On March 19, 2015 the Twitter account @Shahadastories distributed a link to an e-book titled “How to Survive in the West: A Mujahid Guide.” This is the latest in a series of e-books compiled by supporters of and recruiters for the Islamic State (ISIS), that provide practical guidance to young Muslims in the West who wish to join ISIS or to wage jihad in their countries.
This e-book’s chapter titles include: “Hiding the Extremist Identity,” “Earning Money,” “Internet Privacy,” “Training,” “Bomb-Making,” “Transporting Weapons,” and “What Happens When You Are Spied On And Get Raided.”
The following is a review of the main topics in the e-book:
E-book cover page
Chapter 1: “Hiding The Extremist Identity”
Chapter 1 provides various instructions for both converts to Islam and for those born into the faith. To the former, the guide notes: “By not showing you’re Muslim, you’ve already excluded yourself being in the ‘Terrorist watchlist.'” The latter group is cautioned: “Don’t make it too obvious you have become a practicing Muslim. For example: If you haven’t grown a beard, don’t grow it now, because you will bring unwanted attention onto yourself. Mujahideen in Muslim lands remove their beards for deceptive purposes.” In addition, “Practicing Muslims” are instructed “not remove their beard if they already have one. This would only draw unwanted attention to yourself from friends and family, and this will in turn lead them to spy on you.”
The e-book recommends to women: “If you wear a hijab and go to a place where Muslims are searched (i.e. airports) then do not wear a black hijab, but a colored one instead. Muslim women who wear black hijabs are searched more in airports than those wearing other colored hijabs. This is merely due to a stereotype of fully black-clothed Muslim women being stricter in their religion.”
Chapter 2: “Disguise”
The e-book suggests that extremists should disguise themselves and alter their appearance to resemble non-Muslims in the West. In addition, they should change their first name or their nickname. “When a Muslim goes out in public, he wants to fit into society to make himself look as normal as possible. Remember this isn’t because he fears his Islamic identity, but he is doing this so he is not suspected of being an outsider enemy.”
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