Comment

IS guilty of horrific crimes against fashion

Charles Waterstreet

The IS terrorist, Sunakim (aka Afif) was last seen alive with a gun on the streets of Jakarta during the January 14 attacks wearing a Nike cap and Adidas sneakers.

It was not uncommon to see Western sneakers under the beheaders' robes and keffiyehs in the cruel video released by the terrorist group. It is obvious that these extremists did not get the memo from Islamic State dated 22nd April 2015 which banned Nike clothing, sneakers, and other products because they claimed the pronunciation of Nike is similar to an Arabic word with sexual undertones, and was contrary to Sharia law.

IS fighters caught wearing Nike sneakers may be flogged.
IS fighters caught wearing Nike sneakers may be flogged.  

In Raqqa, and other parts of the caliphate, IS distributed pamphlets outlawing the wearing, selling or buying of Nike products, which was punishable by whipping, imprisonment or fine. The Arabic ambiguity was spelt out in the banning documents as suggesting that the word Nike, although named by the company after the winged goddess of victory in Ancient Greek mythology could mean "kiss me", "flirt", "cupid", or "whore".

You have to watch your tongue carefully under IS.

Sunakim could have been whipped or fined by IS if Indonesian police hadn't bravely shot him first.

Not content with killing off one product, IS also earlier banned the wearing of skinny jeans by men in Raqqa because it provoked sexual desire, whether in men or women, the ban did not say. Life is no picnic there, because cigarettes are also banned, and mobile phones are not permitted to  play music.

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There is a great deal of  hypocrisy in IS's attitudes to apparel and accessories. The terrorist fighters are encouraged to wear Casio watches, cheap and oversized, in Syria and Iraq, because of their durability and low cost. However, ISIS leader Abu Bakr al'Baghdadi sported an expensive Omega watch when he declared the caliphate in 2014.

Last year, social media was awash with jihadists showing off their latest fashion items with IS logos, including even babywear. In a damning exposé, the Daily Mail described the clothing as "cheaply made and poor quality". The Mail suggested babies were forced to wear "an assortment of terrible fashion creations", including "ill-fitting hats", and all clothing was "a dull weave of black and white".

Berets were described as "vile taste", and probably "itchy-looking hats". Children were made to wear oversized military uniforms. The battle of branding between IS and the West continues into merchandising and accessories.

The Mail condemns Islamic State wedding rings as "ridiculous, overloaded with nasty cheap stones and coated in imitation silver." In the cruelest jibe to the jihadists, the Mail published, "The ring box appears to be of better quality than some of the rings being sold in Islamic State". Weddings are so frequent that supplies are short and fighters are showing off "their latest tacky accessories cheaply made from a plastic mold."

There is dissension in the ranks, Abu Sarayah was criticised for wearing Nike by another jihadist on social media – "Wearing Nike is the same as wearing clothes with crosses". Another posted that Nike trainers were fine because they were comfy and good quality "unlike crosses".

Our own forces might need to think about using Nike and other popular brands to  defray the increasing cost of the war by getting them to sponsor our army uniforms and other apparel. We were recently informed that our allies, the US and UK, invoiced Australia for $300 million  for support service and materials for the war effort.

It's time to offset the cost of war by getting commercial enterprises to pay for logos on uniforms. An allied fighter going to war might be more cheaply dispatched if he looked like a formula one driver with multiple logos and sponsors. It's a perfect fit for public and private enterprises. If jihadists are caught wearing Western copyrighted war sponsoring brands, they can be whipped and fined by IS and sued by the merchants.

Black humour can sometimes cover the pain and reality of living in a world at war with itself.

Joseph Heller in Catch 22 beautifully caught the mood and melancholy of a world at war,with all his characters and the setting itself treated as a jokesters or a jokefest. The official announcement of the death of Mohammed Emwazi ( aka "Jihadi John") by online IS magazine Darbiq could be read as a parody of the life and times of  Jihadi John if its intent was not so deadly. Our enemies are aware that the battle for territory is also a battle for the hearts and minds of its inhabitants.

Jihadi John was the terrifying voice and presence of a British citizen who delighted in his role as chief executioner and public face of IS. He was the one who cut the throats, on video, of  the innocent hostages in their orange uniforms and thrust his bloodied knife at the camera.

The road to jihad is paved in martyrs' blood and it needs to aggrandise its heroes beyond life.

Darbiq praised Jihadi John for his generosity (apparently, after receiving a sabiyyah, or sex slave, as a gift, "he did not hesitate to give her away – likewise as a gift – to an unmarried injured brother"), his fierce piety (it's reported that on one occasion, back in "the lands of Kufr," he nearly decked a "pro-Saudi Salafi" scholar who had spoken ill of the sisters in Palestine), and his "harshness towards the kuffar [non-believers]" according to Atlantic magazine.

Kafka couldn't write horrors such as this.