ISIS Chant Praising Brussels Attacks Could Attract Recruits, Herald More

by JOHN ROSSOMANDO April 19, 2016

A recent "nasheed" - or Islamic chant - posted by ISIS celebrating the Brussels attacks, could serve as a recruitment tool for ISIS to persuade potential jihadists to fight on the continent.

"We Destroyed Belgium" features ISIS's self-proclaimed caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, speaking in the beginning, proclaiming the international nature of his group.

"Allah is our destination. He is our goal. Our Sheikh al-Baghdadi proclaimed the banner of jihad ... With the strength of belief our weapons are raised ... We destroyed Belgium ... Infidels and hypocrites. With slaughter we come to you. No, no agreement And if they say, terrorist. I say, the honor is mine," the nasheed says.

This nasheed comes amid ISIS threats of further attacks. The terror organization released a video last week threatening to strike against London, Berlin or Rome. Other ISIS threats in the wake of the Brussels attacks similarly featured Berlin and London.

"Plans are afoot as we read these words now," said ex-jihadi and counter-terrorism expert Mubin Shaikh. "It is well within the scope of this thinking, to insert coded messages into some of these nasheeds."

ISIS frowns on issuing open orders like "start the job" to sleeper cells in the field to commence operations, which is a lesson it learned from Al-Qaida, according to its manual "Safety and Security guidelines for Lone Wolf Mujahideen." It insists on total silence and lack of communication prior to an operation; however, an innocuous coded message akin to the Japanese message "Climb Mt. Nitaka" sent prior to Pearl Harbor would go largely unnoticed by security services.

ISIS published dozens of nasheeds aimed at urging recruits to join them on the battlefield. This nasheed celebrating Brussels and similar nasheeds that appeared online prior to the Paris and Brussels differ in that they are more narrowly aimed at operations in Europe.

Two weeks before the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, ISIS's Raqqa-based Al-Hayat Media released a French-language nasheed titled "Avance, Avance," which the Middle East Media Research Institute's (MEMRI) French-language service first reported.

It told ISIS's followers in France to "Advance, Advance" and to "Kill apostates that the devil has lost, People with the false war is declared ... Either you kill them or they kill you, that profit ... Finish him with a bullet to the head."

ISIS released an audio statement claiming responsibility hours after the Paris attacks. It used the same "Avance, Avance" nasheed.

Al-Hayat Media released another French nasheed on Feb. 28 titled "Pour Allah," which could have signaled an impending attack on a European target. It proclaimed: "For Allah we sacrifice, for Allah we terrorize."

"Pour Allah" appeared in an ISIS video celebrating the Brussels attacks was released on March 24, two days after the assault on the Brussels airport and Metro. The same video also included the "Avance. Avance" nasheed.

A source alerted the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) about each of these two nasheeds prior to the Paris and Brussels attacks, warning that in his opinion that preparations for an attack may have been underway.

"I would suggest monitoring the nasheed sharing places and doing content analysis of the lyrics," Shaikh said. "It is possible that they have not thought of this yet but then again as an analyst I ask: why would you wait until they did and you could have prevented a major attack?"

John Rossomando writes for The Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT)- a non-profit research group founded by Steven Emerson in 1995. It is recognized as the world's most comprehensive data center on radical Islamic terrorist groups.

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