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The Anashid of the Islamic State: Influence, History, Text, and Sound


Studies in Conflict & TerrorismJournal abstract

This article examines the rise of the Islamic State (IS) through its anashid (a cappella), analyzing their lyrics and their musical attributes such as sonic elements, pitch, and harmony, among others. It focuses on key themes that define the group's lyrics and traces the evolution of anashid production and use—an evolution that began with the IS borrowing existing jihad-themed anashid to articulate its message and accompany its video messaging, and led to a far more developed and sophisticated sonic identity in the form of internally produced, group-specific anashid. The IS's claims to legitimacy as the caliphate are sounded out in the group's anashid. The recurring appearance of propaganda in the form of anashid and videos builds a strong case for the genre's significance among the highly complex factors catalyzing an individual's involvement in carrying out violence, especially among recent attacks within Western countries in the name of IS.

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