Analysing Abu Hudhayfah’s latest message and threat to the West: jihad, propaganda, and terrorism risk.

Abu Hudhayfah's Thtreat to the West
In his last message, Abu Hudhayfah threaten the West pushing European countries to enhance their security measures (Credits: Foto di Fabien Maurin su Unsplash)

Geopolitical Report ISSN 2785-2598 Volume 42 Issue 6
Author: Christian Tratzi

The recent audio message released by Islamic State’s official spokesman Abu Hudhayfah al-Ansari on March 28th, 2024, during Ramadan, highlights the group’s ongoing call to action and outlines its short-term propaganda strategy.

Abu Hudhayfah acknowledged new fronts for jihad and emphasised the use of digital means to disseminate ideology, targeting young people and independent actors, particularly in the Western regions.

The report examined the extremist propaganda of Islamic State and studied the recent message from Abu Hudhayfah to evaluate the group’s danger to Western countries.

Background Information

On March 28th, 2024, during the holy month of Ramadan, the Islamic State’s official spokesman Abu Hudhayfah al-Ansari launched an audio message from the Halummu platform, intended for all Muslims. The statement represents a continuation of the call to action that Abu Hudhayfah started at the beginning of the new year and outlines the strategy of the Islamic State’s propaganda in the short-terms.

The announcement comes following the attack on the Crocus Hall in Moscow, and on the tenth anniversary of the proclamation of the Khilafah, to legitimise the anniversary by recounting alleged successes and conquests of the caliphate, whose actual actions are to be adapted to contemporary times and imitated by the mujahideen. The ideological element constitutes an important part of the discourse, testifying the importance that the Islamic State places on the religious message within its propaganda.

Drawing a comparison with the past, Abu Hudhayfah recognises new fronts for jihad and new tools to accomplish it, not only in battle but also through the dissemination of ideology via new digital means. The primary targets of the new campaign are young people and individuals who operate independently, although the message is aimed at everyone, particularly in the Western regions. Muslims are specifically invited to immigrate to the lands of jihad.

The West remains the primary target of the threat. The message calls for action against Christians, Jews, and kuffar in their territories, presenting possible actions as responses to wars in territories recognised as their Wilayat by the Islamic State. The United States, considered the leaders of the coalition against the Khilafah, face the greatest threat.

Islamic State’s new message could constitute an important element of radicalisation, supporting the campaign started in January 2024, and could lead to the completion of violent actions against Western targets, not only in Europe or America but also in military contingents globally.

Propaganda Key-Points and Analysis

  1. Islamic State, a decade after. Tracing the origins and successes of the Islamic State, Abu Hudhayfah marks the new frontiers of the Khilafah, presenting the expansion of the Islamic State provinces.
  2. Path of jihad and tawhid. Religion constitutes the core of the propaganda campaign. Jihad seeks to promote the oneness of God (tawhid) through a necessary separation (bara’) from what is not considered true Islam, contributing to the purification of Muslims. Additionally, the dissemination of the message is a fundamental part of jihad, with traditional methods now complemented by online tools.
  3. Incitement to lone mujahideen and the threat to the United States. The primary call to action targets lone actors (‘lone lions’), especially young individuals, who are easier to radicalise and pose a lower risk-cost factor. The United States represents the major target of the threat, not only within its own territory but globally.

Islamic State, a decade after

In his message, Abu Hudhayfa firstly glorifies and legitimises the Khilafah ten years after its foundation. He presents the notion of al-wala wa-l-bara’ (loyalty and disavowal) as a concept upon which to build the vision of “Islam against the rest”. The Islamic State, governing under the word of God and the principles of shari’a, would represent the flag of Islam against Christians (referred as crusaders), Jews, and infidels in general.

Part of the narrative describes how the coalition formed by them (Romans, Persians, Russians, Jews) gathered to fight the Islamic State, without being able to defeat it. In areas untouched by ground forces, aerial weapons and missiles have been used to destroy buildings and take lives. However, when it comes to Muslims, these forces have been unable to undermine their core beliefs.

In this sense, Abu Hudhayfah describes the early battles of the Islamic State in Mosul and Raqqa with a triumphant tone, announcing how the victories of the Islamic State have led in a decade to new territorial conquests and the expansion of the Khilafah towards new borders. New fronts for jihad, beyond Iraq and Sham (Syria), have opened in the Wilayat of Africa, Sahel, Khorasan, Pakistan, East Asia, Somalia, targeting especially America, indicating that the only viable solution is a victory of the Islamic State.

“A decade has passed since the founding of the Khilafah State, in which its soldiers recorded the most wonderful epics of the era in Mosul, Raqqah, al-Baghouz, Sirte, Marawi, Lajbana, and elsewhere, and the epic battles continue to be fiercely waged in the Wilayat of Iraq, Sham, Africa, the Sahel, Khurasan, Pakistan, East Asia, Somalia, and other Wilayat of the existing Khilafah and the fields of its expansive jihad”. Abu Hudhayfah al-Ansari

In the triumphant description of events and in the search for religious legitimacy, the Islamic State would gather the traditions of the Book and the legacy of the Prophet, both in the expansion of Islam and in the fight against its enemies.

The congratulations addressed to the different Wilayat can therefore fit into this line: Abu Hudhayfah praises the actions and efforts in Mozambique (IS-M), Central and West Africa (ISSP and ISWAP), Khorasan (ISKP, described as the master of purification and wala’ wa-l-bara’), Somalia (with special mention for attacks against the US military), for their attacks against Christians and infidels, Pakistan and East Asia Provinces for their activities, and finally the Muslims in Iraq, Sham, Yemen, Lebanon, especially for actions against Shiite Muslims. The sacrifices and efforts made by Muslims will lead to the victory of Islam.

Path of Jihad and Tawhid

The promotion of tawhid (summarised as “the oneness of God”), in full adherence to Wahhabi-Salafi doctrine, remains a constant in the Islamic State propaganda and continues to be part of its rhetoric. Highlighting the sacredness of fighting, Abu Hudhayfah calls for jihad to be conducted during the holy months, following the example of the Prophet and the Sahaba, by fighting against the tawaghit (idols or demons).

Drawing from prophetic tradition, jihad takes on the meaning of expansion (spreading tawhid) and conversion, as well as purification in anticipation of the Day of Judgment. Abu Hudhayfah consistently stresses the concept of combat as a means of purification, referencing sacred scriptures.

The Almight says: “If a wound should touch you – there has already touched the [opposing] people a wound similar to it. And these days [of varying conditions] We alternate among the people so that Allah may make evident those who believe and [may] take to Himself from among you martyrs – and Allah does not like the wrongdoers – And that Allah may purify the believers [through trials] and destroy the disbelievers. Or do you think that you will enter Paradise while Allah has not yet made evident those of you who fight in His cause and made evident those who are steadfast?” Sura al-‘Imran (3:140-142)”. Abu Hudhayfah al-Ansari

Purification coincides with the punishment for the kuffar, for which Abu Hudhayfah calls for patience and steadfastness in the face of problems and adversities, as jihad matures through adversities. Therefore, Abu Hudhayfa demands total support from the mujahideen for the Islamic State.

Besides traditional forms, he introduces the “media arena” scenario, where Muslims have to support the Khilafah and spread its messages. Regarding the term bay’a (pledge, allegiance), Abu Hudhayfa shows the intention to expand the Islamic State even more into the virtual space. Through the internet, Muslims are responsible for uploading, disseminating, and translating both religious messages and the actions of the Islamic State, thus participating in the jihadi campaign.

Expanding the scope to the internet, a space where the Islamic State has always operated, can allow for faster and broader radicalisation, accelerating the process and reducing costs and risks.

Read also | Islamic State Short-Term Propaganda and the Lone-Wolves Threat to the West

Incitement to lone mujahideen and the threat to America

Speaking to the universal umma, Abu Hudhayfah describes the suffering of the situation in Gaza – referring to his previous message launched on January 2024 – and presents a comparison with other past events (in Iraq, Sham, Libya, Sinai, Yemen) and current situations (Burma, China, India, and other generic difficulties). The only solution for Muslims is to fight the kuffar, starting with the Jews and their allies for Gaza.

Subsequently, he renews the incitement to “lone lions” to make an effort and strike Christians and Jews in every place, especially in America and Europe. Abu Hudhayfah points to the West as territories where it is most impactful and heartbreaking for Christians and Jews, inviting to attack during the holy months following the example of the Prophet and with no justification, as the practice has already been legitimated by the sacred sources.

“O Muslims, Allah Almighty has imposed jihad on every Muslim except those who are excused. The Almighty said: “Go forth, wheter light or heavy”, Surah al-Tawba (9:41), meaning: go forth for jihad, young and old, in hardship and ease, just as He commanded us to wage jihad by every Shari’a means”.
Abu Hudhayfah al-Ansari

The youth are the prime targets of the incitement to practise jihad, an individual duty imposed by God. Abu Hudhayfah also mentions the theme of hijra, inviting Muslims – especially young people – to follow the example of the Prophet and emigrate to the new arenas of jihad, especially in Africa, West Africa, Sahel, Khorasan, and Pakistan. Once again, emphasising the concept of al-wala’ wa-l-bara’, the Islamic State highlights the importance of loyalty and disavowal concept for those who lives in the West.

Although the threat targets all enemies of the Islamic State, it specifically focuses on the United States – and its military personnel and structures. Abu Hudhayfah shows the United States as the major enemy of the Khilafah, responsible for initiating a war with the mujahideen twenty years ago.

Within this context, it is feasible to interpret a statement made by the Islamic State, whose roots can be traced back to the Iraq War in 2003 and the subsequent actions carried out by the United States. The message of threat to the United States shows the dangers of new fronts in Africa and the spectre of war within its own borders, adding historical to religious components to the conflict between mujahideen and the USA.

Risk Scenario Analysis

  1. Lone lions’ radicalisation, recruitment, and action. Abu Hudhayfah’s message underlines the role of lone actors in conducting attacks against Western targets. Lone actors, operating independently of organised networks, pose challenges for law enforcement and intelligence agencies in detecting and preventing attacks, increasing the terrorism risk in the West.
  2. Further growth of the Islamic State in Africa. The Islamic State describes its growing interest, presence, and activity in Africa, particularly in West Africa and in the Sahel region. Africa’s instability could increase the threat to Western and American interests on the continent, including military installations, diplomatic missions, and civilian infrastructure, and the terrorism risk to European soil, considering the connections between the two continents. The Islamic State’s ability to operate in these areas presents challenges for regional and international stability and security, as well as the potential for carrying out attacks.
  3. Increase of online propaganda and recruitment operation. The full integration of online platforms into the Islamic State’s propaganda strategy poses a risk of radicalisation and recruitment in the West. By leveraging the internet, the group can disseminate its message rapidly and reach a broader audience, with minor risk and cost, but with the same high impact. Using social media and other digital tools enables the Islamic State to bypass traditional security measures, making it easier to radicalise individuals remotely  – especially youths – and incite them to conduct attacks without direct contact with the organization.


Abu Hudhayfah’s message raises the global alert level even higher. The direct threat aimed at the United States and its allies, along with the encouragement of lone mujahideen to take action in the West, has sparked a surge in propaganda following the message’s release.

By shifting their operations online, the Islamic State can reach a significantly larger audience in a much shorter time. Emerging social networks and platforms (such as gaming, chat, and video) are increasingly dominating the virtual propaganda landscape, posing challenges for rapid counteraction. Historical narratives and religious propaganda play integral roles in stoking discontent and providing rationale for violent actions.

The Islamic State activity in Africa, Central Asia and AF-PAK region, constitutes the primary threat for the United States and their allies outside the western territories. To ensure the security of the western military and institutional corps, it will be necessary to strive for bolstering international agreements with respective countries and provide logistical, economic, and military assistance to the personnel deployed in these territories.

Read also | Islamic State’s Threat to Europe and Italy: Risk Assessment

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