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    Fighters from the Islamic State group parade in Raqqa

    ISIL Propaganda Glamourizes Life in Caliphate to Recruit More Westerners

    © AP Photo / Raqqa Media Center of the Islamic State
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    Violence Erupts as Islamic State Rises (1881)
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    Islamic State (ISIL) terrorist group propaganda tries to depict the life of caliphate as “glamorous” in order to recruit Westerners to join the militants.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Islamic State (ISIL) terrorist group is trying to lure more Westerners by posting pictures and videos of “glamorous” life within the caliphate and prevent those living in the ISIL-occupied areas from fleeing by portraying a “social wellbeing utopia,” recent media studies suggest.

    “There’s a clear trend in the primary branches of ISIL propaganda. One is aimed at intimidating the enemy, another is intended to show off what life is like, so it can be theme parks, hospitals, roadworks,” Charlie Winter, a researcher at Quilliam, a London-based think tank told US online magazine Vocativ.

    On Friday, Vocativ posted a study analyzing 570 posts published on social networking sites by groups loyal to ISIL from January 21 to February 28. The investigation has shown that only two percent of the propaganda products were targeting the West, while 52 percent were broadcasted in Iraq and 40 percent in Syria.

    Of domestic propaganda products, significant portion was devoted to depicting “normal life” activities – such as road-building or harvesting.

    “They’re the first terrorist group that aren’t interested in [just] fighters, they want families to come… they believe they have a state,” Patrick Skinner, director of special projects at The Soufan Group told Vocativ.

    According to a review published by The Independent Friday, pictures showing good food, expensive cars, children playing in the backyards and militants relaxing by the pool or working out in a gym are designed to show potential recruits from the West that by joining ISIL they will not have to leave behind all the aspects of normal life they enjoyed at home.

    Unlike brutal propaganda posts that show executions, the “normal life” pictures and videos are hard to root out soon enough and they end up being seen by more potential ISIL recruits in the West.

    Another trend of western-targeted IS propaganda is romanticizing relations between the militants and Jihadi brides, or depicting women and girls armed with Kalashnikov guns, fighting for IS, so as to create an impression that women in caliphate get to choose their own destiny.

    This contradicts the document “Women in the Islamic State: Manifesto and Case Study” ISIL disseminated earlier this year. The document criticizes concepts of gender equality, emphasizes the role of woman as a wife and mother only and states that girls as young as nine are old enough to marry militants.

    The messages, designed for those living in the ISIL-controlled territories, also could not be further from truth, a US State Department spokesperson told Vocativ. “Glamorous pictures” mask the reality of extreme poverty, disease and inequality of all kinds, he said.

    “Shortages of medication, water, and electricity [in ISIL-controlled territories] have caused the spread of disease… lack of access to clean water has forced many to dig their own wells,” the State Department representative said.

    Islamic State is a Sunni jihadist group that seized vast territories in Iraq and Syria in 2014, proclaiming an Islamic caliphate in the lands fallen under its control.

    Due to the group’s intensive propaganda efforts on social networking websites, aimed especially at targeting young people, ISIL managed to recruit thousands of Westerners join its ranks.

    According to recent estimates by US intelligence officials, some 20,000 foreign fighters including 4,000 people from Western Europe have joined ISIL in the last three years.

    Earlier in March, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said the number of Europeans fighting alongside the ISIL terrorists in Iraq and Syria could reach 10,000 people before the end of 2015.

    A July 2014 public opinion poll conducted in France by ICM Research exclusively for Sputnik News Agency, showed that 26 percent of French youth who participated in the poll expressed some form of support for Islamic State.

    Violence Erupts as Islamic State Rises (1881)


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