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The Softer Side of Jihad

To Win Westerners, Al Shabab Goes on Safari

View of Mogadishu fishing harbour from the Aruba Hotel in the Somali capital Mogadishu,  August 6, 2012. Stuart Price / AU-UN IST

Hunting giraffes with an AK-47 is not an activity that most people associate with the life of a terrorist, but for al Shabab, big game hunting is but one of the many perks of membership. A recent al Shabab video depicted fighters stalking and shooting giraffes, antelope, and buffalo, frolicking in a swimming hole, and sharing large plates of fresh fruit within Somalia’s lush expanses. Compared to the brutality of recruitment videos from the Islamic State (also known as ISIS), al Shabab is peddling a softer version of jihad.

This take on jihadi life is not always standard fare for the Somali terror group. Al Shabab’s cinematic efforts often feature brutality and violence. This video, however, is part of an attempt to reinvigorate a key element of its rise that saw it become, for a time, one of the world’s most prominent terrorist organizations. By casting jihad

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