Edited by Encarnación Hidalgo-Tenorio and Juan L. Castro
[Pragmatics and Society 13:3] 2022
► pp. 477–500
The ideological discourse of Jihadist groups like Al Qaeda or Islamic State is largely built on the use of persuasive techniques which act as instruments for radicalisation and recruitment, and more generally, “convince the audience of the veracity of the doctrine presented” (Adam 2017: 5). This article explores the use of metaphor as an important rhetorical and ideological dimension to jihadist texts. Current findings suggest that religious writings often make use of rich conceptual metaphors to convey distinctive ideological perspectives (Prentice, Rayson and Taylor 2012), for instance, the well-known journey conceptual metaphor, with the image schemata of a path, leading towards a better life, reward in an afterlife, moral choice, hope, and a closeness to God (Jäkel 2002). Specifically, the research adopts a Critical Metaphor Analysis framework (Charteris-Black 2004), which combines Corpus Linguistics with Cognitive Linguistics and Critical Discourse Analysis. The data for this study is taken from a collection of jihadist online magazines. The corpus has been compared against the Qur’an in order to ascertain whether jihadist propaganda writers are inspired by conventional religious tropes as a way of giving authority to their doctrines. The results show that religiously inspired concepts do indeed help the writers to anchor their message to a deeply seated and authoritative set of ideologies. At the same time, semantic and pragmatic differences in the use of these metaphors suggest an ability to manipulate pre-existing conceptualisations in order to fulfil the communicative needs of the writers, i.e. to embody the principles of jihadism. The findings presented here focus on the following domains: religion as a journey; light as good; heat as fighting; and spirituality as nature.