency in Iraq

Oualla, Strategies of Argumentations in the Propaganda of Jihad: The Analysis
of a Youtube Jihad Video

Nicholas J.
O’Shaughnessy and Paul R Baines, Selling Terror: The Symbolization and
Positioning of Jihad

Perlmutter, Mujahideen Blood Rituals: The Religious and Forensic Symbolism of
Al Qaeda Beheading

Perlmutter, Mujahideen Desecration: Beheadings, Mutilation & Muslim

Prucha, Is this the most successful release of a jihadist video ever? 

Régner, The YouTube-Born Terrorist

Reilly, Pornography of the Dead

Rieger, Lena Frischlich, and Gary Bente, Propaganda 2.0: Psychological Effects
of Right-Wing and Islamic Extremist Internet Videos

Roger, Image Warfare in the War on Terror 

Arab Salem,
Edna Reid, and Hsinchun Chen, Multimedia Content Coding and Analysis:
Unraveling the Content of Jihadi Extremist Groups’ Videos

Aymenn J. Al-Tamimi, 

Archive of Jabhat al-Nusra Billboards and Murals

Weisburd, Comparison of Visual Motifs in Jihadi and Cholo Videos on YouTube

Winkler and Cori E. Dauber, Visual Propaganda and Extremism in the Online

Jihadi music: A reading list

I continue my literature survey with a reading list on music. Jihadis, of course, draw a sharp distinction between instrumental music (musiqa), which they denounce, and a capella hymns (anashid), which they warmly embrace. Still, it is all organized sound, so we can call it music in English. As with the previous reading lists on poetry and dreams, I cast the net wider than just the jihadi universe because it is useful to know what non-jihadi Islamist groups and other religious Muslims are doing. Here again I welcome suggestions and corrections. 

Alagha, “Jihad through ‘music’: The Taliban and Hizbullah” 

Farid El
Asri, Rythmes et voix d’islam: Une socioanthropologie d’artistes musulmans

Talal Atrissi,
“Chants de la résistance et libanisation du Hezbollah”

Carin Berg,
“Tunes of religious resistance? Understanding Hamas music in a conflict context”

Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz, Vom Gangster-Rap zum Jihad-Aufruf – radikalisierende Hymnen
“neugeborener” Salafisten

Dantschke, Ohne Musik geht es nicht: Salafismus und „Nasheeds“ (Anasheed) in

Michaael Frischkopf,
Inshad Dini and Aghani Diniyya in Twentieth Century Egypt: A Review of Styles,
Genres, and Available Recordings

Frischopf, “‘Islamic Music in Africa’ as a Tool for African Studies”

Gazzah, Rhythms and Rhymes of Life: Music and Identification Processes of
Dutch-Moroccan Youth

Jeanette S.
Jouili and Annelies Moors, Islamic Sounds and the Politics of Listening

Kanaaneh, Stig-Magnus Thorsén, Heather Bursheh, and David A. McDonald (eds), Palestinian
Music and Song: Expression and Resistance since 1900

Katy Khan, “‘Sonic
Jihad’: Black Popular Music and the Renegotiation of Muslim Identities in
Post 9/11″

Lemieux and Robert Nill, “The Role and Impact of Music in Promoting (and
Countering) Violent Extremism”

Lohlker, “Hip Hop and Islam: An Exploration into Music, Technology, Religion,
and Marginality”

Mandaville, “Hip-hop, Nasheeds, and ‘Cool’ Sheikhs”

Massad, “Liberating Songs: Palestine Put to Music”

David A.
McDonald, My Voice is My Weapon: Music, Nationalism, and the Poetics of
Palestinian Resistance

Nooshin (ed), Music and the Play of Power: Music, Politics and Ideology in the
Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia

Pelevin and Matthias Weinreich, “The Songs of the Taliban”

Pieslak, Sound Targets

Behnam Said,
“A Brief Look at the History and Power of Anasheed in Jihadist Culture”

Said, “Hymns (Nasheeds): A Contribution to the Study of the Jihadist Culture”

Behnam Said,
“Naschid-Gesänge im Salafismus” 

Said, “Dschihadistische Hymnen. Begrifflichkeiten, Entstehungsgeschichte und
Relevanz für die deutsche Szene”

Salhi, Music, Culture and Identity in the Muslim World: Performance, Politics
and Piety

Seidensticker, “Jihad Hymns (Nashīds) as a Means of Self-Motivation in the
Hamburg Group”

Michael Semple,
“Rhetoric of resistance in the Taliban’s rebel ballads” 

Karin van
Nieuw kerk,  Performing Piety: Singers and Actors in Egypt’s Islamic Revival

Karin van
Nieuwkerk (ed), Muslim Rap, Halal Soaps, and Revolutionary Theater: Artistic
Developments in the Muslim World 

Earle H. Waugh,
Memory, Music, and Religion: Morocco’s Mystical Chanters

Wong, “Conflicts, Occupation, and Music-Making in Palestine”


22 May: I just discovered this:

Thomas H. Johnson and Ahmad Waheed, Analyzing Taliban taranas (chants): an effective Afghan propaganda artifact

Soeuf Elbadawi,
“Allah remixé par le rap : le flow de la prédication en France”

Jihadi dreams: A reading list

Jihadis are generally interested in dreams, and jihadi leaders sometimes use alleged dreams to legitimize decisions or claims to authority. Here’s a reading list for those interested in knowing more. As with the list on poetry, I welcome feedback about items I have missed.

Bulkeley, Kate Adams, and Patricia Davis (eds.), Dreaming in Christianity and

Iain Edgar,
The Dream in Islam

Iain Edgar,
“The ‘true dream’ in contemporary Islamic/Jihadist dreamwork: a case study of
the dreams of Mullah Omar”

Iain Edgar,
“The inspirational night dream in the motivation and justification of Jihad”

Iain Edgar
and David Henig, “The Cosmopolitan and the Noumenal: A Case Study of Islamic
Jihadist Night Dreams as Reported Sources of Spiritual and Political

Iain Edgar,
“Overtures of Paradise: Night Dreams and Islamic Jihadist Militancy”

Iain Edgar,
“The Dream Will Tell: Militant Muslim Dreaming in the Context of Traditional
and Contemporary Islamic Dream Theory and Practice.”

Özgen Felek
and Alexander Knysh (eds.), Dreams and Visions in Islamic Societies

Nile Green,
“The Religious and Cultural Roles of Dreams and Visions in Islam”

Ignác Goldziher,
“The Appearance of the Prophet in Dreams”

Hoffman, The Role of Visions in Contemporary Egyptian Religious Life  

Aaron Hughes,
“Imagining the divine: Ghazali on imagination, dreams, and dreaming”

Benjamin J.
Kilbourne, “Moroccan Dream Interpretation and Culturally Constituted Defense

Lamoreaux, The Early Muslim Tradition of Dream Interpretation

Stephen M.
Lyon, “Motivation and justification from dreams: Muslim decision making
strategies in Punjab, Pakistan”

Katz, Dreams, Sufism and Sainthood: The Visionary Career of Muhammad Al-Zawawi

Meenakshi Khanna, “Dreams
and visions in North Indian sufic traditions ca 1500 1800 AD”

Louise Marlow
(ed.), Dreaming Across Boundaries: The Interpretation of Dreams in Islamic

Mittermaier, Dreams That Matter: Egyptian Landscapes of the Imagination

Bill Musk, “Dreams
and the Ordinary Muslim”

Omar Salem, Mohamed Abdel Latif Ragab, and Said Yousif Abdel Razak, “Significance
of Dreams among United Arab Emirates University Students”

Sirriyeh, Dreams and Visions in the World of Islam

Sirriyeh, “Dream narratives of Muslims’ martyrdom: Constant and changing roles
past and present.”

Sirriyeh, “Dreams of the Holy Dead: Traditional Islamic Oneirocriticism versus
Salafi Scepticism”

G. E. Von
Grunebaum and Roger Callois, The Dream and Human Societies 


20 May: Christopher (@ibnsiqilli) Anzalone alerted me to some important works:

Nozhat Ahmadi, The Role of Dreams in the Political Affairs of the Safavid Dynasty 

Amira Mittermaier, The politics of divine intervention

Ehsan Pouresmaeil, Seeing Allah While Dreaming: A Comparison between Shi‘a and Sunni Beliefs

Jihadi poetry: A reading list

Before I start posting primary sources, I figured I should pay tribute to the work that’s already been done on various elements of jihadi culture. In academia, the way to say “I love you” is to include people in a bibliography, so I’ll be posting a series of them. They’re not meant to be exhaustive, so if your work is not on here, it doesn’t mean I hate you. I do, however, welcome tips about major items I have missed. First topic out: jihadi poetry. 

Umar Abdurrahman, “Poets, Preachers and Pundits: A Critical Examination of the Poetry of Jihad Leaders of Northern Nigeria

Atef Alshaer,  Poetry and Politics in the Modern Arab World

Atef Alshaer,  “The Poetry of Hamas”

Elad Ben-Dror,  “The Poets of Marj al-Zuhur” 

Marc Falkoff (ed.), Poems from Guantanamo: The Detainees Speak

Philip Halldén, “Jihad, retorik och poesi i digitaliseringens tidsålder” (Swedish)

Izza Muhammad Ibrahim Hasan, The Afghan Jihad from the Perspective of the Arab Poets (Arabic)

Bernard Haykel, “Osama bin Laden, Bard of Terror” 

Carole Hillenbrand, “Jihad Poetry in the Age of the Crusades”

Philipp Holtmann, “Casting Supernatural Spells and Fostering Communitas: Abu Yahya Al-Libi’s Qasida Poetry”

Elisabeth Kendall, “Yemen’s al-Qa’ida and Poetry as a Weapon of Jihad”

Hugh Kennedy (ed.),  Warfare and Poetry in the Middle East

Alex Strick van Linschoten and Felix Kuehn, Poetry of the Taliban 


20 May: Christopher (@ibnsiqilli) Anzaone alerted me to an item worth including:

Hadia Dajani-Shakeel, “Jihad In Twelfth-Century Arabic Poetry:  A Moral And Religious Force to Counter The Crusades”

21 May: @yohjiarmstrong sent me this:

Atef Alshaer, “The poetry of Hizbullah”

22 May: I just came across this:

Thomas H. Johnson, The Taliban Insurgency and an Analysis of Shabnamah (Night Letters)