Isil’s tech and propaganda progress: a new app and a nasheed in Mandarin

RASHMEE ROSHAN LALL December 14, 2015
Paris attacks mastermind Abdelhamid Abaaoud on the cover of Isil's magazine 'Dabiq'

Paris attacks mastermind Abdelhamid Abaaoud on the cover of Isil’s magazine ‘Dabiq’

Following on from news of Isil’s losing streak on both the digital and real battlefield – Sinjar, oilfields, internet space – here’s what it is still doing right:

** It has released a rebranded version of its smartphone app, allowing instant download of many of its chilling videos

** It has just issued a catchy nasheed, a Muslim devotional song that does not use musical instruments, entitled ‘I Am a Mujahid’ and it is in Mandarin Chinese. As Quartz writes, it “released a song ostensibly trying to recruit Muslims in China…The singers have a firm grasp of Mandarin pronunciation.” This is staggering in terms of ambition.

** A recent report by the Soufan Group, a consultancy, estimates that the number of Isil’s foreign recruits has more than doubled since June 2014, to a total of 27,000-31,000. They have come from at least 86 countries.

Clearly, the battlefield losses still have some way to go to dissipate Isil’s appeal.