Recruiting and Grooming Budding Terrorists Online
ISIS, the radical Muslim terrorist group also known as the Islamic State, is recruiting vulnerable youth worldwide using social media. Boys and girls ranging in age from 13 to their early 20s are being deceived into leaving their homes in the U.S. and Western Europe to travel to the Iraq and Syria for indoctrination into the group’s radical theology and training in their terrorist tactics. It is estimated that more than 20,000 foreign fighters – including more than 150 Americans – have been successfully recruited so far with hundreds more being drawn in every month.
Most of the young men become cannon fodder on the front lines of the conflicts in Syria and Iraq or suicide bombers in cities across the Middle East and Europe. The girls become rape victims or, if they’re lucky, cooks, maids and servants to soldiers and leaders. Few of these victims had any idea what they were getting themselves into because their online recruiters were so skillful in grooming and ingratiating them over time using social platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
Turning ISIS’ Own Game Against Them
While multiple high-level international conferences have been held – and numerous whitepapers have been published – discussing how best to address the problem, governments, NGOs and think tanks are virtually powerless to combat online terrorist recruiting efforts head-on where they are occurring – on social media.
ISIS’ online recruiting efforts can only be defeated by the very people they are trying to recruit – progressive Western Muslims.
That realization led one American Muslim (who wishes to remain anonymous) to use one of ISIS’ most effective online recruiting tools – video – against them. Risking his own safety and at considerable personal expense, he is writing and producing a series of video game-like YouTube videos that expose the terrorist group’s nefarious motives and methods.
His “State Of Doom” animated video series uses the look and feel of a videogame to explain to teenagers how recent events in the Middle East gave rise to ISIS and how the ISIS leader known as “Baghdadi” subverts the text of the Quran and the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed to promote hatred, intolerance and violence on a global scale.
State Of Doom
The State Of Doom video series, from Faith In Humanity Productions, walks the viewer through the rise of the Islamic State and the self-proclamation of Baghdadi as a Caliph – a person considered a leader of the entire Muslim community. Having anointed himself Caliph and gathered an area of land under his control to be his Caliphate, the videos then show Baghdadi setting about to recruit vulnerable young people across the Middle East, Europe and the U.S. to join his army.
Effort Gaining Widespread Traction Within Muslim Community
Having screened the first video segment to a wide variety of progressive Western Muslims – who are both targets of Baghdadi’s recruiting efforts and his murderous scorn – the producer has received widespread support for his efforts.
“This film shows the reality of ISIS,” said Imam Mohamed Magid of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society in Sterling, Virginia. “It shows that ISIS is a cult manipulating religion for its own benefit.” The Imam’s own efforts to stop the recruiting of young people on an individual level was the basis of a 2015 feature article in The New York Times.
Asked why he has taken on this difficult, risky and expensive task, the producer answers, “As an American my goal is to protect my homeland and the kids living in the Western world. If I can prevent one child from joining ISIS I will have succeeded.”
First Video in Series “The Thief of Baghdad” Being Released Today
The first two videos in the series have completed production and the first is being released on YouTube, Vimeo, Twitter and Facebook June 9, 2016. The producer is hoping that the video will gain traction among progressive Muslims and be the basis for a growing online community committed to stopping ISIS’ social media recruiting efforts by exposing their message as fraudulent.
For Further Information
While the producer wishes to remain anonymous he is available for interviews – provided that his identity and likeness are concealed. Interview requests should be sent via email at this link or through the press contact information below.
The State Of Doom, Episode 1: The Thief of Baghdad
On YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKbA0Ml8zeQ
On Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/169896673