Center for Strategic Communication

[ a guest post by Melissa Roddy ]

Tim Furnish recently taught a course on Jihad, Apocalypse and Terrorism at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, and suggested to Melissa Roddy, one of his students, that she should submit this piece for our consideration. I’m happy to welcome Melissa as a guest poster here at Zenpundit. She has an intriguing suggestion to make regarding the frequent use of face coverings by IS members when they’re basically showing off their capacity for butchering those with whom they disagree. Your comments are welcome. — Charles Cameron


While viewing photos of Islamic State (IS) jihadists recently, an irony suddenly came into sharp focus. If these exterminators are in fact true believers, why do they always hide their faces?

Of course the practical reason is to avoid identification by governments and military forces intent on vanquishing IS. But what does it say about their commitment to a mission that has included the slaughter and enslavement of anybody and everybody they please? In every gruesome image projected in Western media of “Jihadi John” and/or his cohorts slicing through the neck of some poor soul or mass murdering innocent men, women and children, the perpetrator portrays fierce pride beneath the safety of a ski mask.

Their masks may hide their faces, but they expose the doubt in their hearts. A true believer would have no fear. A true believer would show his face to the world to prove devout confidence that his mission is in service of and blessed by Allah. A true believer would have no fear of exposure. A true believer would be confident that Allah would clear any obstacle from his path. A true believer would want to strip anonymity from such acts, because to show his face would be a declaration of faith.

It is bloody clear, IS butchers hide behind their ski masks, because, despite their boasts of religious fervor, in their heart of hearts they know they are nothing more than power hungry, murderers, rapists and thieves, with no respect for Allah’s creation. They are exactly the opposite of righteous. Their masks demonstrate the fear that in death these monsters will face an eternity in Hell for being instruments of Shaitan wearing false masks of piety simply to satisfy their bloodlust.