Islamic State Supporters Publish a How to Guide

Offering suggestions that range from troubling to ridiculous, in late March Islamic State supporters published an English-reading eBook titled, How to Survive in the West: A Mujahid Guide (2015), with the purpose of advising potential recruits on how to evade detection. According to the author, this book is a guide for Muslims who live in a majority non-Muslim country where “the rulers are harsh towards the believers.”

It explains to them the different scenarios they may face and how to react. This guide teaches them how to be a secret Agent who lives a double life, which it advises will be a must for Muslims in the coming years. “The disbelievers in the West started/commenced the attacks against the masses of Muslims first, accusing us of being terrorists. Will you not fight such people?” the author of How to Survive in the West wrote. The author suggests focusing attacks on those who insult Islam or Muslims because they are the “real enemies.”

Although this guide could be perceived as worrisome to terrorist experts, it is more of a propaganda piece aimed at provoking Muslims in the West to act as lone wolves in support for the Islamic State. With a basic and elementary style of writing, this eBook offers ridiculous tactics such as training with nerf guns, using lemon water to write secret messages, and for would-be spies to watch the Jason Bourne series for movie tips.

This guide also advises Muslim converts to hide their faith as much as possible and keep their real identity a secret by changing their first name or by picking an Alias. They are told to dress in ways that blend in with their surroundings to reduce chances of landing on a terrorist watch list as well as advised to engage in credit-card fraud or sell fake products on eBay to raise money for jihad. The author argues that “you are earning money to support Allah’s religion, to defend the Muslims, so do not feel bad about this greater good.”

They are told to keep a low profile online by using anonymous web browsers or sites, which allow for anonymous emails. It also suggests befriending white people who are dissatisfied with their governments and recruiting white converts into undercover jihad. Even though the information being explained is very basic and obvious, it can still be perceived as damaging to counterterrorism efforts since it reinforces terrorists how to operate intelligently and reduce the likelihood of exposure.

Other strategies in this guide include:

  • Why breaking an allegiance to the country you live in is important
  • How to preserve internet privacy through a clean home IP address and Jihad searches on Tor browsers
  • How to communicate by talking through clothes
  • How to train without drawing attention to yourself
  • How to make primitive weapons and bombs, how to obtain modern weapons, and how to transport weapons
  • What to do if you are spied on and get raided and how to escape for safety

The guide ends with last words of advice on why supporting the Islamic mentality and ideology is more important than anything else and that any opportunity to get money, anonymity, weapons, friendships, leadership positions amongst Muslims, and even beneficial knowledge will help you in the future. The guide’s last words also state that you will get awarded from Allah- in this life and the next for every Jihad effort you take.