ISIL is using the pictures of a drowned Kurdish boy to warn against leaving Islamic countries

ISIL urges people to stay.
ISIL urges people to stay.
Image: Reuters/Umit Bektas
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Images of a drowned Kurdish boy washed ashore on a Turkish beach last week have been splayed across newspapers and shared online around the world. The distressing photos were a tipping point in the public discussion of Europe’s growing refugee crisis, and they ramped up the pressure on leaders to do something about it.

Now the terrorist group the Islamic State (ISIL) is using the emotional power of the images to warn Muslims against going to Europe. ISIL slammed parents fleeing to Europe, not only for risking the lives of their children, but also for putting their souls in jeopardy. In their latest issue of the organization’s magazine, Dabiq, ISIL used the image of the boy, Alan Kurdi, to drive home the message that leaving the Islamic world ”is a dangerous major sin.”

By abandoning Muslim countries for ones that allow atheism and liberalism, parents are exposing their children to “fornication, sodomy, drugs, and alcohol,” ISIL notes, asserting that migrating to ”dārul-kufr”(land of unbelievers) is equivalent to abandoning Islam all together.

In the article, headlined ”The Danger of Abandoning Darul-Islam [land of Islam],” ISIL uses a number of hadiths, the reported sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, and Quranic verses to criticize those leaving Islamic countries. The article makes a distinction between those who leave to spread the message of Islam, and those who leave simply for a better life.

This latest issue of the magazine, part of the group’s slick communications machine, also demanded ransoms for the Norwegian and Chinese hostages it is holding “for sale,” and boasted about destroying the 2,000-year-old Temple of Bel in Palmyra.