(CBS) — ISIS wants new recruits and it is finding innovative, new ways to attract young Chicagoans and others around the country. How is it doing this and why? CBS 2’s Dave Savini this original report.
The terror group is making big changes in the way it reaches out. Recruitment tactics are less bloody and they are more polished. The group has a communications department and it is even publishing a magazine.
ISIS’ communication and recruitment strategy continues to expand, including the creation of their magazine, Dabiq.
Dr. Khalil Marrar, a professor of politics and government at Governors State University, says the magazine is, “Innovative. It’s definitely innovative.”
Marrar says the terror group uses the magazine to recruit, in part, by spinning history.
“It is sort of retelling the story in a way that is favorable to ISIS,” says Marrar.
The Clarion Project, which fights extremism, exposed the nine editions of Dabiq that have been released in the past year. The length of the magazine has nearly doubled and the message has evolved too.
“The early editions are definitely more gory,” says Marrar. “They’re definitely more shock and awe oriented.”
ISIS expounds on its good deeds as liberators and tries to recruit doctors to help in its efforts to provide medical care. It is a message that can be empowering, says terrorism expert Dr. Tom Mockaitis from DePaul University.
“There’s an empowerment narrative that says, ‘Hey, join us and you can do something about this,'” said Mockaitis.
The latest, toned-down, publication also has more legitimate religious writings, says Marrar.
“These people are very good theologians,” said Marrar. “I mean this is a new level that we have not seen before.”
But the magazine also calls the September 11th attacks a “blessed raid.” It displays a severed head. It lauds the enslavement and sale of women – saying First Lady Michelle Obama will be sold. The overriding message — all Muslims are obligated to engage in jihad, or holy war.
“It is what Bin Laden called the strategy of a thousand cuts,” said Marrar.
The publicity surrounding every recruitment or attack in the United States has a psychological effect on the country, including the alleged recruitment of a Bolingbrook teen whose mother spoke out.
“We have a message for ISIS, Mr. Bagdadi and his fellow social media recruiters — leave our children alone,” she said.
Both experts say ISIS also uses the magazine and other communications to take credit for attacks they have nothing to do with.
“Whether or not you are affiliated, they will claim you,” said Mockaitis. “They’re going to say you struggled on behalf of the cause.”
“It makes ISIS look like a much more powerful organization,” said Marrar.
Marrar says Dabiq is very effective in targeting people who are questioning their faith or have a desire to join a cause. The magazine even provides an e-mail address for people to connect with them. The Department of Homeland Security has been working on ways to further fight this and other parts of the communication war.