A British jihadist who skipped bail and claimed to have fled the UK to join Isis in Syria has purportedly released an e-book guide targeting Western recruits that compares territories under the extremist group to a “plush holiday resort”.
Abu Rumaysah is named as the author on a document entitled 'A Brief Guide to the Islamic State' ' which was released on Monday and is being shared across social media.
The 46-page document presents a utopian view of life in the terror group's Iraqi and Syrian strongholds under the headings: "food in the caliphate", "weather", "transport", "technology", "people" and "education".
Some of the many outlandish claims include that Isis is "dead serious" about its transport networks. "The natural progression for the transport network in the Islamic State has to be trains then ships and aeroplanes," it states, "but everything is on the table: zeppelins, hovercrafts, trams [and] microlites."
The guide is miles away from the brutal reality of life in Isis-controlled territories, where even smoking a cigarette can see a person flogged and, in extreme cases, put to death. Instead, it goes to great lengths to present common aspects of Western life as readily available there, such as popular chocolate, tea, coffee and even "fruity cocktails".
The true reality of life under Isis’s disturbing regime has already been exposed in documents and guides translated from Arabic.
Charlie Winter, a researcher at the counter extremism think tank Quilliam, told The Independent it lacks any official Isis branding and does not appear to have been produced by the group's media arm. "It is something which seems to have been done off his own back and that is important to note. What is presented in this is not the official Isis line - it’s quite a juvenile piece of literature. Clearly he is trying to appeal to the masses and portray life there as a viable option but it’s very weak in terms of its propaganda value." These are some of the more absurd extracts from the document.
The e-book includes a menu of “popular dishes and snacks” that promise to dispel concerns about what would be available to eat for those who join militants. Dishes include “scrumptious” sheesh kebabs, falafel sandwiches (“a great vegetarian option”) and chocolate; “Snickers, Kit Kat, Bounty, Twix, Kinder Surprise, Cadburys – yes, yes we have it all.”
The guide goes on to describe a diverse population living under its territories by comparing it to "cosmopolitan" cities such as London. “If you thought London or New York was cosmopolitan then wait until you step foot in the Islamic State, because it screams diversity," it continues.
Notably, the guide is devoid of any mention of women, who documents in Arabic have revealed are expected to take on domestic roles as mothers and wives, without any prospect of gaining an education or working.
The guide presents the climate in Syria and Iraq with hyperbolic language that wouldn't be out of place in a holiday brochure.
It follows a similar vein throughout; promising comforts usually associated with Western life and a caliphate more akin to a holiday resort. However, the final paragraph takes an aggressive and threating stance more closely aligned with the real nature of the group.
Mr Winter said attempts at using rhetoric with effect had fallen flat, describing the book as "amusing to read”.
“It’s as if he trying to practice his rhetorical skills by using tools which are already very well used, but he is treating them as if they are revolutionary."
He said the document’s exact target audience is unclear. “Perhaps it is targeting a young teenage audience who will be attracted to some of the things mentioned in it, but it’s a very weak message.
Isis seizes Ramadi
Isis seizes Ramadi
1/7 Ramadi attack
Ramadi, after fighting on Friday, was one of the army’s few strongholds
2/7 Ramadi attack
130,000 remaining inhabitants of Ramadi, an overwhelmingly Sunni city, have fled the fighting (AP)
3/7 Ramadi attack
Iraqi security forces withdraw from the Anbar state capital, Ramadi, in defeat on Sunday, 17 May (AP)
4/7 Ramadi attack
The last remaining Iraqi security forces defending their headquarters against Isis in the eastern part of Ramadi on 14 May
5/7 Ramadi attack
Civilian belongings can be seen in an abandoned truck during fighting in Ramadi
6/7 Ramadi attack
Civilians fled Ramadi as Isis advanced
7/7 Ramadi attack
Thousands of civilians fled the Isis advance in Ramadi
“The people who are sympathetic with Islamic State programmes in Syria and Iraq are already exposed to a lot of seemingly utopian aspects of life there and that comes in the form of photo reports of jihadists fishing, kids singing etc - that forms the bulk of the propaganda coming out of the Islamic state, it just doesn’t get reported on.
"If you are in that circle of supporters or loose sympathisers of the group you can get access to that without having to read a book like this. This is not something that should be considered a new form of insidious Islamic State propaganda.”