Textbooks for the ISIS Curriculum

Although the media may pay attention to Daesh’s military activities and brutal suppression, nonetheless Daesh also has the dubious distinction of arguably being the most bureaucratically accomplished terrorist organization in history. That means the terrorist organization oversees a number of activities associated with statehood, including an education system. Of course, the curriculum is guided by Daesh’s interpretation of Islam, meaning classes are separated by gender, and reportedly they exclude music, arts, sports, and philosophy.

Although what is surprising is that not only does Daesh have an education system, but it even prints its own textbooks. Impressively, the textbook covers have professional graphics one might expect from textbooks from real printing houses, complete with trite stock photos (do they have a subscription to Shutterstock?), but also branded as Islamic State textbooks. Now it is true that Daesh has demonstrated sleek production values in its videos, as well as magazines, so it is not implausible that they could produce sleek textbooks.

I would have thought that Daesh would use a more austere style for their textbooks, and perhaps even regard any other style as blasphemous, but apparently not.

I suspect much of the textbook content is plagiarized from other sources, although based on reverse image searches it appears the cover designs are original, albeit peppered with stock images.

I also question whether Daesh is actually able to produce one book for every student. Perhaps students share or photocopy.

Surprisingly, the Daesh curriculum includes English, despite the group’s antipathy to the Anglophone world. I suppose even ISIS must concede that English is the language of modern times. There is also math, sciences, Arabic, Islam, and fighting/physical activity.

These covers were gleaned from Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently, who divulged some information on what grades these are for, plus more leaked information here and here. This must not be entirely complete, as I found an English One and English Three, but no English Two.

Two of the most prominent design elements throughout are the inclusion of weapons, particularly assault rifles, as well as the Islamic State flag.

Here are the leaked covers I could find, with captions for those I know or believe to be the subject.

First Grade Textbooks

The first grade textbooks include a textbook on physical fitness whose cover seems to have been inspired by the UFC octagon. There is also a math textbook featuring a gibberish string of equations.


Second Grade

Third Grade

Fourth Grade

Fourth grade, apparently, is the year students begin to learn English.

Fifth Grade

Sixth Grade

Seventh Grade

Eighth Grade

I particularly enjoy the bouncing ISIS logo cube on the Physics textbook cover.

Ninth Grade

Covers include a drone attacking New York City, homemade bombs, and a smashed antiquity.

This grade’s English textbook cover helpfully reminds students that smoking is prohibited, of which Ben Carson was ignorant.

Others for which I do not know the grade:

Copyright notice: all covers intellectual property of the Islamic State. If they object to my use then they can contact me.