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As ISIS Gets Squeezed In Syria And Iraq, It's Using Music As A Weapon

The Islamic State is losing territory in Iraq and Syria but is trying to keep its supporters' spirits up through song. Its newest release, "My State Remains," reveals an organization down but not out.
Iraqi government forces flash a victory sign while holding an upside-down Islamic State flag in western Mosul on June 9. As ISIS loses territory, it's still exhorting its supporters to keep fighting. / MOHAMED EL-SHAHED / Getty Images

Three years ago, the Islamic State overran large swaths of Iraq and Syria, and soon declared a caliphate that straddled the border between the two countries. Today, the group's physical caliphate is declining — and the group is preparing its base of fighters for a future under siege.

One of the ways it is doing that is through its musical propaganda.

In the most austere interpretations of Islam, musical instruments are prohibited. But the a cappella hymn, nasheed in Arabic, is permissible. The Islamic State has used nasheeds to spread its message since its founding, disseminating battle hymns online through

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