Songs of ISIS

One of the things I have advocated to DOD's Minerva Project is a serious study of radical Islamic poetics as a means of developing more effective counter-radical messaging. All our various disciplines of trying to influence in this area would be stronger if we knew how to speak in the language of poetry, as this carries so much of the weight in terms of how people feel about what is best and most worthy. Young men are especially susceptible to the emotional appeals of poetry and song, just as those same young and romantic men are the most likely to get involved in radical politics.

This week MEMRI gives us a look at the songs that ISIS is using for recruitment and morale.
ISIS's songs belong to a genre of traditional poetry called zajal, whose most prominent formal characteristic is rhyming. Zajal poems display various rhyme schemes.... The authors of ISIS's songs are evidently familiar also with Classical Arabic poetry, especially poems of war.... ISIS's songs are written in Classical Arabic, but the pronunciation is colloquial, reflecting the dialect of the lead singer....
Ours is the cry of truth [Allah Akbar] when the fighting [sides] collide.
We, the proud savage lions,
Carry the steel [swords] with firm determination.
And when war comes, with the music of bullets,
We take the infidels by storm, yearning for revenge.
They are led to perdition, they find no refuge,
We water the soil with the blood of their veins,
And cast off their heads with the blade of our sword.
We heal the souls [of the Muslims] by striking the enemies,
So give the enemy tidings of the evil day [that awaits him].
Ancient glory shall shine across the world.
The jabs of the spearhead are the music of the men.
And in war, honor casts a wide shadow.
So awaken to eternal life, come, my brother,
Leave the path of the slothful and foolish.
When the fire springs up, we are the flame,
Burning the rabble with our sword,
Lifting the dark night from the earth,
And a new dawn breaks over the world.

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