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A stunning reversal

Wednesday, April 13th, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — Dabiq vs the Qur’an — again, it’s the formal precision of the reversal that inrerests me ]

SPEC DQ one vs all


It is not the fact that the Islamic State delights in killing infidels that surprises me, it’s the utter reversal of the Qur’an’s own emphasis on the value of a single life that catches my eye.

For the Qur’an, a single human life is worth the world, unless that life is subject to the death penalty for murder or mayhem; for IS, the lives of a world of infidels are worth less than a single Muslim life.

The one and the many, an individual and the whole world — how differently they are regarded in these two texts.

DoubleQuoting Trumps and Cruzes

Saturday, March 26th, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — various angles on graphical thinking in two Republican presidential campaigns ]

To start with, here is presidential candidate Donald Trump tweeting a humorous, tasteless and wildly unfair DoubleQuote in the Wild against his rival for the Republican nomination, Ted Cruz — evidence for the pervasiveness and persuasiveness of this mode of thinking & linking, if any such were needed:

The tweet comes from Trump’s verified Twitter account, and might as well feature the words, “I’m Donald Trump, and I approve this message”. Ugly, and thus sad.


Once you get me started DoubleQuoting Trump and Cruz, though, it’ll be hard to rein me in.

The Trump logo below was, I believe created for a graphic design contest unaffiliated with the Trump Campaign, but has since been tweeted at least once by the verified “Real Donald Trump” account, while the cruz logo is undoubtedoy official.

trump cruz logos

Both, you’ll note, feature the American flag and a lone star, though Trump is triumphantly New Yorkan, while Cruz is junior senator for the Lone Star State.


While some have compared the Cruz logo with such secular analogs as the Al Jazeera logo and the Onion‘s onion, the Washington Post comes closer to the point, trumping them with a variety of pentacostal-themed logos

cruz logos secular sacred

— a matter of some significance given Ted Cruz’s anointing to a kingship role within his father’s “Seven Mountains” pentecostal faith tradition.

And Donald Trump? Here the hair is significant, and Trump himself seems to have a good-humored attitude, as evidenced by the upper panel below. If this seems superficial, however, the lower panel demonstrates beyond question that Trump follows the Golden Mean —

trump toupee golden

— though whether the emphasis is placed on “golden” or “mean” would seem to be a matter of personal and political preference.

A misappropriated image?

Thursday, February 25th, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — minor correction to a USG CVE tweet ]


I don’t think there’s any room for doubt about the Islamic State enslaving captured women and selling them. The IS magazine Dabiq, issue 4, under the heading The Revival of Slavery Before the Hour, recounts:

After capture, the Yazidi women and children were then divided according to the Shar?’ah amongst the fighters of the Islamic State who participated in the Sinjar operations, after one fifth of the slaves were transferred to the Islamic State’s authority to be divided as khums.

This large-scale enslavement of mushrik families is probably the first since the abandonment of this Shar?’ah law. The only other known case – albeit much smaller – is that of the enslavement of Christian women and children in the Philippines and Nigeria by the mujahidin there. The enslaved Yazidi families are now sold by the Islamic State soldiers as the mushrik?n were sold by the Companions (radiyallahu ‘anhum) before them. Many well-known rulings are observed, including the prohibition of separating a mother from her young children.

There’s even a theological justification offered – the avoidance of sin. Discussing the long period in which slavery was no longer practiced in Islam, the writer says:

Finally, a number of contemporary scholars have mentioned that the desertion of slavery had led to an increase in fahishah (adultery, fornication, etc.), because the shar’i alternative to marriage is not available, so a man who cannot afford marriage to a free woman finds himself surrounded by temptation towards sin.

Furthermore, Dabiq issue 9 contains an article titled Slave Girls or Prostitutes by one Umm Sumayyah al-Muhajirah in which the writer, poresumably a woman, writes:

I and those with me at home prostrated to Allah in gratitude on the day the first slave-girl entered our home. Yes, we thanked our Lord for having let us live to the day we saw kufr humiliated and its banner destroyed. Here we are today, and after centuries, reviving a prophetic Sunnah, which both the Arab and non-Arab enemies of Allah had buried. By Allah, we brought it back by the edge of the sword, and we did not do so through pacifism, negotiations, democracy, or elections. We established it according to the prophetic way, with blood-red swords, not with fingers for voting or tweeting.


However, the image used by USG in the tweet above appears to be a photo taken for Reuters by photographer Ali Hashisho, with the legend:

Shiite Muslim women chained to one another march During a reenactment of the Battle of Karbala During a mourning process, two days before the day of Ashura, in Saksakieh village, southern Lebanon. December 4, 2011

As I say, this doesn’t in any way disprove the Islamic State’s use of slavery as a religiously sanctioned practice.


I’m not the first to notice this misattribution — but I do think it’s worth getting these things right, and this is not the first time an Ashura photograph has been misattributed in this way. For an earlier mistaken use of an image from an Ashura procession to illustrate IS treatment of captured women, see this piece.

Gaming Violent Extremism

Friday, February 12th, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — compare, contrast, and consider ]

Let’s do some remote comparative play-testing, okay?

You are an impressionable youth — imagine! — which game would entice you? This one, from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, “played” here without a soundtrack —

— reviewed with wider context, more detail and critique here:

— or, this one, from the Islamic State

— with a hat-tip to Grand Theft Auto?

DoubleQuoting Jacques Louis David

Wednesday, February 10th, 2016

[ by Charles CameronNapoleon at the St Bernard Pass goes to Turkey ]

Jacques Louis David, Bonaparte, the first Versailles version:

Jacques Louis David, Napoleon 600

Introducing Erdoganist art, tweeted by Mustafa Akyol and RT’d by Hayder al-Khoei:



Oh, but it gets better. How’s this for a wild DoubleQuote? I found it while rummaging around for a “best version” of the Erdogan pic:

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