No one knows where she is — or, in truth, exactly who she is.
But even as Daesh disintegrates, the poetry and essays of the woman who calls herself “Ahlam Al-Nasr” remain a key inspiration tempting youth to the militant cause.
Al-Nasr is exposed today as a Preacher of Hate, the latest in the Arab News series on extremists and their malign influence on those who follow them.
Thought to be the granddaughter of a Syrian cleric, Al-Nasr exploited Arabs’ traditional love of poetry by using it to spread Daesh propaganda, and incite Muslims across the world to kill and burn the “enemies of Islam.”
Her book, “The Blaze of Truth,” contains a collection of 107 poems praising Daesh’s goal and supporting the militants’ “journey.”
“Al-Nasr’s most powerful and enduring poems are her simple clipped compositions that are ideal for conversion into nashids (anthems),” Dr. Elisabeth Kendall, senior research fellow in Arabic and Islamic Studies at Pembroke College Oxford, told Arab News.
“Set to noninstrumental music and sometimes with violent video footage, their catchy sing-along rhythms can appeal to aspiring Daesh fighters in the West even if their Arabic is weak.”
Analyst Peter Welby writes in Arab News today: “Exposing propagandists such as Al-Nasr as the hate preachers they are is important to understand the poison of jihadi thinking, which pollutes our world and threatens our future.”