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May 13, 2016 0

New ISIS App One of Many Efforts to Indoctrinate Children

A screenshot from the ISIS app with the letter Ba for Bunduqiya, meaning rifle

A screen­shot from the ISIS app with the let­ter Ba for Bun­duqiya, mean­ing rifle

ISIS has released a mobile app designed to teach young chil­dren the Ara­bic alpha­bet while simul­ta­ne­ously indoc­tri­nat­ing them with mil­i­tant ide­ol­ogy. The app was shared via ISIS chan­nels on the chat appli­ca­tion Telegram and made avail­able on file shar­ing sites, many of which have since deleted the link.

Fea­tur­ing brightly col­ored, cheer­ful graph­ics, the appof­fers edu­ca­tional con­tent for learn­ing let­ters, such as songs designed for enabling mem­o­riza­tion. How­ever, the songs are filled with extrem­ist rhetoric, and words that begin with the let­ters shown include gun, tank, rocket and bullet.

This is not the first instance of ISIS pro­pa­ganda fea­tur­ing or tar­get­ing chil­dren. The group has released mul­ti­ple videos con­tain­ing acts of vio­lence com­mit­ted or incited by chil­dren as young as tod­dlers, as well as videos fea­tur­ing chil­dren engaged in com­bat train­ing. Many of the group’s more pos­i­tively themed videos, designed to sug­gest that ISIS is cre­at­ing a utopian com­mu­nity, have shown chil­dren play­ing, singing, and enjoy­ing ice cream and other treats. ISIS pro­pa­ganda videos are not only exported to extrem­ists out­side ISIS ter­ri­tory but also are reg­u­larly broad­cast inside areas the group con­trols. Reports have indi­cated that chil­dren within ISIS ter­ri­tory are reg­u­larly forced to watch the vio­lent pro­pa­ganda videos.

A young child in an ISIS propaganda video

A young child in an ISIS pro­pa­ganda video

But ISIS is not the only ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion to directly tar­get chil­dren. ADL has doc­u­mented sev­eral mil­i­tant online video games cre­ated for chil­dren by Hezbol­lah, which Hezbol­lah claimed were designed “to strengthen the cul­ture of resis­tance” – mean­ing, to indoc­tri­nate children.

ISIS, Hezbol­lah and other ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions have also cre­ated other mobile apps aimed at adult audi­ences, with the goal of spread­ing their pro­pa­ganda on as many plat­forms as

Children eating ice cream in an ISIS propaganda video

Chil­dren eat­ing ice cream in an ISIS pro­pa­ganda video

pos­si­ble. ADL has just exposed a new app cre­ated to broad­cast Hezbollah’s al-Manar news out­let, which was made avail­able for down­load on iTunes.ISIS has also cre­ated sev­eral iter­a­tions of news apps. Cur­rently active chan­nels are fea­tured on the mobile chat app Telegram and con­tain backup mech­a­nisms so that if the ini­tial chan­nel is shut down, users are auto­mat­i­cally added to a newly cre­ated chan­nel and can con­tinue receiv­ing ISIS news and pro­pa­ganda directly onto their mobile phones.

Children in military training in an ISIS propaganda video

Chil­dren in mil­i­tary train­ing in an ISIS pro­pa­ganda video

Fur­ther­more, ISIS’s sleek and sophis­ti­cated pro­pa­ganda is reg­u­larly aimed at audi­ences not con­sid­ered tra­di­tional demo­graph­ics for extrem­ist recruit­ment. For exam­ple, the group also has a pro­pa­ganda wing that specif­i­cally tar­gets women and has put sig­nif­i­cant efforts into recruit­ing female members.

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December 20, 2013 3

Pennsylvania White Supremacist Loses Fifth Child To State

Just days after the Novem­ber 11 birth, Penn­syl­va­nia author­i­ties took into cus­tody the new­born child of white suprema­cist Isidore Heath Camp­bell and his fiancée Bethanie Rose Zito, both of Ban­gor. The infant, named Eva Braun after the mis­tress and even­tual wife of Adolf Hitler, is the most recent child of Campbell’s to be taken away by fam­ily ser­vice agen­cies in Penn­syl­va­nia and New Jersey.heath-campbell-NSM-rally

Camp­bell, a heav­ily tat­tooed neo-Nazi with a pen­chant for wear­ing Nazi-themed cloth­ing, gained inter­na­tional noto­ri­ety in 2008 after a New Jer­sey gro­cery store refused to per­son­al­ize a birth­day cake for one of his chil­dren, named Adolf Hitler, from his ear­lier mar­riage with Deb­o­rah Lynn Campbell. 

Heath and Deb­o­rah had named their other chil­dren together Joyce­Lynn Aryan Nations (to honor a noto­ri­ous neo-Nazi group), Hon­z­lynn Hin­ler Jean­nie (in an attempt to honor infa­mous Nazi Hein­rich Himm­ler) and Hons Hein­rich (also a nod to Himmler). 

In 2009, New Jer­sey author­i­ties took cus­tody of those chil­dren as a result of alleged evi­dence of abuse or neglect due to prior domes­tic vio­lence as well as a deter­mi­na­tion that the par­ents did not have the psy­cho­log­i­cal capac­ity to prop­erly care for the chil­dren.  Heath Camp­bell has insisted that the chil­dren were taken by the state only because he gave his chil­dren white suprema­cist names. 

Camp­bell, the father of eight chil­dren from four dif­fer­ent moth­ers, does not have cus­tody of any of his chil­dren.  In June 2013 a New Jer­sey judge denied Campbell’s attempt to regain cus­tody of the chil­dren he had with Deb­o­rah.  Camp­bell and Zito appeared at the hear­ing wear­ing Nazi cloth­ing and regalia.

Camp­bell has had the sup­port of some of the local white suprema­cists in Penn­syl­va­nia and New Jer­sey, who have been post­ing updates from him on his fam­ily sit­u­a­tion in which he labeled the author­i­ties’ actions a “kid­nap­ping” and claimed that “they are tak­ing only white chil­dren [and are] now try­ing to clas­sify us as slaves.”  Camp­bell has urged peo­ple to fly Nazi flags and burn “Jew­ish flags” in sup­port of him.

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January 11, 2013 0

The Trouble With Make Me a “Stereotype”

Appli­ca­tions for smart­phones and tablets have become an emerg­ing seg­ment of the online and enter­tain­ment indus­try.  As with videos, blogs and social net­work­ing plat­forms which came before, Apps are now being cre­ated that some con­sider funny, but which  actu­ally cross the line from humor­ous to offen­sive.  Recent exam­ples include two free apps on Google called “Make Me Asian” and “Make Me Indian,” that allow users to edit pho­tos in ways which play on racist stereo­types. Users of the app can darken skin color, change eye shape to an “Asian” slant or add eth­nic acces­sories like an Amer­i­can Indian head­dress.

Young chil­dren often make fun of Asian Amer­i­can class­mates by pulling their eyes to make a slant or play “Indian,” com­plete with head­dress or a “war-cry.” As adults, this is the very kind of think­ing we try to chal­lenge in our chil­dren.  We want them to under­stand and respect dif­fer­ent cul­tures, not belit­tle or ridicule them or make assump­tions about all mem­bers of a group based on com­mon stereo­types.  We teach them that every­one has dif­fer­ent phys­i­cal fea­tures, qual­i­ties and char­ac­ter­is­tics that have noth­ing to do with the groups to which they belong.

Stereo­types make over­sim­pli­fied gen­er­al­iza­tions about peo­ple or groups with­out regard for indi­vid­ual dif­fer­ences. The prob­lem is that these gen­er­al­iza­tions soon become beliefs about groups which form  the build­ing blocks for prej­u­dice and dis­crim­i­na­tion, fea­tures of life that have seri­ous impli­ca­tions for us all.  Apps like “Make Me Asian” and “Make Me Indian” and a score of oth­ers built on this con­cept play on per­ni­cious stereo­types that mar­gin­al­ize indi­vid­u­als and groups. Though the global com­mu­nity is racially and eth­ni­cally diverse, these kinds of apps pro­mote the kind of think­ing that being white is the norm and every­thing else is defined as “other.”

As a soci­ety, we spend much of our time inter­act­ing through our mobile devices, but when we choose so-called enter­tain­ment that rein­forces these kinds of stereo­types, we have to con­sider whether we might be con­tribut­ing to the per­pet­u­a­tion of the inci­vil­ity that lim­its everyone’s opportunities.

The Anti-Defamation League strives to remain vig­i­lant of emerg­ing issues in our dig­i­tal world and com­mu­ni­cates reg­u­larly with many of the major com­pa­nies on issues that are raised by the community.

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