People Are Remixing ISIS’s “Theme Song” as a Cheeky Form of Protest

By mocking ISIS’ YouTube anthem, Middle Eastern bloggers thumb their noses at the terrorist group

image via youtube screen capture

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (or, as they’re more commonly referred to, ISIS/ISIL) are many things: religious fundamentalists, murderous extremists, and—to the consternation of most—shockingly adept users of social media. Beyond their traditional weaponry, ISIS has developed a sophisticated understanding of how to use platforms like Twitter and YouTube to spread their messages of violent intolerance. But now social media is biting back, with users transforming one of ISIS’ YouTube anthems into something entirely different.

“Saleel Al-Sawarem” (which translates to “The Clanking of the Sharp Swords”) opens with lyrics like: “Clinging of the sharp swords is the anthem for the proud ones. / Fighting is the way for the life to be lived,” and doesn’t get much lighter as it goes on. It’s one of the songs typically heard in ISIS’ propaganda and/or violent execution videos. But, as the Daily Dot’s Tarek Amr reports, the song has recently been adopted by bloggers across the Middle East, particularly in Egypt, as fodder for a number of tongue-in-cheek remixes.

From sinister-looking beheading spoofs:

To suggestive belly dancing:

There’s even a “Chipmunk” version:

Not that every remix of the song is necessarily a deliberate theological-political protest against ISIS, but, as Amr points out, the cumulative effect is one of fearless defiance in the face of religious extremism. YouTube mockery is far from a concrete solution to ISIS’ ongoing acts of violence, but, in a small, satisfying way, by turning Saleel Al-Sawarem into something altogether silly, the remix masters behind these spoofs have demonstrated that when it comes to groups bent on violent religious absolutism, nothing is sacred.


This article was produced in partnership with the United Nations to launch the biggest-ever global conversation on the role of cooperation in building the future we want.

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1848 The Seneca Falls Convention in New York, organized by Elizabeth Lady Stanton and Lucretia Mott, is the first U.S. women's convention to discuss the oppression of women in sociopolitical, economic, and religious life.

1893 New Zealand becomes the first self-governing nation to grant national voting rights to women.

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1975 The first World Conference on Women is held in Mexico, where a 10-year World Plan of Action for the Advancement of Women is formed. The first International Women's Day is commemorated by the UN in the same year.

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via WFMZ / YouTube

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