Amazon stops sales of ISIS propaganda magazine

ISIS uses magazines like Dabiq and social media to recruit Westerners into its ranks

Paul Crompton
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Following criticism, U.S.-based online retail giant Amazon stopped sales of a Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militant publication online.

A day earlier, an article in online current affairs site The Daily Caller revealed the sale of the magazines, which were available to purchase in paperback form on Amazon sites in the U.S., UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain. It can be downloaded for free elsewhere.


The magazine, entitled Dabiq, is produced by the group's media arm, called the Al-Hayat Media Center. Al-Hayat is also responsible for the production and distribution of media content including brutal videos showing the beheading and torture of several Western journalists and aid workers.

ISIS uses publications such as Dabiq and social media strategies to recruit Westerners into its ranks.

Dabiq’s magazines which are being sold on Amazon include one with a cover depicting an ISIS’ flag above an obelisk in St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican.
Dabiq’s magazines which are being sold on Amazon include one with a cover depicting an ISIS’ flag above an obelisk in St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican.

The latest copy of Dabiq is entitled “They plot and Allah plots,” in a reference the efforts towards Gulf states and Western powers to strike against the group.

The issue, contained an article justifying the militant group’s use of sex slaves, and contained the line: “maybe Michelle Obama’s price [on the sex slave market] won’t even exceed a third of a dinar, and a third of a dinar is too much for her!”

The May issue of the magazine claimed that the group was capable of obtaining a nuclear weapon from “states like Pakistan.”

“The Islamic State has billions of dollars in the bank, so they call on their wilayah [official] in Pakistan to purchase a nuclear device through weapons dealers with links to corrupt officials in the region,” the article read.

Not to blame

Michael Ryan, a scholar at the Washington-based Middle East Institute and former U.S. government official, said that internet giants such as Amazon are not to blame for inadvertently promoting militant propaganda.

“Every ISIS member with a smartphone is potentially a propaganda center able to use Twitter or other apps to put up material almost immediately,” he said.

“The only way one could stop it in real time is to take down the Internet in a country or locale, which is counterproductive in a modern country that depends on the Internet for commerce and public services.”

Abeer al-Najjar, a media studies academic at the UAE-based American University of Sharjah, said that Amazon and other web firms such as Google, Youtube and Twitter, have a responsibility for the content on offer.

“They hold some responsibility in the sense of how to regulate and how to organize,” she told Al Arabiya News “Especially when it comes to values that are commonly agreed upon from international organizations.”

The seller was listed as CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, an Amazon subsidiary that allows members of the public to sell and distribute books. Amazon did not yet respond to a request for comment by Al Arabiya News.

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