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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 5, 2013 0

Hezbollah Video Games Targeting Youth Promote War Against Israel

Hezbol­lah has launched a web­site for chil­dren “ages 11 and above” fea­tur­ing games that sim­u­late Hezbol­lah mis­sions against Israel from the ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions per­spec­tive dat­ing back to 1982.hezbollah-video-game-adl

Play­ers can take part in sim­u­lated mis­sions from 1982, 1986, 1996, 1999 and 2000. The web­site says that “The games…are not ran­dom. Their goals are to strengthen the cul­ture of resistance.”

Each game is made up of three lev­els requir­ing play­ers to shoot with period-appropriate weapons rang­ing from machine guns to Katyusha rock­ets to tanks. Play­ers also under­take other actions such as fig­ur­ing out codes to dis­able radar and advanc­ing on tar­gets in the face of oppos­ing fire.

The web­site, launched in Novem­ber, also fea­tures videos pro­duced by Hezbollah’s satel­lite tele­vi­sion sta­tion Al Manar. The videos pro­vide play­ers with Hezbollah’s nar­ra­tives on the conflicts.

  • In the 1986 game, play­ers advance on a for­ti­fied hill to an Israeli out­post using a vari­ety of weapons until they are able to kill all the Israeli sol­diers, take con­trol of the out­post and seize ammu­ni­tion and equipment.
  • In the 1999 game, play­ers must first dis­able mon­i­tor­ing equip­ment before they can explode a road­side bomb to destroy a con­voy trans­port­ing Israeli Gen­eral Erez Gerstein.
  • The 2000 game involves fir­ing rock­ets into Israeli ter­ri­tory to kill Israeli sol­diers on patrol.

Hezbol­lah has pre­vi­ously pro­duced video games; in 2003, it began sell­ing a game called “Spe­cial Force,” which was fol­lowed in 2007 by “Spe­cial Force 2.” Both depicted attacks against Israelis. Hezbol­lah claimed that the orig­i­nal Spe­cial Force sold over 10,000 copies inter­na­tion­ally, in loca­tions rang­ing frospecial-force-hezbollahm Lebanon and Syria to Canada, Ger­many and Australia.

The new games, which are avail­able for free through Hezbollah’s main web­site, had attracted nearly 350 “likes” on an asso­ci­ated Face­book page, pri­mar­ily from Lebanese young adults aged 18–34, with many oth­ers likely play­ing directly on the web­site. The Face­book page was appar­ently removed on Decem­ber 3 or 4 but has since been recreated.

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