Hip-hop music – one more tool of ISIS propaganda

Posted: Motiejus Ramasauškas Date: 2017-08-16 04:03

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Throughout the recent years the world is shocked by more and more horrific acts of terrorism, executed by the terrorist group ISIS (Islamic State), which aims to make the Islam a global religion. However, to spread the radical ideas in the 21st century killing alone is not enough – in order to attract the attention of the young generation, the terrorists use the new media as their new tool.

ISIS was founded in 1999 and, at that time, it was called the Organization of Monotheism and Jihad. Several years later it became a part of al Qaeda, the most well-known terrorist organization that executed the September 11 attacks. After the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who was the leader of the organization, during the U.S. forces’ attack in 2006, this group cooperated with some smaller unions by creating the Islamic State.

ISIS particularly intensified in 2013, after the merge with Syrian radicals from the al-Nusra front. The aim of the organization is to fight the western society, who are considered to be the illegal conquerors of the land, also, to restore the popularity of Islam and to make this religion the most popular in the whole world, without even questioning it.

The organization creates quite a lot of propaganda visual content to spread the radical Islamist ideas. Even though ISIS does not refuse the modern technologies as a tool to declare their truths, the members of it condemn the modernization of the religion. According to them, religion has to be practiced as the prophet Muhammad preached. It includes public death penalty, as it existed during the years of the prophet’s life.

The hostages, taken to the captivity by the ISIS, do not disappear. On the contrary, the terrorists publicize the professionally made video reportages that openly display the executions – the hostages are frequently decapitated, shot down or burned alive, women – raped.

In spite of the jihadists’ contempt to the western culture, they need to advertise their own religion in some ways as well. The desperate attempts to attract the youth has already got an English term “Jihad Cool”. That is how the radicals try to appeal to the young people by producing not only the propaganda videos, but also various toys, magazines, clothes and even hip-hop music videos that ostensibly should create the image of the fashionable religion.

The phenomenon of jihadists’ rap exists for more than 10 years, it all began when the song “Dirty Kuffar” was released. The controversial video, which starts with the episodes from the news reportage showing the U.S. soldiers killing the Iraqi, attracted a lot of attention – beginning with the headlines in the newspapers and ending with the reportages on the TV – in 2004 everyone talked about it. At that time, the Islam extremist Mohammad al-Massari claimed that the single is sold everywhere and each person he meets in the mosques asks where they can buy the album. He admitted that he does not know any young Muslim, who have not seen that video.

The situation regarding Omar Shafik Hammami (also known as Abu Mansoor) was also quite widely discussed. He was born in U.S, Alabama and during the school years he understood that he want to practice Islam, which his family was already practicing, although they went to the Baptist church. Hammami quit the college and a few years later he moved to Somali, where he joined the militant group al-Shabaab.

Around 2010, the first Omar’s hip-hop records, where the terrorist, as if by imitating Tupac, tells about the greatness of the war against the west, were released. In 2013 Hammami was shot down by the al-Shabaab soldiers. It can be expected that it was the response to his brutal music.

Probably the most well-known case is related to the British rapper Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary. He is the 25-year-old member of ISIS. He was born in the family of radicals – his father was arrested and possibly tortured in Egypt due to the suspicions of being the radical Islamist, all this happened when Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary was only 6 years old.

The young man is known for the incident in 2014, when on his Twitter account he posted a photo, in which the rapper himself was visible with a cut off head of a man in his hands. Abdel was also suspected for being involved in the execution of the British journalist James Doley.

Although in the February of 2015 he was sentenced for 25 years in prison, the half of the year after the sentencing, Bary disappeared in Turkey. The British Security Service is currently searching for him.

One more singer of ISIS is the German Denis Cuspert, who has died only 3 months ago. From the very young age, he had problems with the law enforcement, in 2010 he had a car accident, which changed his life. A not very successful rapper published a video, where he announced about the end of his career as a rapper and told about his conversion to Islam and joining the radicals “Die Wahre Religion” (meaning The True Religion). After he accepted Islam, Cuspert became a nasheed (an Arabic music genre, which is mostly performed a capella and occasionally accompanied by percussion instruments) singer.

Furthermore, Cuspert was involved in the militaristic Islam activity. In 2013 together with Junud al-Sham group he fought against the ones supporting the president of Syria Bashar al-Assad. In 2014 he most likely was one of the ISIL members, who fought against the Syrian army. In the video publicized at the same year Cuspert is seen having a cut off head of a man in his hands. On the 16th of October in 2015 he died during the U.S attacks in Syria.

What is the most scary that the radicals seem to have no boundaries – besides the increase in the crimes against the humanity, those already mentioned crimes against the music are also getting quite frequent. It is obvious that such kind of attempts of jihadists do not delight the western societies – while searching for the information about the ISIS rappers on the Internet, there are more cases of the mockery found than the instances showing that a real threat is felt.