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Research Paper

Dusty Feet: The Postings of an ISIS Blogger

He was credited with having compiled the “Lonely Planet guide” to joining ISIS, yet little is known of the remarkable stories told in Zafirr Golamaully’s series of blogs called ‘Dusty Feet’. In this research paper we retell these stories, of an individual’s journey to join, dwell with and fight for ISIS. As we describe these accounts, we discuss their significance as informal reflections seeking to reach Western audiences and draw them into a radical milieu supporting Islamist militancy. We argue that these accounts are important for three reasons: they highlight the role of informal communication in legitimising and promoting terrorism; they illustrate how such communication contributes to notions of a jihadi community that combines the virtual and physical, where real experiences imbue online outreach efforts with credibility; and they constitute innovative attempts at bridging cultural domains, linking the austere and heavily theological representation of ISIS with ironic, often humorous messaging designed to appeal to Westernised youths.