Islamic State supporters on social media are sharing photos of a grand shopping mall the group has allegedly opened in the Iraqi city of Mosul, stocked full of American and Western products the group has previously adamantly declared haram.
Iranian outlet Al Alam shares a number of photos from the new facility, which appears to sell everything from American shampoo to British chocolates.
The images have been released as an effort to convince Muslims who may be swayed to join the Islamic State that its residents live in luxury, and that the terrorist group is capable of providing for those who are willing to live under its draconian Sharia law.
It is not confirmed that the mall is in Mosul, the second-largest city in Iraq and second-largest city under Islamic State control, after Syria’s Raqqa, the Islamic State “capital.” Both Al Alam and the Daily Mail agree the images appear to show Mosul, however.
The Daily Mail identifies Head & Shoulders shampoo and Mars candies among the stocked shelves, as well as non-labeled fruits, cakes, and decorative items. Al Arabiya notes brands of cosmetic products like Nivea and Dove also available. The emphasis on food and women’s cosmetic problems indicate this particular propaganda attempt is geared toward attracting women who would want to be ensured that they could buy Western luxuries while submitting to an Islamic lifestyle.
— Muhammad Najat (@Muhammad_najat) February 15, 2015
The mall fits the description of a project announced in May, the Khalifah Mall, which Islamic State propagandists claim would be built for the use of families living under the rule of the terrorist group. Lebanon’s Daily Star then reported that the mall would sell everything from food to cooking materials and clothing.
The major difference between the announced “Khalifah Mall” and the latest photos? When the former was announced, the Islamic State had banned any products from the United States and the Western world generally as anti-Islamic and haram. While the photos do not show sporting brands like Nike, which were specifically mentioned then, American and British candies are clearly displayed, perhaps suggesting that ISIS leadership was unable to convince jihadi recruits to abandon their Snickers and Starburst candies.
In April, photos began to surface on Twitter posted by alleged jihadis of Burger King meals, Skittles, and Pringles proudly displayed as easily accessible to Islamic State terrorists. Reports then alleged that shopkeepers within ISIS territories were routinely baffled by requests from Western jihadists for foods never-before-seen in the region, from Whoppers to Pringles.
“These snacks were either unknown, or luxuries we couldn’t afford… But when the fighters requested them, I didn’t ask questions,” said one shopkeeper, “I ran to my supplier and placed an order. Pringles and Snickers? Isis guys buy those by the box to share at the front.”
Demand for Western luxuries has been a particular problem for jihadis from France, who have faced retribution from the terrorist group for protesting that their iPhones no longer worked within the Caliphate.