- The Washington Times - Monday, August 11, 2014

Islamic State sympathizers need not go any further than Istanbul’s Bagcilar district, where the militant group has a brick-and-mortar clothing store that sells the latest jihadist gear.

The one-room shop, called Islami Giyim, or Islamic Clothing, is located in the heart of the working-class Bagcilar neighborhood, Slate magazine reported.

A rack of men’s clothing ranging from T-shirts to cargo pants is placed in front of the main display window, featuring the Islamic State’s logo.

“The goods on offer target young males with active lifestyles and a tendency toward Islamist insurgency,” Slate’s Joseph Dana reported. “While the cargo pants, made of a dense Carhartt-esque cotton fabric, appeared ready for action in the craggy hills of northern Syria, many of the T-shirts felt like the cheap promotional clothing thrown around during political campaigns in this part of the world.”

The shop’s owner, speaking through a translator, told Mr. Dana that his decision to sell the goods is based simply on demand.

“I am not an ISIS member, nor have I ever been one,” he said, refusing to give his name. “I am responding to a market demand. This is Islamic clothing. What else can I say?”

Slate reports that militants “are expanding their footprint in Turkish society,” citing one German newspaper that claims 10 percent of Islamic State fighters are Turkish.

A top seller at Islami Giyim is a black T-shirt with the logo used widely by Sunni militants that says, “There is no God but Allah.”

“This is Islamic and that is why I carry it here,” the shop owner explained. “For some this brings to mind ISIS and jihad. For me I see the Prophet Muhammad.”

In the Aksaray district, just outside of Sultanahmet, Mr. Dana asked a local restauranteur what he thought of the clothing store.

“They have a lot of support here,” the man replied. “Obviously, we have our own problems [as refugees], but I am sure that ISIS will turn its attention on Istanbul at some point.

“The sad thing is that [the Turkish government] will have no one to blame but themselves if anything happens,” he said quietly.