ISIS Caliph Admonishes Followers to Tone Down Violent Videos

Seeks to Limit Graphic Videos to Avoid Offending Sensibilities

While violent recruitment videos have long been ISIS’s stock in trade, the group’s leadership is said to be concerned that jihadists trying to one-up each other are taking things too far, and have issued an edict admonishing fighters to tone things done to “respect the sensitivities” of viewers.

The edict came to the ISIS media offices by way of Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and featured some specific limits, including telling them to stop showing full beheadings, and simply limit the video to showing the slitting of the throat and the severed head after.

ISIS sources are said to have been particularly concerned that the videos are too scary for children to watch, and risks alienating them from a future generation of recruits. At the same time, some ISIS members are opposing the ban, saying the videos are meant to intimidate enemies.

The timing of the edict is unclear, so it is not known if recent beheading videos were done in violation of the rule, or were simply the impetus for the imposition of the rule in the first place.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.