Call it Jihadicare.
ISIS, the terrorist group attempting to establish a Muslim caliphate in the Middle East, is best known for utter brutality: beheading, torture and indiscriminate murder. So a video released by the group on Thursday struck a rather odd note by announcing the creation of the so-called Islamic State Health Service.
The video, which uses branding, logos and even pictures that appear to be completely stolen from advertisements for the United Kingdom’s National Health Service, promises the imminent opening of the Islamic State Dewan of Health, or the ISHS. It was apparently shot in the Syrian city of Raqqa.
The video features a man identified as an Australian-born doctor carrying a newborn through a hospital ward and instructing other medical workers. “My name is Abu Yusuf,” he says. “I am one of the media team in Raqqa. I made hijrah from Australia to the Islamic State to live under the caliphate. I saw this as part of my jihad for Islam, to help the [Muslims] in the area that I could, which is the medical field.”
The release of the video comes as the fortunes of ISIS in Iraq and Syria are being severely tested. The advance of ISIS fighters has been slowed substantially by a combination of American airpower and strengthened Iraqi resistance.
The introduction of the ISHS appears to be an effort by the group to project an image of stability and permanence in contrast to its vacillating fortunes on the battlefield. In the video, the man identifying himself as Abu Yusuf paints a picture of a medical system that has all the modern technologies it needs, but not enough doctors to operate it.
Part of the goal of the video appears to be to entice Muslims with medical training to join ISIS.
“It is a good system that they are running here,” says Abu Yusuf. “Everything is living up to my expectations completely and we really need your help. It is not the equipment that we are lacking, it is truly just the staff. Inshallah [God willing] see you soon.”
Aside from a combination of incredulity and amusement that ISIS ripped off the NHS’s advertising campaign, the British media leapt on the story because the call for medical personnel to join ISIS hit close to home. Recently nine British medical students of Sudanese origin reportedly left school in order to join the terror group.
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