Isis 'tourist guide': British jihadist Abu Rumaysah publishes e-book comparing self-declared caliphate to 'plush holiday resort'

'Ridiculous' book promises Kit Kats, 'an exquisite Mediterranean climate' and none of those 'dreaded E numbers'

Heather Saul
Tuesday 19 May 2015 16:03
Leaflet presents a utopian view of life in the terror group's Iraqi and Syrian strongholds
Leaflet presents a utopian view of life in the terror group's Iraqi and Syrian strongholds

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' [2015]' 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 cover of the 'e-book'

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.


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.

A screen shot of the weather section

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.

The final paragraph

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.

“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.”

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