How not to get caught: ISIS guide to terrorist success

Islamic State’s (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) “Safety and Security Guidelines for Lone Wolf Mujahideen” is as much a revelation about the group’s perception of Western culture as it is a step-by-step guide to staying under the radar of security services.

“No doubt that today, at the era of the lone wolves, brothers in the West, need to know some important things about safety in order to ensure success in their operations,” introduction to the the 58-page terror manual begins.

Here are just some of the tidbits of advice on offer for the lone wolves.

  • Avoid “looking like a Muslim” – The best way to do this is apparently to “avoid having a beard, wearing qamis (islamic tunics), using miswak (teeth cleaning twigs) and having a booklet of dhikr (prayers and devotional acts) with you.”

  • Shave your beard - even ISIS knows the hipster beard is out of fashion.
  • Pay attention to your jewellery - It may give away your religion. The guide suggests wearing a cross in Western countries, but cautions “don’t wear a cross necklace if you have a Muslim name on your passport, as that may look strange.”
  • Splash on the aftershave - “If you are a man use perfume for men,” the guide states. It also recommends “generic alcoholic perfume as everyone" else wears, and not the “oily, non-alcoholic perfume that Muslims use.”
  • Just say hello - “No need to be using too much of the usual sentences that religious brothers use, like ‘salam alaykum’, ‘barakallah feek’ or ‘jazakallah khayr’ and so on.”
  • Don’t forget to Party! - “Nightclubs are the perfect place to discuss terror plans, the loud music and drunk clientele make it easy to plan in peace without being recorded or snooped on.”

The booklet is being widely shared on social media and is just the latest example of ISIS’ English-language propaganda.