Semiotic Analysis of Media and Visual Jihad of ISIS Group in Photos Released by Them

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Zeinab Niknejat Majid Movahed


Jihad is a central but variable concept in the Islamic fundamentalism discourse. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) as the latest product of this discourse defined media jihad as an important aspect of this obligation by conceptual and exemplary development of jihad. In this research, by applying social semiotics method,  a semiotic analysis of media jihad was conducted by emphasizing their photographic activities on some published photos of ISIS and also efforts were made to discover the intrinsic meaning of ISIS on this concept. By committing themselves to social semiotics presumptions, the authors tried to explore underlying layers of photos and reveal the social and cultural contexts, as well as power relations as the background of this semiotics. In this study, some codes such as companionship of ISIS soldiers with visual and media tools, companionship of media and visual tools with military and violent weapons and active participation of women in the jihad media, which consists of a system of signs were analyzed and such analyses were discussed in social and cultural contexts such as power, dual space, and switch from writing to image. Finally, the meaning that is generally understood of media jihad was quite different from what exists in Islam about jihad.


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NIKNEJAT, Zeinab; MOVAHED, Majid. Semiotic Analysis of Media and Visual Jihad of ISIS Group in Photos Released by Them. Malaysian Journal of Media Studies, [S.l.], v. 21, n. 2, p. 73-88, jan. 2020. ISSN 2231-8143. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 04 july 2020.