Thursday 20 July 2017

Al-Qa'ida launches glossy mag for female supporters

Julius Cavendish

Not content with launching an English-language magazine that debuted with a feature called "How to make a bomb in the kitchen of your Mom", al-Qa'ida's media wing has followed up with a magazine for women, mixing beauty tips with lessons in jihad.

The 31-page glossy, 'Al-Shamikha', which translates loosely as 'The Majestic Woman', features a niqab-clad woman posing with a sub-machine gun on its cover.

Like 'Elle' or 'Cosmopolitan', it includes advice on finding the right man ("marrying a mujahideen"), how to achieve a perfect complexion (stay inside with your face covered), and gives tips on first aid and etiquette.

Alongside sisterly advice such as "not (to) go out except when necessary" and to always wear a niqab for protection from the sun, the magazine runs interviews with martyr's wives and praises those who give their lives in the name of the editors' interpretation of Islam. "From martyrdom, believers will gain security, safety and happiness," it says.

For readers not quite ready for such a drastic step, it argues the pros and cons of honey facemasks and lobbies against "towelling too forcibly".

The magazine's editors explain their thinking in a launch issue preamble: "Because women constitute half of the population -- and one might even say that they are the population since they give birth to the next generation -- the enemies of Islam are bent on preventing the Muslim woman from knowing the truth about her religion and her role, since they know all too well what would happen if women entered the field of jihad. . . The nation of Islam needs women who know the truth about their religion and about the battle and its dimensions."

Analysts say the idea is to market global jihad with the same slick feel as 'Cosmopolitan' or 'Marie Claire' push Western culture to young women. Al-Shamikha certainly isn't the first jihadist magazine for women. It follows 'The Granddaughters of Khansa', which launched in 2010 only to fold after two editions. It bore a number of similarities to 'Al-Shamikha'.

Ambitions

The US security establishment is concerned with al-Qa'ida's publishing ambitions, which are intended to recruit followers among the wider Muslim world.

The launch of 'Al-Shamikha' comes nine months after al-Qa'ida launched an English-language glossy, 'Inspire', a magazine targeting young Muslims in the West whom it hopes to incite to acts of terrorism. 'Inspire' is believed to be edited by a US citizen-turned-militant, Samir Khan, currently in hiding in Yemen. Before fleeing the US, Khan turned out a series of jihadi magazines called Jihad Recollections which, like 'Inspire', were trumpeted by cyber jihadis across the web. (© Independent News Service)

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