At the top left corner, the logo of the image’s designer (Abu Hisham al-Maqdisi) appears: an open Qur’an in front of a silhouetted fighter raising a rifle in his hand. On the side is a black banner with the seal of the Prophet, which is typically associated with al-Qa’ida in Iraq/the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) and other al-Qa’ida franchisees. The appearance of the image designer’s logo alongside a group logo is fairly common in jihadi propaganda images. The elements of an individual designer’s logo or those of a jihadi forum are no different from the elements that comprise images from real world, militant groups. The language of visual motifs is a shared medium online and offline.
Here, the designer portrayed a fist holding on to the Arabic word “baqiya” (“remains/persists”), with the second letter (alif) forming the mast of a black banner that bears the shahada (Islamic testimony of faith holding that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is his messenger). It is noteworthy that the word “baqiya” very often occurs in ISI images in the phrase “dawlat al-‘iraq al-islamiyya baqiya” (“The Islamic State of Iraq remains standing”) a quote attributed to Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, previous emir of the Islamic State of Iraq.
A second banner appears with an AK as a mast and a fist resting upon it, over a green circle that contains a green map of Iraq and the familiar open Qur’an in the foreground. The logo is set against a background of a patch of light blue sky, a ring of flames and bright stars against a dark blue, cloudy sky and evokes a phrase commonly used by jihadists “kitabun yahdi w sayfun yansur” (a book [Quran] to guide, and a sword [for] victory).” The phrase is attributed to Ibn Taymiya, an influential religious scholar revered by many jihadists.