Jihad marketers are making militant Islam cool, according to a new article in Germany’s Der Spiegel newspaper.
Berlin hip-hop artist Deso Dogg has catapulted to fame since taking the name Abu Malik and switching from rap songs like “Gangxta” to Anasheed – Islamic vocals in which he promotes the tenets of jihadist Islam.
To such a degree has Deso Dogg/Abu Malik (given name: Denis Cuspert) garnered a cult following, that the Office for the Protection of the Constitution in Berlin has requested that three of his songs be labeled harmful to minors due to their inciting nature
His rise to fame is just one example of ways jihadist Islam has taken to the internet to promote its message, according to a new study by the Berlin-based Foundation for Science and Politics, an advising body to the German government.
According to the Der Spiegel report, the Global Islamic Media Front (GIMF), the worldwide jihad promotion oranganization, was established only at the end of 2005 in Germany, and was quickly utilized by sympathizers of al-Qaida.
Its German leader, Mohamed Mahmoud, was arrested for a GIMF video threatening attacks on Germany and Austria in 2007, and was released in September 2011.
Yet after serving his jail time, Mahmoud continued in his mission, joining forces with Abu Malik to transform the western German city of Solingen’s mosque, the Millatu Ibrahim Mosque, into a nationally-known organization center for Salafist Muslims.
They set up professional, sophisticated websites drawing on youth culture to sell the Islamic message online.
And though Germany could systematically shut down those sites, the Foundation for Science and Politics says it may be too late to stem the tide of Jihad on the web. According to the organization, Mahmoud’s jail time only serves to impress consumers of his product, and has led to the up-cropping of many smaller follower sites and blogs.
And now that Mahmoud and Cuspert have gone into hiding in the wake of a ban on Millatu Ibrahim Salafist meetings and police pressure against violent acts by Islamic groups in Germany, the two are underground heroes whose periodic online messages draw the excitement of a growing group of adherents.
While authorities can trace and infiltrate jihadist movements more readily online, the anonymity and ease of conversation has led to jihad’s greater cohesion and emboldenment. No solution to the swell of jihad online has been found.