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Black Flag in Jersey: A Jihadist Identifier Camouflaged

by Dawn Perlmutter

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On Tuesday August 12, Marc Leibowitz alerted Homeland Security that a black flag of the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) was hanging on a house in Garwood, New Jersey. As a former Israeli paratrooper he understood the importance of reporting suspicious activity. The black flag that was hanging in New Jersey is an indisputable identifier of jihadist terrorist groups including al-Qaeda. It is one of several variations of the ‘Black Flags of Jihad’. It is a variant design of the Black Standard Al-Rāya flag a.k.a. The Black Banner, Banner of the Eagle and The Banner. The white writing is the shahada, the declaration of Islamic faith: There is no god but God, Muhammad is the messenger of God. In this variant the second phrase of the shahada is in the form of the historical signet ring seal of the Prophet Muhammad in the center circle. The black flag is found in terrorist emblems, websites and often appears in violent protests. On September 11, 2012 angry protesters scaled the walls of the U.S. embassy in Cairo and replaced the American flag with the same black flag that was hanging on the porch in this Jersey neighborhood.

The black flag signifies the battle flag of the Prophet Muhammad. It also denotes an end times concept called the Black Flags of Khorasan that refers to a Muslim Army that will rise from the land of Khorasan carrying black flags/banners. Khorasan is a geographic area that includes parts of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. According to hadiths this army will conquer several occupied lands of Muslims till it reaches Jerusalem. The final battle is to take place in the Levant – Israel, Syria, and Lebanon. The name of the terrorist group ISIS, an acronym for Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham refers to the historical geographic area known as the Levant. Hence, the alternative acronym for their name Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) Al-Sham denotes the province of Bilad al-Sham that was established after the Muslim conquest of Syria. It includes what today is Syria, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon and part of Turkey. In 661 Bilad al-Sham became the seat of power of the Muslim Caliphate. The symbolism of the ISIS army’s name and black flag signifies the territory it plans to conquer as it reclaims the province of Bilad al-sham during its expansion of a new Islamic Caliphate.

Either Mark Dunaway, the 44 year old, who was flying the black flag on his home, is sympathetic to the goals of global jihad or the Muslim convert is one of their useful idiots, with the emphasis on idiot. Dunaway denied knowing what the flag represents or that he ever intended to offer support to ISIS. Symbolic evidence should always be analyzed in the context of other identifiers. Dunaway’s black flag was hanging next to what appeared to be the Turkish national flag, a red flag with the Islamic star and crescent on it. Dunaway not only claimed that he didn’t know that he had hung the ISIS flag he also insisted that the flag he hung next to it was simply a ‘flag of Islam.’…

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