by Elizabeth Kendal in Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin

A key factor behind the popularity of Islamic State’s Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (also known as Caliph Ibrahim) is that he champions a whole new narrative. Al-Qaeda has long fuelled its fighters on a narrative of victimhood. Baghdadi on the other hand, fuels his fighters on a narrative of strength and victory. While al-Qaeda offers its fighters the prospect of a long war against oppressors, Islamic State (IS) offers its fighters what Allah promised: success!

Dabiq - 15 front coverIS regularly publishes a glossy propaganda magazine called DABIQ, the principal aim of which is to recruit jihadists from the West. It is sophisticated, slick, beautifully produced and printed in several languages, including English. The Clarion Project is one of several groups to maintain a DABIQ archive. In keeping with the IS narrative, DABIQ magazine is filled with images of Islamic success. Images of sunny idyllic gardens hosting frolicking Muslim children and handsome young jihadis in military fatigues petting fluffy kittens are juxtaposed with pictures of the ‘enemy’ — usually Western political and military figures — and graphic images of obscene violence: burning ‘apostates’, beheaded infidels, rotting corpses and scenes of carnage from the battlefield. The overall message is that true Muslims are not victims, they are winners! So, to quote the Islamic call to prayer, ‘hasten to success’. By this means IS has recruited hundreds of thousands of global Muslims to its cause.

Until now, DABIQ has always targeted Muslims and focused on politics (for Islam is primarily and inherently political). However, the latest issue published on 31 July, targets Christians and focuses on Christianity.

First, it presents Allah as Creator and Islam (submission to Allah) as the natural religion of humanity. It then delves into a lengthy treatise on historic responses to Islam before asserting that the choice facing Christians remains the same: they can convert to Islam, surrender and accept subjugation and humiliation under Islam, or resist Islam and face war/jihad. It attacks Western civilisation, crediting its decline, not to a rejection of Christianity, but to Christianity itself which it decries as deviant, blasphemous and essentially pagan, incapable of discerning right from wrong. It also includes four articles by Muslim converts from Christianity, three of which are clearly aimed at drawing disillusioned nominal Christians and secular Westerners into Islam which, unlike Christianity, is presented as principled, pure and the path to peace.

The savage face of Islam, spread by the sword

While one ‘face’ of this magazine is seductive, the other is as savage as its title: Break the Cross. The Christian scriptures are denounced as corrupted, the Christian Church is slandered as pagan and Christians are identified as those to be hated and fought. A four-page article entitled ‘Why We Hate You & Why We Fight You’ should be required reading for all the West’s ‘progressive’ elite. ‘We hate you,’ it says, equating all disbelieving Westerners with Christians, ‘because you are unbelievers … [and] because your secular, liberal societies permit the very things that Allah has prohibited while banning many of the things He has permitted … We hate you for your crimes against Islam . . . As long as your subjects continue to mock our faith, insult the prophets of Allah . . . burn the Quran, and openly vilify the laws of the Shari’ah, we will continue to retaliate, not with slogans and placards, but with bullets and knives . . . The fact is, even if you were to stop bombing us, imprisoning us, torturing us, vilifying us, and usurping our lands, we would continue to hate you because our primary reason for hating you will not cease to exist until you embrace Islam … We fight you in order to bring you out from the darkness of disbelief and into the light of Islam . . . [so] accept reality and recognise that we will never stop hating you until you embrace Islam.’

The final article entitled ‘By The Sword’ includes a shocking, extremely graphic image. It affirms that Islam is to be spread by means of the sword, by means of jihad, by means of fighting and that this is ‘an obligation found in the Quran’. This issue of DABIQ, which also spends six glossy pages glorifying IS’s global terrorist operations, can be expected to trigger an escalation in attacks on churches and Christians everywhere.


Redeem this situation and use it for his purposes:

* May evil be exposed, recognised as evil, and rejected. ‘Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognise them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognise them by their fruits.’ (Matthew 7:15-20 ESV).

* May minds be awakened to reality/truth and hearts made receptive to the Gospel. ‘The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. And after she was baptised, and her household as well …’ (Conversion of Lydia, from Acts 16:13-15 ESV)

* May the Church be revived and sanctified: flooded with faith, bolstered with boldness and infused with urgency for prayer and mission. ‘I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it’ (Matthew 16:18 ESV).

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