Sunday, 1 November 2015

Fashion Designer to the Caliphate

Those of you – and how many of those are there? – who read my cartoon strip will be aware of the ongoing The Great Big ISIS Movie Extravaganza storyline, and that among the most prominent members is someone named Jihadi Colin.

A few months ago, I did a particular episode in which Jihadi Colin acted in one of those ISIS beheading videos, in which he appeared as here:

Now, Jihadi Colin is, obviously, purely a product of my imagination. He does not exist in reality, and, like all other Raghead characters, is a stereotypical construct designed to be easily recognisable by being dressed in very distinctive clothing; in his case, a wraparound face and head cover, a salwar kameez with a sleeveless ammunition jacket comprising two rows of receptacles; upper small pouches on the chest and lower large ones.

I had never seen any actual ISIS member – and, as I said, I do a lot of research on the group – who looks or is dressed like Jihadi Colin. He was, as I said, someone I made up, and his clothes were also made up by me.

Now, we all know all those famous ISIS beheading videos where men in spiffy black outfits (such as “Jihadi John”) stand behind crouching hostages in orange jumpsuits making threats against their lives. Those black beheading suits are so characteristic of ISIS they might as well be called a marketing logo.

But sometimes images need a makeover.

A few days ago, I came across a video (which, trust me, you do not want to watch) released by ISIS last week in which a purported Syrian soldier was crushed to death under a tank. There are questions about whether that video is genuine – in so far as any ISIS video is genuine, given the group’s carefully cartoonish malevolence – but it was preceded by the usual hostage lecture. Only this time, the ISIStani lecturing wasn’t dressed in the trademark outfit. Oh no.

Look at what he was dressed like:

Does this look familiar somehow?

I’ll give you a clue.

I can see only two alternatives here:

First, either by some remarkable coincidence, by totally random chance, ISIS came up with a new sartorial style which looks exactly like Jihadi Colin’s outfit, down to the two rows of ammunition pouches on the sleeveless jacket, as well as the not-particularly-practicable head and face covering, and then posed him in exactly the same situation as Jihadi Colin was...or else –

- or else ISIS is reading my comic strip and using it as inspiration for fashion designs.

What next? Jihadi Rose burqas? Al Hollywoodi caps with constantly shifting logos? Catwalks with Jihad Fashion Week? At this point I have given up on sarcasm. It seems there’s no way of creating satire without it becoming fact before you know it.

Actually, is it possible that someone from ISIS did read Raghead and copied my designs? Yes, it is possible. I get a fair number of hits from Saudi Barbaria and Turkey...and you know where ISIS is located.

So, ISIStanis, if you’re going to copy my designs, I think you ought to at least pay me a royalty.

Some of those dollars Obama gave you should be mine by right.


  1. I would like one of those Al Hollywoodi caps. But maybe instead of logos, it could just display rude messages.

  2. Royalties eh? OK, so what would you do with all the cash they need to pay you for ripping off your ideas? Take a long vacation? Whatever, I just hope you keep posting more stories.

  3. I mentioned your site to a group I'm in, and someone looked at this post and panicked, figuring the CIA probably tracks everyone who looks at your site and goes after them. He said he would never take the risk of coming back.

    I, on the other hand, boldly go where most Americans try their best to avoid.


  4. I should also mention that (in spite of my trying to explain) that another member of the group said it was obvious that you were a Libyan national who had joined either al-Qaeda or the Daesh or Beaucoup Haram and were violently attacking the brave Americans trying to bring civilisation to the savages (cf Kipling).


    1. As a "F*ck you" to whoever it is who says I'm Libyan I am planning a ghost story for tomorrow. As long as, that is, i can find time to write it. Who says morons can't provide inspiration?

  5. Actually, I'm not sure what nationality Said Fiendly is. For all I know, he COULD be a Libyan member of al-Qaeda, the Daesh, or Beaucoup Haram. Since he's a fictional terrorist (rather like Ahmed the suicide bomber who is now just a ghost of his former terrorist self), did you ever specify his nationality?


    1. Raghead started off as an international terrorist, who would go from one hot spot to another. He's definitely not a jihadi. has fought alongside the SAA against Al Qaeda in the past. For ISIS I use the current crop of characters including Jihadi Colin and Al Hollywoodi.

      I had a good laugh about being called a Libyan ISIS/Boko Haramite (I do have an occasional Boko haram character called Usmanu). I've been called a Russian Putin troll, a Syrian secret service agent (a moron even dedicated a whole blog article to "proving" this), an American from Berkeley (why, I have no idea), and here in India I'm routinely called a Chinese and/or Pakistani agent. Libya was next on the list, I suppose. And I speak maybe ten words of Arabic.


Full comment moderation is enabled on this site, which means that your comment will only be visible after the blog administrator (in other words, yours truly) approves it. The purpose of this is not to censor dissenting viewpoints; in fact, such viewpoints are welcome, though it may lead to challenges to provide sources and/or acerbic replies (I do not tolerate stupidity).

The purpose of this moderation is to eliminate spam, of which this blog attracts an inordinate amount. Spammers, be warned: it takes me less time to delete your garbage than it takes for you to post it.