Society Staff Writer | Melanie Foster
Recent videos of journalist, James Foley, Steven Sotloff and British aid worker David Haines, show brutal killings via YouTube in order to gain wide spread attention and threaten Western countries to stay out of their way. While these YouTube accounts were quickly shut down and the videos were deleted, the impact leaves a lasting impression.
The videos were created using professional cameras, scripted words, and even a planned wardrobe. Another tactic used in the videos for mass impact was not showing the actual beheading, only the before and after, with hopes that more people would share it around the Internet. These media tactics demonstrate the terrorist group’s knowledge and sophisticated use of technology to spread their message.
Along with YouTube, ISIS has taken to Twitter and other sites such as Ask.fm, where users can ask other users anonymous inquires. Questions regarding Isis were focused on visas, money, avoiding suspicion at security checkpoints and even “should I bring a toothbrush when I join ISIS?” While each account is short lived before it is taken down, new Twitter pages,and Ask.fm’s continue to pop up. These seemingly benign weapons target the younger generation in a form they are familiar with, drawing in as many as 2,000 Westerners, including an estimate of 100 Americans.
The ISIS message is to establish and expand a caliphate, an Islamic State led by a supreme leader known as a “caliph.” They hope to create a unified Muslim state run according to a strict interpretation of Islamic law. While other terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda target attacks on Western soil, ISIS makes a point to have members tear up their passports as a sign of commitment. They threaten America and other countries to keep away from their Middle Eastern base.
While ISIS may stay away from direct attacks on the West, they still cause mass destruction and terror at home, killing and displacing thousands of innocent Syrians and Iraqis, causing thousands of people to walk from Iraq into Syria, over a mountain, and then back into a safe part of Iraq.
ISIS is just a mile away while civilians live a normal life in the safe city of Erbil. Even when, and if, ISIS leaves an area they are sure to take control of the land. Regardless of whether you live in a hut in Iraq or a dorm in Athens, Ohio, a sophisticated ISIS is using relatable technology to reach you and spread panic and terror.