23:47 GMT12 July 2020
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    ISIL Recruits Young Europeans (36)
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    From polished, professional-looking news services, the kidnapping of child suicide bombers to on-the-street beard patrols, the Islamic State has shown they are using a variety of means to try and attract more recruits and control the lives of those living under the Caliphate.

     As ISIL militia continue fighting against government forces and rebel groups in Syria and Iraq, the terrorist group's hierarchy has ramped up its recruitment efforts in Europe and the Middle East through a combination of propaganda, power and persecution.

    In a revamp of previous propaganda attempts, ISIL officials have tweaked their efforts to attract would-be western jihadists through the use of media-savvy, professional-sounding news broadcasts.

    ISIL's Al-Bayan radio, which features smooth media broadcasts in various languages, including English, is one such measure used to spread the group's extremist rhetoric to an audience outside of the Middle East.

    The professional nature of the production, which contains the message "we thank our listeners for tuning in" almost resembles western-style news, and is quite different to previous propaganda attempts, such as the release of grainy videos containing aggressive commentary and the gruesome footage of executions.

    Experts say that efforts to produce a different type of propaganda is down to ISIL's attempts to appeal to a wider audience in the West, in the hope of attracting more jihadists.

    Child Suicide Bombers

    Despite the attention paid to recruiting young Westerners, ISIL has also used other forces to further boost their support and increase their number of recruiters in the Middle East.

    Iraqi officials have grown concerned at the number of children that ISIL forces have kidnapped, with reports that up to 500 abducted youths are being trained by jihadists to be used as suicide bombers or child soldiers.

    Farhan Mohammed, from Anbar's provincial council, told Turkey's Anadolu Agency that many young boys had been kidnapped from various towns and taken into ISIL training camps.

    "Daesh [ISIL] has kidnapped at least 400 children in the western province of Anbar, and taken them to their bases in Iraq, and Syria," he said.

    Meanwhile, lieutenant General Kasim al-Saidi, the chief of police in Diyala province in Iraq, told Anadolu that another 100 young children, known as "cubs of the Caliphate", were recruited for suicide bombing attempts.

    "Daesh has recruited about 100 children under the age of 16," he said.

    "They are going to brainwash these kids into being suicide bombers."

    These latest reports follow a UN report released earlier this year that found ISIL had actively "established training camps to recruit children into armed roles under the guise of education."

    "At the camps, the children recruited received weapons training and religious education," the report stated. 

    "The existence of such camps seems to indicate that ISIL systematically provides weapons training for children.

    "Subsequently, they were deployed in active combat during military operations, including suicide-bombing missions."

    The Beard Patrol 

    While there are attempts to attract more people to the jihadist cause, ISIL figures have also developed other ways to try and control the lives of those living within the group's territory.

    Islamic State officials have reportedly handed out leaflets in the group's stronghold of Mosul informing people that as of June, full beards had become compulsory and shaving illegal, and punishable with jail.

    "What hairdressers do today, shaving and trimming men's beards, is an accessory to sin," the leaflets read, according to AFP.

    "Thanks to our brothers from the Islamic police, an order has been issued for the shaving of beards to be banned and violators to be detained," the leaflets state.

    On top of the leaflets, impending 'beard patrols' have left many men who can't grow beards fearing for their lives given the violent and oppressive nature of ISIL's regime.

    Cashing In on Antiquities

    While there has been outrage at the release of footage purporting to show ISIL fighters destroying ancient artifacts in the Middle East, there have also been reports that the group may be selling some of the antiques on the black market as a way of securing of alternative sources of funding.

    In February US authorities estimated that the group was generating millions of dollars per month through robbing, looting and extorting money from people, with archaeological experts now suggesting the group may be cashing in on the sale of many of the Middle East's ancient artifacts.

    Lebanese archaeologist Joanne Farchakh said that ISIL's own reporting of fighters destroying ancient sites in Syria and Iraq could all be part of a plan to cover up the sale and pillaging of antiquities over the black market.

    "The more antiquities appear threatened with extinction, the more the mafias can charge for their booty," Farchakh told The Independent.    

    ISIL Recruits Young Europeans (36)


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    Middle East, Daesh, suicide attack, terrorist, antique, artifacts, kidnapping, radicalization, children, war, foreign recruits, recruitment, propaganda, caliphate, Islamic extremism, Jihadists, West, Syria, Iraq
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