The slide preceding the audiotape by ISIS’s spokesman (Telegram, September 13, 2022)
- On September 13, 2022, ISIS’s Al-Furqan Media Foundation released an audiotape by ISIS spokesman Abu Umar al-Muhajir entitled “Hold firmly to the rope of Allah and do not be divided.” In the audiotape, the spokesman calls on ISIS operatives to liberate ISIS prisoners from prisons around the world. He also calls on Muslims around the world – especially in Syria, Iraq, Africa, Yemen, and East Asia – and non-Muslims to join the ranks of ISIS (Telegram, September 13, 2022).
- The spokesman harshly criticizes the Sunni rebel organizations in Syria, Al-Qaeda, and the Taliban. He also criticizes the Sinai tribes for collaborating with the Egyptian army, claiming that they serve Israel, and calling on them to change their ways before it is too late. Abu Umar al-Muhajir also criticizes Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), referring to them as converts to Shiite Islam, those who abandoned Islam (murtaddin), and liars who do not operate on behalf of Islam, but rather for a narrow interest.
- In the ITIC’s assessment, the spokesman’s call to join ISIS may indicate that the organization suffers from a shortage of operatives, probably stemming from intensive counterterrorism activities against it around the globe. In addition, the audiotape reflects an attempt to leverage the fragile political and economic situation in the world and the division in the West, as perceived by the spokesman, for ISIS’s needs.
The slide preceding the audiotape by ISIS’s spokesman (Telegram, September 13, 2022)
- On September 13, 2022, ISIS’s Al-Furqan Media Foundation released a 36-minute audiotape by ISIS spokesman Abu Umar al-Muhajir entitled “Hold firmly to the rope of Allah and do not be divided.”
- In the beginning, the spokesman stresses the importance of fighting against the enemies of Islam through jihad and ISIS’s adherence to imposing Islam throughout the world and implementing sharia.
- He congratulates the organization’s operatives for liberating the prisoners in Kuje Prison in Nigeria (June 5, 2022) and in Kangwangura Prison in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (August 10, 2022). According to him, ISIS decided not to leave even one prisoner of the organization in jail, and it is determined to set them free whatever time it takes. He stresses that ISIS has marked the prisons where its operatives are detained as key targets for attack until all the organization’s prisoners are liberated.
- He praises the operatives of ISIS’s West Africa and Central Africa provinces for leading the prisoner liberation operations so far and adhering to ISIS’s instructions in promoting this matter. He addresses operatives of other ISIS provinces, calling on them to follow in the footsteps of the West Africa and Central Africa provinces and bring about the liberation of ISIS prisoners. He also addresses the organization’s prisoners who have been liberated in such actions calling on them to join ISIS and take part in liberating the remaining prisoners. This request may indicate that some of the liberated prisoners have defected.
- He commends ISIS’s achievements in the liberation of prisoners from jail during the current year, stressing that since the beginning of the year, ISIS has liberated a large number of prisoners from three prisons: Ghuwayran Prison in Al-Hasakah, Syria (January 20, 2022), Kuje Prison in Nigeria (June 5, 2022), and Kangwangura Prison in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (August 10, 2022).
- The spokesman says that in today’s reality, the “infidel world” is divided between a Western-imperialist bloc and an Eastern-communist bloc, and the two blocs are fighting each other for global control. At the same time, ISIS follows a pure Islamic agenda. At this moment, clouds of battle arise here and there around the world, and soon, Allah willing, a lot of blood will be shed, the blood of the Crusaders, the Zoroastrians, the Shiites, and the other infidels around the world. Turning to Muslims around the world, Abu Umar al-Muhajir claims that their “tyrants” would not help them, and calls on them to join the camp of Islam under ISIS so that it will serve as a shield and a fortress for all Muslims in these circumstances.
- He especially calls on Muslims in East Asia, from the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, and other countries, to join ISIS, since they are especially oppressed and humiliated in this region, and if they do not adhere to Islam and join the ranks of ISIS, they will remain oppressed and humiliated. In addition, he calls on ISIS operatives to assist Muslims in East Asia in fighting against the Hindus, the communists, and the infidels in their countries, stressing that the Hindus humiliated Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam, and therefore they should be dealt with.
- The spokesman calls on Muslims in Africa to join ISIS. He claims that they have nothing to gain in collaborating with the “Crusader” West, which exploits them and their continent’s resources. Their sons as well, who massively immigrate to Europe, find themselves being exploited there and working for pennies. He calls on them to be aware of ISIS’s success in Africa, join the organization and strike the Christians in Africa and the foreign “Crusader” elements there. He adds that the revenge (i.e., the massacring) of the Christian residents of Africa will continue and intensify because of the Christians’ hostility towards the Muslims and their assistance to the US-led Global Coalition that has killed many ISIS operatives.
- Addressing the Sunni community in Syria, the spokesman calls on them to operate as part of ISIS and not to take part in the various rebel organizations since they are infidel groups, loyal to Turkey, the United States, and Al-Qaeda, and do not really adhere to Islam as they claim. He then turns to the Sunnis in Iraq, calling on them to distance themselves from the Shiites, who have made them inferior in their own country, and join the ranks of ISIS. He stresses that there is evidence that the rebel organizations in Syria and Iraq, as well as Al-Qaeda operatives, have collaborated with ISIS’s enemies and acted against the organization and against Islam, referring to them as “infidels.” According to him, ISIS is the only organization implementing Islamic religious law (sharia) without being afraid of sanctions by the international community.
- The Sunnis in Yemen are called upon to join the fighting against the Shiite Houthi movement, which is loyal to Iran.
- The spokesman calls on all Muslims around the world to join ISIS in order to be united against the enemies of Islam. This is because in the current circumstances, every sect and group gathers around itself and because the Jews, the Christians, and members of the other religions have persecuted the Muslims throughout history.
- Referring to ISIS’s operatives in the Sinai Peninsula, he says that they have remained as lions and mighty mountains against the Egyptian security forces and the Jewish (i.e., Israeli) aggression against them. The operatives of ISIS’s Sinai Province are commendable because, despite the measures taken against them, they have remained a thorn in the throat of the Jews, who find it difficult to remove it despite the assistance they receive from their “slaves” (i.e., the Egyptian security forces). He points out that in the end, the Jews will lose, Allah willing. The spokesman also calls on the Sinai Tribal Union, which supports the Egyptian army in its fight against ISIS, to stop doing that since the Jews and the Egyptian regime only exploit them, and eventually, they will emerge empty-handed. He calls on them to stop their actions against ISIS. Otherwise, they will be shot to death or butchered with knives by ISIS operatives. They should be afraid of the day on which they will no longer be able to change their ways.
- Regarding the Palestinians who have “become Shiites” (i.e., supporters of Iran, namely, Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad), he describes them as those who abandoned Islam (murtaddin) and liars, saying that they did claim in the past that they were fighting against the Jews because they are occupiers, and they do not act out of a profound religious belief.
- Towards the end of the audiotape, the spokesman turns to ISIS’s operatives in Afghanistan, commending them for not allowing the Taliban even one moment of joy since they have taken control of the country in August 2021. He praises them for killing the Hazara Shiite minority and calls on the Taliban to stop misleading the Muslims by presenting themselves as adhering to Islam because the opposite is true.
- In the end, he says that ISIS stands fast and calls on people around the world, wherever they may be, to join the organization’s ranks (in other words, to convert to Islam and adopt ISIS’s ideology).
Significance and implications
- In the ITIC’s assessment, the intensive engagement by ISIS’s spokesman in addressing vast target audiences around the world, addressing one arena after the other trying to recruit supporters to join ISIS, may indicate a severe shortage of operatives in the organization. A shortage of operatives in ISIS has indeed been evident recently since in the past few months, there has been a decrease in the number of terrorist attacks carried out by ISIS worldwide, and in addition, ISIS has been suffering many losses lately because of the intensive counterterrorism activities against it around the globe. The issue the spokesman started with, the liberation of prisoners, is apparently intended to expand the organization and increase the number of its members, and not only raise the morale of its operatives and improve its status.
- The fact that ISIS’s spokesman confronts a series of Islamic rival organizations may indicate a fear that operatives will leave for other organizations and other organizations will gain in strength at the expense of ISIS. It is noteworthy that he refers to Al-Qaeda since there are researchers who have recently estimated that Al-Qaeda would soon overshadow ISIS.
- The audiotape also reflects an attempt to leverage the fragile political and economic situation in the world and the division in the West, as seen by ISIS, for recruiting operatives to ISIS. This idea has already been raised by ISIS’s propaganda network but it has still not been implemented, hence the spokesman reiterates the message.
 A quote from the Quran, Surah Al Imran: 103 (The Clear Quran English translation). ↑
 For further details, see the ITIC's Information Bulletin from July 17, 2022, “Break-in to Kuje Prison in Nigeria: another ISIS activity to liberate prisoners” ↑
 For further details, see the ITIC's Information Bulletin from February 8, 2022, “ISIS’s takeover of the prison in Al-Hasakah, which it presents as an achievement, may bring about additional such actions” ↑