If there’s one group of people you wouldn’t expect to be keen on national anthems, it’d be jihadists. Especially those of ISIS. The whole idea of their jihad – of uniting all Muslims – seems to go against that of nation states and their symbols in the first place. Then there’s the fact they see music as contrary to Islamic thought so promoting any song would be bizarre, the ultimate sign that their ideology is made up as it goes along, and has no real base.
Yet the Islamic State does have one. They haven’t officially declared it their anthem, but it is undoubtedly the most popular song (nasheed – a word that simply means chant) in the state’s territory.
Most worryingly of all, though, is the fact it sounds quite good – until you get around 3 minutes in and the sound effects drop.
It’s called My Ummah, Dawn Has Appeared. “The Islamic State has arisen by the blood of the righteous,” it goes. “The Islamic State has arisen by the jihad of the pious.” Which might seem shocking, but is actually pretty standard anthem fare when you consider how many others talk about walking on the bodies of foes.
This chapter of my book is all about this song and its worrying implications – the fact its existence shows, perhaps better than anything else, that ISIS is trying to create a state with all that entails, and a culture too, meaning it’s going to be even harder to combat than some people think. Please read the book to learn about it.
But if you’ve stumbled across this page by accident, please read this piece instead, which I wrote for The Guardian newspaper last year.
And dear German government, please don’t order me to take down the song for anti-terrorism reasons. It’s clear it’s only up here for educational purposes and I genuinely think it’s important that people hear it and realise just how significant this type of propaganda is.
ISIS is a Sunni jihadi group. The music of Shia jihadis is somewhat different (that’s an understatement) and this song should give you a flavour for it, filled with drums and boy bandesque dancing.
No, I haven’t got the faintest idea how they square that with their religious beliefs!