Understanding Key Themes in the ISIS Narrative: An Examination of Dabiq Magazine

  • Greg Barton
Part of the Middle East Today book series (MIET)


ISIS represents an evolution of al-Qaeda that has become more extreme in its methods and central narrative, which is even more sectarian, exclusivist, and apocalyptic. Nevertheless, it frames this in positive terms and presents itself as a courageous insurgency defending Sunni interests and engaging in a noble project to build a utopian society of true believers. Consequently, ISIS’ messaging has strong appeal. Counter-messaging needs to begin not so much with the theological but with the emotional appeal of ISIS as a revolutionary force for justice, offering a radical new community and a powerful sense of belonging and purpose. To this end, this chapter identifies nine axial themes in ISIS’ Dabiq magazine (July 2014–2016) that frame its central narrative. These themes were carried on in Rumiyah, the successor to Dabiq, and are likely to continue to frame the ISIS narrative.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and GlobalisationDeakin UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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