Researching arts and social practices in militant Islamist groups
The eminent Romain Caillet alerted me to this tweet containing a rather interesting video. It shows Abu Iyad al-Tunisi, the leader of Ansar al-Shari’a in Tunisia (AST), at the vigil of Muhammad al-Zahawi, the late leader of Ansar al-Shari’a in Libya (ASL). The video is politically significant because it confirms that AST has close links to ASL, and that by extension, AST has close links with al-Qaida, something that AST has been loathe to officially recognize.
From a cultural point of view, the video also is interesting because it shows an aspect of Islamist funerary practices that is not captured very often on camera.
Since I am
on the topic of cemeteries, I figured I might post this picture that
supposedly shows Abdallah Azzam’s grave at the Babi martyr cemetery outside Peshawar shortly after his burial in late 1989.
The picture is a screenshot from a video that depics the immediate aftermath of Azzam’s assassination as well as the whole burial. Azzam was assassinated by a roadside bomb in Peshawar in the morning of 24 November 1989, and he was buried the same evening. The martyr cemetery at Babi is probably the most famous of all jihadi cemeteries, and many Arab Afghans killed in the 1980s and 1990s rest there.
Today Haidar Sumeri (@IraqiSecurity) tweeted pictures of an Islamic State cemetery in Falluja after it was taken over by Iraqi security forces. We know that jihadis bury their fighters in dedicated cemeteries, but pictures have been hard to come by, hence the Bored Jihadi’s interest. According to Sumeri, the cemetery contains some 300 graves, mainly for foreign fighters. From the ink writing on the concrete slabs, I can discern at least one Tunisian. Many of the gravestones display only the person’s kunya (nickname), and some have no name at all. The dates indicate that several of these people died as late as May and June this year.
UPDATE (7 Sep 2016):
Yesterday Haidar Sumeri tweeted an update with more pictures from the IS cemetery. The new information suggests over 500 people are buried here, around 300 of whom were killed recently. Here are the new pics:
From the burial of a fallen Jabhat al-Nusra fighter. Notice the green and red leaves around the head.