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ISISLatest issue of ISIS’s magazine promotes new terror tactics

Published 11 May 2017

The latest edition of ISIS’s magazine offers alarming new terror tactics for jihadis and is threaded with a strong anti-Christian focus. The new Rumiyah justifies attacks against Christians and encourages ISIS supporters to get hold of guns where possible and lure victims for attacks via online ads. Another section in the magazine, titled “Just Terror Tactics,”, serves as a “start-up guide” for lone wolf attackers, presenting a novel use for the internet and promotes several tactics.

The new Rumiyah justifies attacks against Christians and encourages ISIS supporters to get hold of guns where possible and lure victims for attacks via online ads. 

The latest edition of ISIS’s magazine offers alarming new terror tactics for jihadis and is threaded with a strong anti-Christian focus.

Issue nine of Rumiyah opens with a section titled, “The Ruling on the Belligerent Christians,” which strongly vindicates some of ISIS’ most recent controversial actions - the bombing of churches.

The leader of ISIS’ Egyptian affiliate is interviewed on the issue, promotes the attacks and its anti-Christian strategy, but accepts that it is an unpopular tactic. Sensing that there may be disapproval of attacks on Christians, and that this may impact future recruitment, the group uses this edition to justify why killing Christians is acceptable.

Maz Kamali, a researcher at the Center on Religion and Geopolitics, writes that the jihadi group, focusing on Coptic Christians in Egypt, whose churches have been attacked three times since December 2016, claims that “targeting these churches with ruin and destruction is a matter that is permitted in the Sharia [Islamic law].” Knowing that many Muslims would be aware that Christianity is considered one of the Abrahamic faiths along with Islam, the group argues that Egyptian Christians cannot be afforded the protection that Islam has traditionally given to Christian communities.

To destroy any sympathy for the murder of Christians in Egypt or potential Islamic counter-arguments, ISIS lists four reasons why the Christians they are targeting are “belligerent.” The group alleges that Copts possess weapons to fight Muslims, and that they are among Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s closest allies, forming large parts of the state security apparatus. The group also cites the religious persecution of Christians who have converted to Islam and the alleged defamation of Islam by Christian priests. 

Adding to the argument, and reinforcing the idea that the group’s actions are in some way a response to possible criticism, ISIS attempts to soften the magnitude of anti-Christian attacks. In a small break from its usually indiscriminate requests to kill as many non-believers as possible, ISIS says, “It is the fighters who are to be targeted, and those who offer fighters council,” while non-combatants such as women and children should be taken as slaves, despite the fact that their blood is also deemed permissible. However, the article also suggests that the unintentional killing of