ISIS, the universally maligned terrorist organization sweeping across the Arabic-speaking world, has taken its propaganda to the level of the absurd and conceptual by staging a massive bonfire of sorts, during which the Libyan branch of the Islamic State deflagrated a pile of drums. The group published pictures of the fire to social media on Wednesday.
The so-called “media wing” of ISIS released a statement along with the pictures, which declared, in part, that “Hesbah [religious police] seized these un-Islamic musical instruments in the state of Warqa,” and that the instruments were “burnt in accordance with Islamic law.” ISIS’ recent propagandizing from within African Arabic-speaking countries has also included the publication of a video depicting the beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians, who were killed near Sirte, a city on the Mediterranean. That particular incident has prompted an outpouring of indignation and lividity from the global Christian community, particularly in the United States, where conservative Christians have moved to denounce President Obama’s reference to the victims by nationality instead of religion.
The drum burning is reported to have transpired just outside the city of Derna, a port in eastern Libya. Per the pictures, some of the drums appear to still be in plastic wrap, suggesting they are brand new. In turn, this would imply members of ISIS actually went out and purchased drums for burning, and while ISIS has ample funding, drums aren’t exactly cheap.
ISIS, during its territorial conquests in Africa and the Middle East, has been noted for its members’ adept use of social media to spread the Islamic fundamentalist group’s message of absolutism and categorical intolerance of other beliefs and lifestyles, be they religious or secular. The organization’s social media campaigns have recently included graphic videos of executions, including the beheading of journalists such as America’s James Foley and Japan’s Kenji Goto, as well as the immolation of Jordanian pilot Moath al-Kasasbeh. Al-Kasasbeh’s execution video spurred the Jordanian government into increasing its military campaigns against ISIS, ramping up its bombing efforts in the skies above occupied Syria.
In Libya, which, according to the Daily Mail, has a history of civil rights abuses with respect to musicians, ISIS has staged a successful campaign of its own, marching westward from Egypt, across the northern coast of the country. Faced with fundamentalist violence and religious persecution, Libya’s internationally recognized government, which came to power following the fall of dictator Muammar Gaddafi during the Arab Spring movement, has fled to the border city of Tubruq, where it struggles, along with various rebel factions, to maintain control of the beleaguered country.