Last week, defense officials confirmed the death of ISIS' second-in-command, whose real name is Abd al-Rahman Mustafa al-Qaduli. This comes after news that suspects in last November's Paris terror attacks were arrested in Brussels. In the wake of all of this, Business of Fashion looked into how ISIS-branded clothing could be used to advertise or support the terror group and its violent ideology.
ISIS branding has been placed on headbands, T-shirts, and hoodies. Over the last two years, these items of clothing have been sold in stores in Istanbul and southern Turkey, a Lebanese market, and even online. Selling or wearing ISIS-branded clothing can be illegal depending on local anti-terror law; Facebook pages that have ISIS-branded clothing listed online and sold out of Indonesia, for instance, have been taken down by the social media company. In the UK, it's prohibited, according to the Terrorism Act of 2000, to wear clothing that supports terror groups or glorifies terrorism. Some people are able to stay within the law and get their extreme message out, but counter-terrorism legal expert Helen Fenwick told BoF that the British government is already working on an extremism bill that would prohibit extremist-type clothing completely.
The clothing sold often has no real connection to ISIS, but it signifies belonging to the terror group, an aspect of the appeal of ISIS for wannabes and outsiders, according to individuals interviewed by BoF. "I had a really strong sense of being with ISIS. I know many others felt this way, that we belong to them,'' says Abdullah, a former ISIS follower who preached the terror group's violent message on Twitter and on TV, and has sold ISIS-branded T-shirts.
That, coupled with what's referred to as "jihad cool"—the way in which the terror group has branded its violent ideology as "cool" or appealing—are potential links that could contribute to an individual's decision to join the Islamic State. "If people are drawn into extremist ideology, it is arguable that the next step involves some kind of involvement in terrorist acts," counter-terrorism legal expert Helen Fenwick told BoF.