Daesh is among us, more than we can imagine. It observes us, if fluently speaks our language, it follows national developments and fuels hatred and contempt towards us, more than we do in return. “Dar al Islam” (Home of Islam) is the name of the French-language magazine of the self-declared Islamic State available online without knocking on the doors of the email accounts of our youths, entering our homes and our workplaces undisturbed. The first issue that focused on “The Islamic State and its territory -Training for the Caliphate”, dates back to 2014. Its publication continued every three months, now reaching the tenth issue, gradually developing contents and graphic presentation. SIR received it via wetransfer, given the large file size. The magazine is available online, counting on the fact that Daesh has the capability of sending approximately 30/40 thousand tweets, which contain the links. All Daesh followers receive links from which the files can be easily downloaded. The largest magazine of the Islamic State is written in English and is called “Dabiq”. It’s a city in northern Syria considered the site of the last battle before the end of the world.
Dar Al Islam. The first issues were unsophisticated. In time, they were perfected in terms of graphics and content. The tenth issue opens with an op-ed by Abballa Larossi, the terrorist who stabbed to death two policemen in Magnaville, in the suburbs of Paris, past June 13. The magazine features a full transcription of the 13-minute video that the attacker recorded via Facebook Live after the stabbing. Another article is the “Testament” of a sheik to all mujaheddin, inviting them never to leave the jihad. Page 6 to page 25 feature a long analysis titled “Attacks on the way of the Prophet”, highlighting the “Islamic State’s” compliance with the religious texts of Islamic law.
“GameOver” is the cover-title referring to the main article of the magazine in which the – anonymous – author claims the defeat of France and praises the soldiers of the Caliphate present “in the land of the enemy doomed to death and to their Lord”. After a “Message to women of the Caliphate” the word goes to the wife of a “warrior.” It’s the – perfectly written – account of their long journey from France to Syria, passing through Egypt, ending with the husband’s farewell to his wife before blowing himself up on the third day of Ramadan in a truck loaded with 7 tons of explosives against a prison in al-Barakah. Before triggering the bomb, the suicide-bomber is believed to have said via radio: “Brothers, today I will break my fast in Heaven, if Allah wills.”
The last part of the magazine is dedicated to the “columns.” The first focuses on “IT security”, with several instalments: 8 pages with technical details on how to “fully encrypt your phone”; install Orfox, the new Android browser enabling to surf the web anonymously; on “ChatSecure”, a free app – the article explains – for IPhone and Android “enabling safe confidential communication.” Finally, the last paragraph explains how to use PGP encrypted messages for Android, an App that “makes your conversations totally unreadable.”
In every issue an entire page is devoted to “apostates”: the graphic presentation is a veritable form to be filled in with the name of the “apostate”, his/her role, address, the cause of apostasy, and the “legal judgement.” The tenth issue of the magazine Dar al Islam condemns a French imam with an extreme ruling: “he must be killed without a second thought.” The magazine ends with a series of brief news on war, mortal attacks, and the death toll of the “unbelievers” from the front of the Islam State, all of which conclude with a praise to Allah.
The place where the magazine is written and the name of its contributors are unknown. “All we know – said Omero Marongiu-Perria, French sociologist, expert in the Muslim world – is that they have all needed information on France’s topical news. They refer to the most challenging issues faced by major Muslim French players and by the political realm, ranging from Prime Minister Manuel Valls to Bernard Cazeneuve. I am sure that articles are written by French citizens who know French like a native.”
Another aspect of the magazine is the constant reference to traditional Islam. “Islamic leaders in Europe – the sociologist said – all claim that Daesh has a poor knowledge of Islam. It’s a lie, or to the least, it’s a way to avoid addressing the heart of the problem. In fact, the real problem is that Muslim jurisprudence dates back to the Muslim Middle Ages and hasn’t progressed since. Its paradigm is the use of the same interpretative key.” It’s like standing before people with a good formation providing constant reference to their arguments. “That’s why – the scholar concluded – I firmly believe that Daesh cannot be defeated unless the Islamic realm takes a distance from this frame of reference.” The challenge involves all Muslim leaders. “Presidents of associations, intellectuals, scholars… we need to write more books – said Marongiu-Perria -. We need a different exegesis of the Quran and of the texts explaining how to live Islam in contemporary society.”