From Hijrah to Khilafah: Rhetoric, Redemption, and ISIL's Recruitment Strategy

Hilary A. Sarat-St. Peter


Global migration to ISIL-controlled territories has persisted despite ISIL’s well-documented repressive tactics, multinational efforts to stop the migration, and the difficulties facing disillusioned recruits who wish to return to their home countries. This article asks what motivates some individuals to emigrate from countries that rank high on the UN’s Human Development Index to ISIL-controlled territories in Iraq and Syria. To address this question, I examine ISIL’s official online magazine, Dabiq, as a rhetorical artifact designed to persuade and motivate readers. Dabiq’s recruitment strategy consists of three key terms arranged as a jeremiad that guide readers through a redemptive drama of guilt and purification. The article discusses implications for rhetoric and professional communication, terrorism studies, and counterterrorism strategy.


rhetoric, jihadism, recruitment, globalization, professional communication

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