Brothers! From the Levant I send you greetings, and convey to you the blessings of Allah against the infidel, the invader, and the apostate. I also bring you stamps, as requested, and some of that berry-flavored sparkling water Riad really likes. Riad, this was not easy to find, and you can reimburse us anytime for this and for the tarp we bought you last month. We are not nagging you about this we are just saying is all.
This is, we need hardly remind you, a crucial time for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. We have taken critical losses in both Syria and Iraq; the American president is dragging us on the television; our dues campaign in in a shambles; and no one has yet confessed to breaking the sprinkler. Our last fundraising efforts were catastrophic, not only because certain people no names no pack drill are unable to recall the hadith against getting high on one’s own supply, but because certain other people did not bother to find out whether the chocolate bars were suitable to this climate. We realize that no one wants to accept the blame for this but we have been completely unable to capitalize on the hundreds of puddles of peanut-flavored goo that are sitting in the warehouse in Damascus.
Normally this is the time at which we do our self-evaluations and check in on our recent successes, but we are deeply ashamed to report that there are none to be voiced. The prophet Muhammed, praise be unto him, would surely pluck at our beards, poke us in the eyes, and grasp our noses and slap them as in the YouTubes that Rifat likes, were he to learn of our incompetence. Our bombings are ill-timed, our military strikes are chaotic and ineffective, our podcast has dropped out of the iTunes Top 20 in the Murderous Fanatic (Instructional) category, and somehow we spent $3,800 from our already depleted budget on a bumper car. Once again, we do not wish to single out any of the brotherhood, but maybe someone in charge of the eBay does not speak English as well as they implied.
So instead, we will focus on our areas of greatest need, and that means, obviously, that we will begin with the vacant position of Chief Beheading Officer. Ever since Nazim the Mighty stepped down–and let us, in the spirit of kindness and gratitude for so many years of past service, remind our younger brothers to stop referring to him in e-mails as Nazim the Arthritic — our work in the vital area of televised decapitation has been, frankly, disgraceful. In terms of technical prowess, religious fervor, and ideological zeal, we haven’t seen a decent head removal since back in August when we captured that French guy who got lost in Homs doing parkour. And lest we hear any snickering from the Audio-Visual Caliphate, we must also say that the cinematography of our filmed executions has suffered measurably as well, and while the decision to switch to T-Mobile may have saved us a few pennies, it has done nothing for our upload times or our picture quality.
This brings us to public relations. We all know that our ability to strike fear into the hearts of our enemies relies far less on force of arms and far more on the power of our message, and that message is conveyed through the media. Every day, it seems, the organ of the Great Satan known as the New York Times features another white supremacist on its editorial page. What was the last time we had one of our own published in the Gray Lady? It was in October, my brothers, and that was a restaurant review. And if we have lost America, Europe shall not be far behind; I notice that our newsletter in the Netherlands has degenerated into frankly incomprehensible tirades against the value-added tax, whatever that is, and while we all know Inaam is doing his best under difficult circumstances to host our pirate radio program in the United Kingdom, we cannot help but observe that it contains substantially more references to Star Trek than we feel is absolutely necessary to convey our message of militant Salafism.
My brothers, this brings us no joy. Do we wish we had great victories against the Western imperialists to boast of? Do we wish we could empty before your eyes a sack containing the severed heads of Zionist filth? Do we wish that we could fulfill Fathallah’s repeated requests for new rocket launchers, a sleeper agent in the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and one of those things where you make a coffee with pods? But instead we find ourselves wondering why no one has yet repaired our bomb-making plant outside of Al-Rumaythah, why our Dank Meme Stash produces nothing but moony glamour shots of Rola Bahnam, and why our primary Twitter account foregoes the dissemination of propaganda in exchange for getting into constant heated arguments with someone named Jeet Heer. We know that we have come to you and asked you to be creative in our endeavors to revivify the Islamic State in our time, but the “Legion of Super ISIS” comic has been expensive and time-consuming to little effect, and whoever had the idea to hire this Greg Land person to illustrate it should strongly consider if this is truly the path Allah has set for him in life.
There was a time, o brave fighters of Iraq and Syria, when the mere mention of our name was enough to strike fear into infidel hearts. There was a time — and no, it was not so long ago — when our flag would make our enemies blanch, when the landscape was dotted with the bodies of all who opposed us, and when panicky lawmakers in Nebraska would pass meaningless laws against us instituting Sharia law in their communities even though there were no Arabs living within a two-hundred-mile radius of their districts. We believe that we can be that strong again, with your cooperation and dedication. Remember: There is no “I” in “ISIL”. Yes, Ali, we know there are two. We are trying to make a point here.