ISIS Messaging Not All About Social Media
Amid speculation that ISIS became notorious because of social media, the United States of America today addressed the issue by countering this wrong notion by revealing the myths of ISIS in the information space.
In his remarks on “Waging a Digital Counterinsurgency” in London, Under Secretary Richard Stengel for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs said ISIS messaging is not all about social media.
“Social media is in some ways the tip of the iceberg.” – Mr. Stengel
He added that social media doesn’t count for anything with what ISIS is doing. In fact, there are myths about ISIS in the information space.
Here Are Some of the Myths
According to Mr. Stengel, it is not true at all that ISIS is winning. In fact, their popularity in Muslim countries is in the single digits. In many Muslim countries, it is 2 or 3 percent.
“When you ask people in Muslim countries, “Do you approve of their methods, it goes down to less than 1 percent.” – Mr. Stengel
He added that ISIS is not winning in any kind of mass way. Instead, the terrorist group is a niche organization that became a global brand in a marketing perspective.
The Second myth is that the ISIS social media message is so fiendishly sophisticated that they are taking otherwise nice young Muslim boys and girls, who would be otherwise living with their parents, and getting them to go and chop heads off in Iraq and Syria. This is absolutely false as stated by Mr. Stengel.
“They are exploiting a vast market of grievance, of unhappiness, of unemployment, of lack of meaning.” – Mr. Stengel
In addition, ISIS is not creating a market, they’re exploiting a market.
In fact, Mr. Stengel pointed out that there are many very serious problems in the Muslim world, in the Arab world that they’re exploiting, and that is why they have had some leverage there.
The last myth is that the ISIS messages are dark and negative. The truth is, ISIS messages are positive.
ISIS messaging includes: “Come to the caliphate. It’s every Muslim’s responsibility to come to the caliphate. That’s what the prophet said.”
“They’re exploiting the fact that people feel insecure about their sense of themselves as Muslim men and women.” – Mr. Stengel
In reality, the terrorist group is painting this picture that one will achieve bliss and one will achieve happiness.
It is false.
ISIS Mission to Launch Terror Around the Globe
The rebel fighters belong to the jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham.
Here Are Some of the Myths:
ISIS is composed largely of non-Syrian fighters and is believed to be made up of tens of thousands of fighters in Syria. The group gets its funding from oil revenue and wealthy donors in the Arab Gulf states.
In August 2014, Assyrians in the US reported that ISIS was killing their families and friends in Iraq. WGN TV in Chicago reported that “The largest group of Iraqi Christians outside of Iraq lives in Chicago.”