Are you a young, bored-out-of-your-socks Westerner?
Well, a blogger named “Dusty Feet” has just the ticket to get you out from behind your computer and into something a little more action-packed and exciting.
Of course, you may lose your life in the process, but it will be great fun, exchanging that Xbox machine for an AK-47.
Dusty Feet is just one of countless recruiters working social-media sites for the Islamic State, also called ISIS or ISIL.
All the advice necessary to make the transition to a new life in Syria can be found on a website called Paladin of Jihad, where Dusty Feet goes to great lengths to show the young recruits how to realize their dream of being a holy warrior for Allah.
Dusty Feet offers advice and tips on everything from how to fool a Turkish border agent into thinking you are a tourist to how to defecate in the woods in accordance with Islamic law, or Shariah. There is a certain way to “squat,” writes Dusty Feet, and he provides a drawing he hopes will be helpful to those wishing to master the art.
Dusty Feet blogs through his Paladin of Jihad account on Tumblr, but one can also find him on Twitter using the same name.
Paladin explains in one post from late May what ISIS recruits should expect to be asked by Turkish authorities when they arrive in Ankara. Turkey is the main conduit for ISIS fighters getting into Syria.
“Bear in mind that if they stop you, it doesn’t mean that they will automatically deport you or detain you or put you through an unwanted situation. It’s a toss-up. Trust in Allah,” Dusty Feet advises.
Dozens of American Muslims have already gone missing from their homes, joining the ranks of ISIS and other terrorist organizations in the Middle East. Two from Minnesota died on the battlefield in Syria earlier this year.
Vice President Joe Biden estimated that at least 100 Americans have left the country to fight for ISIS, although some terrorism experts believe the number could be much higher. Another 2,000 to 3,000 fighters for ISIS are estimated to have come from European nations. ISIS is a group of Sunni Muslims attempting to set up an Islamic caliphate throughout Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan and parts of southern Turkey.
Dusty Feet explains to his potential recruits traveling to Turkey that:
“… depending on factors such as your appearance, your country of origin, your (international) criminal record, etc., the worst they can do to you is deport you and/or detain you.
“I need to state the risks as they are, but, subhān Allah don’t get paranoid or discouraged by that. I know one brother from the US who was saying that the FBI was on his back almost daily. However, he made it here passing through all the trials that this hijra posed, Al-HamdulilLah. Place your trust in Allah.”
The blogger then goes on to explain how to pose as a tourist, what questions can expected and how to answer them:
- “What is your purpose in Turkey?” – Just reply, “Tourism.” And it’s better if you know beforehand some of the tourist attractions of the area you are in or which will be on your way to the border. E.g. the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, the Tomb of Ataturk (la’natulLah ‘alayh) in Ankara, the birthplace of Ibrāhīm AS in Urfa. Learn as much as you can about the tourist attractions found in the places on your itinerary.
- “Are you going to Syria?” – You can either flat out lie and answer in the negative and talk some more about how you want to visit the grave of Abu Ayyūb al Ansāri RA… Or you can invent a story about how you viewed a YouTube video about Syria and that moved you so much that you absolutely wanted to help the people (and that’s true, Al-HamdulilLah) and that’s why you’re in Turkey to see if you can do anything to alleviate their plight. But still, don’t say that you want to cross the border and enter Syria.”
Special instructions are given for “sisters” who wish to make the journey or “hijra” to jihad in Syria.
“Learn some conversational Turkish. E.g. how to ask for a taxi, how to explain that you’re in a group, how to ask to buy a SIM card, etc. Turkish will be helpful even after you cross into Dawlah [Syria] because there are a lot of Turkish brothers and sisters who have made hijra.”
The site goes into much detail on how to continue living a Shariah-approved life under conditions less accommodating than what is found in the “cozy” Western nations.
Paladin of Jihad is just one of many blogs that uses social media to recruit young people for the ISIS army. Others, such as Prisoner of Joy, wax poetic about how life is wonderful under the Islamic caliphate. People “prosper” with all sorts of food aid, free electricity, free business capital, and this is why the “Zionist West” hates the caliphate and its Shariah law.
Abigail Esman, a New York City-based author of “Radical State: How Jihad is Winning Over Democracy in the West,” said ISIS uses social medial to recruit teenagers starting around 14 years of age.
“They do it the way Muslim radicals have been doing it all along it’s just that ISIS is particularly adept,” Esman told WND. “They are extra skilled with social media: They’re on Facebook, they’re on Twitter, they’re on Tumblr and they’re on YouTube. And they do a really good job of selling something that doesn’t exist: a utopian lifestyle for these kids at a very vulnerable age, when it’s important to be cool, when you want to fit in and you’re looking for a group but you want to be different.”
They operate on many of the same principles as gangs, especially in terms of psychological manipulation, she said.
“They talk about how you get your own house and don’t pay for electricity or food and all that will be provided for you,” Esman said. “And look on the Tumblr accounts and you see wide open green spaces on the Euphrates, and how you can be a part of something that will be very big. And when you’re 17 years old, of course, that will get you. And for the girls, it’s finding a husband.”
In her research, Esman said she even came across a Jewish girl in France who converted to Islam and joined ISIS. But that’s not the norm. Ninety-nine percent of the recruits are already Muslim, she said.
“What’s interesting is that in most cases they are not from religious families. It’s part of their adolescent rebellion. It’s enticing,” she said. “It’s part of the identity they take on for themselves, so in every way crushes the parents that their child is gone, they’re doing these terrible things, they may never see them again. And the women, particularly in their blogs, will talk about how they miss home, but you don’t know how much of that is real.”
Most of the recruitment over social media is targeted to very young people in Western nations.
“You get who you can right? They’re 17, so they’re certainly ready to fight, and have the men who are able to fight and look real good on YouTube. And it’s enticing for the women and a role model for the men, and in that sense good for propaganda,” Esman said. “But again, they have them blogging, tweeting for those in that same age group. People in their 40s and 50s aren’t in as good of shape; they have a house and a mortgage to pay.”
One of America’s foremost experts on Islamic terrorism, Steve Emerson, told WND that ISIS uses social media, but it’s not necessarily the most effective recruitment tool.
“They’re targeting those that are looking for something else in life, a Westerner in their teens or a convert, perhaps the prison convert or the ones in Canada who are looking for that something extra in life, and Islam provides the answer for that,” Emerson, founder of the Investigative Project on Terrorism, told WND.
But Emerson doesn’t believe the Internet is the primary tool.
“The notion they’re being recruited on the Internet is a crock of s–t put out by the Obama administration to take away their responsibility,” Emerson said. “No one gets radicalized simply because they’re online. It’s by reinforcement of the message already planted by the local mosque that there is a war against Islam.”
He said the usual culprits can be found working with the FBI and Justice Department to keep detectives out of the mosques.
“The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), which have strong ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, are legitimized by the Obama administration. They are jumping on the bandwagon that they are fighting radicalization when in fact they are part of the problem, because they are imbuing the young people in Canada and the U.S. with the belief that there is a war against Islam.”
The No. 1 inducement to radicalization among young Muslims, according to Canadian intelligence services, is the teaching that the West is trying to stamp out Islam. Emerson said social media is often used to “seal the deal” and re-enforce what the young Muslim has already heard at his local mosque. But to believe that the Internet alone is radicalizing the youths would be naive, he said.
“The notion that someone looking at videos online is a singular inducement is a crock of whatever you want to call it,” Emerson said. “That’s a convenient excuse for these Muslim Brotherhood front groups to discharge any responsibility for the radicalization of the members of their own community. And the Obama administration is facilitating it by inviting these very front groups to take a seat at the table, at the Department of Justice, at Homeland Security and at the State Department.”