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Inside Isis: Social networking for Islamist Extremists

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As ISIS continue to make territorial gains in the Middle East, they are also becoming a dynamic presence online. This report looks at one recent campaign video, designed to disseminate their radical manifesto.

“These are your passports, O Tyrants all over the world”, one anonymous jihadist declares to a baying crowd as he spears a pile of the documents with a machete. Within the organisation’s mission to establish a unitary caliphate across the region, such credentials are obsolete: mere vestiges of a by-gone age of national boundaries and rival political identities. “I swear by Allah, we will cleanse the Arabian peninsula of you, you defiled ones.” Films such as this, depicting the brutal imposition of a supposedly utopian Islamic supra-state – often by means of summary executions and banning opposing sects from public life – are a sign of the increasing sophistication of ISIS’ propaganda strategy. They depict well-armed, organised militants, and are cause for concern for Iraqi ex-pats struggling to reach relatives back home. “ISIS have forgotten the real religion, and now they are full of hate and revenge”, says Salahaddin al-Beati, who has lived in Switzerland since 1996. With voices from all sides of the conflict, this report offers a chilling insight into a markedly 21st century insurgency.

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