Radical U.S.-Based Group Supports Jihad On Social Media

June 17, 2015

A U.S.-based group called Dawah Squad, which is active across various social media platforms, has been promoting jihad and radical Islamic ideology. The group is likely based in the U.S., as indicated by the fact that Verizon is the carrier for the account operator’s phone. While blatantly jihadi symbols such as ISIS flags are not displayed, an analysis of the group’s postings reveals pro-jihadi tendencies. The group is active on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Kik. It resembles similar groups of online activists based in the West that produce slick pro-jihad propaganda, such as the Birmingham, UK-based Invite to Islam, which produces professional-looking jihadi memes that are widely circulated by ISIS fighters and their supporters. Dawah Squad appears to be more visually focused, adding short, snappy messages to images, as opposed to quotations from the Koran or hadiths. It should also be mentioned that the group supports the radical British cleric Anjem Choudhary and like-minded clerics, which places it in the circles of vocal pro-ISIS activists in Western countries. At the time of this writing, Dawah Squad’s Instagram account has 1,326 followers.

Dawah Squad’s Instagram page, which also directs users to its other social media accounts

Pro-ISIS Themes

A photo posted June 11, 2015 shows an ISIS fighter raising his index finger to symbolize tawhid, the Islamic concept of monotheism – a common pose among jihadi militants. The text reads, “Fear None But One [Allah].” The image was cropped from a photo of a triumphant ISIS fighter standing with an ISIS flag atop a military vehicle. It has become iconic among ISIS supporters, and has been reproduced many times in various ISIS publications, including in as its English-language magazine Dabiq.

A photo uploaded to the Instagram account in the first week of June shows an aerial photo of modern-day Rome that is captioned “Islam will enter Rome.” The notion of the conquest of Rome, as a symbol of the Christian West, is a recurrent theme in ISIS messaging, following Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi’s first speech as self-proclaimed caliph, in which he said that ISIS’s soldiers will conquer it.

Support For Pro-ISIS Clerics

A post from the group includes a photo of pro-ISIS sheikh Musa Cerantonio along with the text, “You can’t keep a lion in a cage forever,” likely in reference to the cleric’s detention by authorities.

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