islamic state of iraq and syria » ADL Blogs
Posts Tagged ‘islamic state of iraq and syria’
November 21, 2014

ISIS Supporters Exploit Mixlr To Broadcast Extremism

Terrorist sympathizers are exploiting the website and application Mixlr to broadcast and discuss their extremist views online. Their use of Mixlr parallels previous efforts by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and its supporters to find and utilize new online platforms for spreading their propaganda.mixlr-isis

Mixlr is a platform that enables users to broadcast live audio “to the world” and to “chat, engage and interact with your listeners in real time.” Mixlr is available online and for smartphones. Users can also log in via Facebook and Twitter.

Supporters of the ISIS have created at least two pages on Mixlr for broadcasting and discussing pro-ISIS material.

The primary account is called Khilafah (Arabic for Caliphate). The station sometimes broadcasts multiple times per day and has a considerable following: The account began broadcasting on October 19, 2014, and had garnered 44,548 “total listens” as of November 20, 2014. Broadcasts cover a variety of ISIS related topics including news updates on ISIS and reports from ISIS supporters around the world.

The Khilafah account has 665 followers who regularly converse on the site during broadcasts. Although much of the chat is mundane (requests to fix the sound quality, for example), some comments demonstrate the users’ extremism. A conversation on November 21, for example, celebrated ISIS’s alleged takeover of the Iraqi city of Ramadi with one commenter writing, “They are driven to the death…we will feed the faith with the blood of their veins.”

This account also has Pro membership status on Mixlr, which enables it to broadcast for an unlimited number of hours per week. This is a paid membership.

The secondary pro-ISIS page, AL7AQ, has only 134 followers, and is likely designed to replace the Khilafah page if it is shut down. That said, there has been some conversation on the AL7AQ page as well.

The pages have an associated Twitter feed that announces upcoming broadcasts and archives previous ones and promotes videos on YouTube that explain how to access the broadcast content. As of November 20, 2014, the Twitter feed had 2,393 followers, most of whom are apparently ISIS supporters based on their comments and account pictures.

The same broadcasts are also available on Paltalk, a program that enables video, voice, and group chats. Paltalk has been exploited by extremists in other instances as well. The Authentic Tauheed Paltalk channel, for example, broadcasts extremist and pro-ISIS messages by radical cleric Abdullah al-Faisal.

In the past, ISIS and its supporters have attempted to use alternative social media sites including Friendica, Diaspora and Quitter in order to keep their information online as their accounts were shut down by Facebook and Twitter. Friendica, Diaspora and Quitter have removed all pro-ISIS pages from their sites, and Twitter and Facebook regularly delete accounts that promote ISIS messages.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

November 19, 2014

Recent Arrest Highlights ISIS Recruitment of Women

The recent arrest of a Virginia woman on charges related to her support for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) highlights the growing phenomenon of female members and supporters of ISIS – a trend linked to ISIS propaganda and recruitment efforts aimed directly at women.

ADL documented eight female U.S. citizens and permanent residents who have been suspected of involvement with terrorist groups in 2014 (only four were arrested; the others were minors).  This is a sharp uptick: ADL documented only 12 female U.S. citizens and permanent residents arrested on terror charges between 2002 and 2013.

Six of the women believed to have engaged in terrorist activity 2014 are accused of involvement with ISIS. Estimates indicate that about 10% of the group’s Western recruits are female.

Heather Elizabeth Coffman, the most recent woman arrested in connection with her support for ISIS, had allegedly maintained several Facebook accounts on which she posted pro-ISIS messages and propaganda. Coffman claimed that she could facilitate travel to join ISIS for potential recruits, offering to connect them with terrorists abroad. She denied these activities in an interview with law enforcement and is charged with lying to federal agents about her involvement with ISIS.

ISIS messaging to women emphasizes their potential roles as the wives of fighters and mothers to the next generation of extremists. The terrorist organization has even established media wings aimed at women.

isis-al-zora-foundation

Poster announcing the creation of Al Zora Foundation

One such media outlet, Al Zora Foundation, publishes recipes and first aid suggestions together with posters of women in burkas declaring allegiance to ISIS. A recipe for dates with millet, for example, is provided as a “fast mild appetizer eaten with coffee that provides food for the muhajideen (fighters)…they are high in calories and provide the Mujahideen energy and strength.”

Al Zora has also provided advice to women seeking to travel to join ISIS. “How many female Muslims are distinguished from all female Muslims where her concern…and her life aspiration is the explosive belt?” asks one memo, followed by advice for these women to learn first aid, sewing, and cooking, and to participate in exercise and weapons training, as well as extra prayers and supplications that they can use to aid the fighters and teach other women upon their arrival in Syria. “Imagine with me, oh sister,” it states in the section on sewing, “if a mujaheed, a brother to you in Allah, is martyred and his jihadi clothes that he wore and in which he walked, trained, waged jihad, and afflicted the enemy of Allah, were made by your hands.”

isis-khansa-media

A Khansa media poster announcing a new series of posters for female ISIS supporters

Another media outlet, Khansa Media, releases posters and banners with ISIS propaganda statements set alongside flowers and pink backgrounds. It has recently introduced a series of posters proclaiming the “virtues of women.” A video announcing the relaunch of Khansa media this September stated, “We send our message to [Iraqi Prime Minister] al-Maliki and his army that we are ready for him, and we will remain as assets and support for our husbands and our children,” followed by clips depicting women training with weapons.

Both Khansa media and Al Zora also regularly repost and retweet propaganda from ISIS’s primary media outlets. Sometimes they also add their logos to the corners of posters praising dead fighters and the glories of battle.

Multiple female supporters of ISIS also engage with the group’s content on social media, including Facebook, Twitter, and Ask.FM. These supporters post typical ISIS propaganda about fighting and beheadings alongside statements about modesty and extremist Islam. They emphasize their children (often their Twitter handles begin with the word “umm” which means ‘mother of’ followed by a child’s name) and everyday life, while providing tips to potential recruits and actively encouraging others to travel to Syria and Iraq to join the terrorist group.

Women engaging with terrorist groups is not a new phenomenon, nor is it ISIS specific. Two of the women arrested in 2014 who were not involved with ISIS are accused of supporting Al Shabaab, the Somali Al Qaeda affiliate. In previous years, women have been arrested for causes as diverse as attempting to establish a terror cell abroad to sending funds and aid to various terror groups to attempting to kill U.S. personnel abroad.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

October 28, 2014

Al Qaeda’s New English Magazine Harnesses Anti-Semitism

On October 19, Al Qaeda Central (AQC) released its much vaunted English-language magazine, Resurgence, which harnesses anti-Semitic and anti-Israel sentiment to urge harm against the U.S. and the West.Al Qaeda Resurgence Magazine

Using formats similar to those of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)’s Inspire magazine, Resurgence also advocates for Al Qaeda as the organization faces competition from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The magazine’s cover story, “Besiege Them: Practical Steps Towards the Liberation of Palestine” draws upon the anti-Semitic canard that Jews control international finance. The article argues that the best means to defeat Israel is to divest from “international trade and finance” and revert to the barter system. The article uses the same strategy found in AQAP’s most recent English-language publication, Palestine: Betrayal of the Guilty Conscience, drawing readers’ attention by claiming to be about Israel, but then arguing that the best way to defeat Israel is to hurt the U.S. and the West (in this case economically), furthering Al Qaeda’s primary goals.The use of anti-Semitic themes is common in Al Qaeda and AQAP publications and messaging.

Unlike AQAP’s English language magazines, Resurgence does not provide suggestions for individual attacks in western countries. It does, however, provide a map of U.S. naval and air force bases in the Middle East and suggest attacks against them and against Western ships traveling through strategically vulnerable water channels.

This attack suggestion appears to support a larger goal of the magazine: Defending Al Qaeda and its ideology in the face of increasing opposition from ISIS.  This is evident throughout the magazine; even the introduction states, “Resurgence is a humble effort to promote a correct understanding of Jihad and explain its relevance to contemporary issues facing Muslims” (emphasis added).

Resurgence’s goal of defending AQC is also clear in its profiling of Al Qaeda affiliates throughout the world. In one article on Syria, the magazine calls on Muslims to “participate in the jihad physically” or support it financially and only referencing ISIS in a call to stop infighting between groups.

A featured quote by high-ranking Al Qaeda member Abu Dujana al Pasha states, “We call for a Caliphate based on justice, mutual consultation, harmony and unity; not a ‘Caliphate’ based on oppression, excommunication of Muslims, killing the upholders of Tauheed (monotheism), and sowing discord in the ranks of the Mujahideen.”

Resurgence magazine was released the same day that Tahrek e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP, or the Pakistani Taliban) released its own English-language magazine. Titled Reviving the Caliphate, the magazine highlights faultlines between pro and anti-ISIS factions of the TTP. Interestingly, it incorporates images taken directly from ISIS propaganda publications and calls for revival of a Caliphate, but does not cite ISIS by name. Reviving the Caliphate also attempts to appeal to Western audiences by highlighting foreign fighters involved in the TTP.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,