Secrets To ISIS Recruiting Success: More Than Just Social Media And Propaganda

It looks like, when it comes down to it, ISIS may end up having something pretty basic in common with the Unites States after all.  They are essentially going to end up being a country of immigrants.

  • For the last several months, story after story has featured ISIS recruits trying to get to training camps in Syria via Turkey, being captured and returned to the United States.
  • This week, six men from Minneapolis were arrested by the FBI in New York after an ISIS recruiter left the city and the country, and convinced them to join the cause.  All were of Somali descent.
  • World Net Daily has reported that ISIS is recruiting engineers, doctors, accountants and reporters.
  • There has also been intense recruiting of women for all the reasons men keep women around.

All this points to some serious nation building using like minded individuals from where ever ISIS can find them.  The question, though, is why is ISIS having such luck when its predecessors, like Al Qaeda, did not.  At least not when it came to recruits from western nations.

According to one CNN report, the ease of reaching ISIS from western Europe via Turkey is one factor given modern transportation.  So is the sophisticated use of social media platforms where recruiters can speak both directly and indirectly with targets from anywhere in the world.  Potenitally, though, the biggest factor may well be cultural:

ISIS takes a somewhat secular approach, portraying how much better life purportedly is in the caliphate as compared to the corrupt West. And people attracted to ISIS’ marketing run the gamut from rich to poor, educated to dropout, male to female, teenaged to middle-aged.

For religious people of any stripe, ideological purity is quite a draw.  They are playing on that.

What is frightening about this way of recruiting for the west is that it makes counter-intelligence efforts to find and root out the recruiting a difficult task.

The informal recruitment networks and ease of travel have presented a difficult puzzle to intelligence and counterterrorism officials, who are used to tracking networks of facilitators and fundraisers that funnel recruits eastward.

“It’s harder for us to pick up on,” the U.S. counterterrorism official said of the peer-to-peer recruitment, which is well below the radar.

Before ISIS, investigators could often focus on radicalizing mosques and clerics to figure out those networks.

Which is part of the reason the World Net Daily piece linked above warns professionals to take care that they are not inadvertently answering ads to go to work for ISIS.  No longer is the Islamic radical recruiter tied to a place of worship. ISIS is embracing more of the modern world to spread their influence and build their Caliphate right beneath western noses.

About the Author

Cultural Limits
A resident of Flyover Country, Cultural Limits is a rare creature in American Conservatism - committed to not just small government, Christianity and traditional social roles, but non-profits and high arts and culture. Watching politics, observing human behavior and writing are all long-time interests. In her other life, CL writes romance novels under her nom de plume, Patricia Holden (@PatriciaHoldenAuthor on Facebook), and crochets like a mad woman (designs can be found on Facebook @BohemianFlairCrochet and on Pinterest on the Bohemian Flair Crochet board). In religion, CL is Catholic; in work, the jill of all trades when it comes to fundraising software manipulation and event planning; in play, a classically trained soprano and proud citizen of Cardinal Nation, although, during hockey season, Bleeds Blue. She lives in the Mid-Mississippi River Valley with family and two cute and charming tyrants...make that toy dogs.