ISIS is battling a brand new enemy in Libya: Music

ISIS is battling a brand new enemy in Libya: Music

British Special Forces have discovered that they can upset ISIS by playing music from Bollywood over loudspeakers.

A Bollywood dance show. (Image via Wikipedia entry on Bollywood, CC 2.0)

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina, June 2, 2016 – In its own way this ISIS story is rather humorous. After all these years of fighting the war on terror, British special forces have found a new way to drive extremists crazy…music.

And not just any music. It’s Bollywood music from northern India. Who’d a thunk it?

After all the lives that have been lost, the blood that has been spilled, the money that has been spent, it turns out that “Hindi music” from Bollywood is like scraping fingernails on a blackboard for Islamic State warriors.

The British soldiers “discovered” their new battle strategy after a Pakistani-born intelligence officer informed them that Bollywood music would send ISIS fighters into a frenzy.

It stands to reason. Islam is, for the most part, a religion devoid of music, except, of course, for the regular calls to prayer that emanate from minarets five times each day. For the record, the lack of music in a culture is another reason to understand the way in which Islamists think.

The music of one culture may be irritating to another. But even Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy had their own way of expressing themselves through song. In fact, sometimes music from your own country can get locked inside your head unable to break free. Just ask anyone who has ever been stuck in the “It’s a Small World” ride at Walt Disney World and later found themselves hearing that song loop endlessly through his or her brain.

In their own way, Bollywood songs are a bit like water boarding without the water for adherents to radical Islam. Apparently this music is torturous for ISIS fighters to listen to because it is regarded as frivolous and an insult to their militant way of thinking.

Then again, isn’t anything that is un-Islamic “frivolous” and “offensive” to a society that has not smiled or laughed in fourteen centuries?

According to reports from Sirte, Libya where ISIS has imposed Sharia law, one of the British teams, aided by Libyan troops, parked two cars near a checkpoint and blasted Bollywood music through loudspeakers using remote control at dawn on one recent morning.

Not only does the music upset the Islamic State’s fighters, it is also taking a psychological toll on them by showing defiance by locals of the ISIS regime.

Another unintended consequence of the musical tactic has opened a new source of intelligence gathering regarding troop strength in the area by measuring the ISIS response time in reaching the source of the music as well as the location of the troops which are sent to stop the noise.

A senior source who was quoted in a story by the United Kingdom’s daily paper “The Mirror” said, “We needed to unnerve militants and at the same time use some sort of passive measure to gauge their force strength in the area we are working and it went well.”

The coastal town of Sirte has been held by Islamic State insurgents for nearly two years.

In 1697, William Congreve wrote in “The Morning Bride” that “Music has charms to soothe a savage breast.” The well-known phrase is often erroneously attributed to William Shakespeare and the word “beast” is also frequently used instead of “breast.”

Either way, be it “beast” or “breast,” the British special forces seem to have found a new method for— battling their Islamic enemies. And, so far at least, ISIS has been anything but “soothed.”


Bob Taylor has been traveling the world for more than 30 years as a writer and award winning television producer focusing on international events, people and cultures around the globe.

Taylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (

Read more of What in the World and Bob Taylor at Communities Digital News

Follow Bob on Twitter @MrPeabod

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