Three teenage girls from Denver were recently detained in Frankfurt on their way to Syria. Their parents alerted the police of their absence, after they found a substantial amount of cash and passports missing from their homes. U.S. authorities were able to track them down and in conjunction with German police they were sent back to the United States. It is clear that their intention was to reach Syria and join ISIS. ISIS propaganda allegedly convinced them to come to Syria, promising husbands, homes and security. Within the article, Mia Bloom, a security studies professor described it as, “Disney-like versions of what it is like to live in the caliphate.” The girls were of Somalis and Sudanese descent, countries where the majority adheres to Islam; however it was unclear if the girls themselves were Muslim.
ISIS recruitment of westerners has become quite common through their extensive use of social media. There have been numerous cases of young westerners attempting to join ISIS or plan ISIS sponsored terrorist attacks. Recently, a young woman in Denver attempted to join ISIS in Syria, to marry a member of ISIS she had met online. The use of social media allows for quick and efficient dissemination of propaganda, used to convert and encourage religious radicalism. Not only is the propaganda used to recruit but also to insight fear and terror. It fulfills nearly every aspect discussed in class to define propaganda. It is organized, uses specific communication methods, religious myth and creates and maintains a religious movement.
I really think it is despicable that much of the propaganda is aimed at youth. At an impressionable and vulnerable point in their life, youth should not be a target for radicalization. Much like cyber bullying, the use of social media allows terrorists to hide behind the guise of the Internet. Unfortunately, in today’s technological age social media is incredibly accessible and often poorly regulated and monitored. Our youth must be protected from radicalization and the FBI works with local Muslim communities to identify young people at risk for radicalization.
The threat of ISIS propaganda has become palpable with the recent attacks in Canada. Attacks occurring on home soil are personal and rock the core of our nation. There were numerous responses on social media to the attacks from ISIS supporters. They mocked the cancellation of hockey games, soldiers being targeted in uniform and the response of politicians. However, there were numerous responses by Canadian politicians stating that Canadians would not be intimidated, opposing parties standing in solidarity. There was an outpouring of support across Canada and the world, as numerous world leaders condemned the heinous crimes committed.
The article can be found here: http://bit.ly/ZQqAj1