The art of making a jihadist

We know about jihadists’ dedication to violence, but that’s not the whole story, says expert Thomas Hegghammer. There’s a hidden culture of poetry, music and storytelling that sustains their ideology

When Jihadi John, the Islamist terrorist who gloried in decapitating hostages, was exposed as Mohammed Emwazi, a spokesman from Cage recalled the west Londoner bringing “posh baklava” to the advocacy group’s offices. He described the knife-wielding murderer and gloating torturer as “a beautiful young man… extremely kind, gentle and soft-spoken, the most humble young person I knew”.

One of the people who inspired Emwazi was Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, renowned for leading the group that beheaded and tortured many western hostages in Iraq, including the British engineer Kenneth Bigley. Zarqawi was known as the Sheikh of the Slaughterers, but he was also referred to as He Who Weeps A Lot, for his habit of crying during prayer.

I thought this was a parody, then I realized I was reading the Guardian.

  • Reader

    Here’s 85 year old proof of jihadist music!

  • moraywatson

    Totalitarian supremacist muslims cry when they pray because they are thinking about that surreal moment when they will step off the proverbial cliff and die in the name of allah. What perfect, psychotic bliss that must be.

  • krystal10

    The Islamic prayer ritual produces jihadists.
    They are all in a group, the follow a ritual, everybody carrying out the same gestures simultaneously with hypnotic anti-Infidel chanting in the background. It is said they go into trances.