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Jihadists Creating Utopia Online To Attract Young Australians

Painting A Picture Of Bliss On Social Media

Isis are selling a dream. A utopian vision communicated via social media to young Australians, and this dream is having a huge impact on the numbers going over to represent the extremist group. There are many Australians taking the plunge and taking arms overseas, and a human rights activist has declared that it is due to this fictional fantasy that Isis offers.
social media isis
Source: voanews.com
Dr Qanta Ahmed, who is currently on a visit in Melbourne, is an outspoken critic of all types of extremism, not just Islamic extremism. After practising medicine in Saudi Arabia for 12 months, she published a book highlighting the misogyny and racism she experienced whilst on her journey.

Two years prior to her Saudi Arabia experience, she visited the North-West Frontier province of Pakistan. Here she encountered boys aged between 10 and 20 who had been radicalised by the Taliban, and they all had a similar story to tell. Ahmed said:

“They all had impoverished backgrounds, they were illiterate, their families had been approached by the Taliban and were coerced into abandoning their children, they were lambs to the slaughter.

But those in Australia, the UK and US, they are not facing crises of having basic needs like food and shelter met, they are not child soldiers suffering human rights abuses, and in many cases their parents have offered them every opportunity.”

She went on to criticise the West by saying: “Those from the West are naive and lack imagination, they are chasing a fictional dream, and they often have barely any knowledge of what Islam is.”

Ahmed made an interesting revelation during her interview by saying that the book aspiring Isis militants is called Islam For Dummies, due to little knowledge of the religion and its practices. This is a frightening concept as it can be seen that social media is having a massive impact on the direction in which young people are heading, and in many cases, the disillusioned are picking extremism.

A recent example is the radicalisation of four young brothers who grew up in western Sydney. They are just the latest in a long line of young Australians to leave the country in an attempt to join Isis militants in Syria.

Ahmed acknowledges that social media plays a big part in the radicalisation of young people, and she said that Isis had “captured the global imagination” through a strong and well-produced social media campaign. Just like any other thriving business, they are very good at advertising their brand, and in today’s world of high-modernity, good marketing can easily turn heads.
social media isis
Source: dailydot.com

“What Isis has done, and they have exceeded al-Qaida in this, is really spectacular control of the narrative of their organisation while sharing that story through masterful use of all mechanisms of the media,” she said.

“Young boys become caught up in fantasy, just like some get caught up in the world of video games, and are being seduced by powerful language and metaphors that steal oxygen from Islam through tremendous distortion of what Islam really means.

These young people perhaps feel they are in this mundane, humdrum of a world, and Isis make them believe they can be part of something bigger.”

People are still flocking to the promised land that is Islamic extremism. At least Isis tell them it’s the promised land. Their marketing campaign is strong, probably stronger than any other extremist organisation in history. The question is why are people fleeing to fight the West? Maybe if politicians were more sympathetic to different cultures, and distributed wealth equally, we would have a fairer and more peaceful society. Extremist breakouts would surely decrease in numbers if organisations such as Fox News and the Daily Mail would stop painting Islam as a societal villain and scapegoat.

Many think that these are the reasons for subsections of society breaking free to challenge the current system in place, but of course that doesn't excuse some of the terrible actions taken by groups such as Isis. It is a crisis, a humanitarian crisis as well as an ideological one, and unfortunately, the leaders in place will only take action when it suits their financial desires.


Alex is an English Literature and Sociology undergraduate whose love for written word has led him to write about some obscure topics in his time. Currently a content writer at Social Media Frontiers, be sure to follow him @AlexSatSMF.

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Jihadists Creating Utopia Online To Attract Young Australians Reviewed by Alex Smith on Tuesday, November 18, 2014 Rating: 5
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