As Thought Front has discussed before, terrorist groups sometimes use arguably cynical recruitment pitches that appeal to people’s self-interest. Al-Shabaab pointed out that you can get 500-700 years worth of prayer just for standing on the battlefield, and Islamic State came up with the win-win equation that jihad means either you go to Paradise or win on earth.
And now the terrorist group Al Muhajirun has its own irresistible pitch: jihad is a party!
Al Muhajirun (“The Emigrants”) – which blogs with WordPress, the same site hosting Thought Front – is a terrorist organization announced last year. Ostensibly, they insist they are not “new” or even an “organization,” but rather an assemblage of individual fighters who converged on the Middle East to fight in the name of Allah. Al Muhajirun has no ostensible affiliation with ISIS or any other terrorist group.
But like many other terrorist groups, Al Muhajirun has its own propaganda videos, helpfully with English subtitles. One such video, entitled “Time for This; Time for That…,” shows all the fun you have when fighting in the name of Allah.
Rather than a film just showing terrorism or military exercises, this video is set at a wedding party celebrating two separate marriages. One of the grooms, identified as Abu Aisha al Yamani, even notes that they slaughtered three sheep for the festivity.
Apparently as a form of celebration, the men fire their guns in the air.
There is no footage of the ceremony, but we are treated to video of men partaking in the wedding feast.
“The guys are happy and enjoying themselves,” says someone identified as Jarrah al Yamani “From the provision of Allah, Allah provides for us in this blessed land.”
Then someone hands out sweets next to a swimming pool that looks poorly maintained, and advises that every man marry two women, perhaps because it means more parties.
“By Allah, what a wedding party,” proclaims someone identified as Abu al Bara al Yamani (apparently everyone has the same last name).
Abu al Bara continues,
It was a great party. We ate, and sang and danced and everything. We got married [presumably Abu is using “we” collectively, because he is not one of the grooms], thanks to the grace of Allah, relaxed and wage jihad in the cause of Allah. Better than sitting at home or being with our friends or riding motor bikes or playing football. That’s all over. The most important thing is our goal is Paradise…
The video later cuts back to the post-wedding festivities, where someone identified as Abu Hamza al Yamani delivers a wedding speech while people laugh.
And they sing and dance.
The veracity of the weddings is not entirely clear. Notable is that we never see the wedding ceremony: it cuts from before the wedding to the feast, and then to Abu al Bara talking about it post hoc. We also never see any women.
Soon after the video turns to the commonplace footage of military might and violence.
Just as Al-Shabaab and Islamic State before, so too is Al Muhajirun trying to make a convincing pitch for people to engage in jihad. But this time, the selling point is that things are so fun – better than football or hanging out with friends or even riding those motor bikes the kids are using these days.
Will making jihad look fun convince people to join Al Muhajirun? We can only wait and see.
Copyright notice: video and all screencaps thereof are intellectual property of Al Muhajirun. If they objected to Thought Front’s usage they are free to contact me.