By Joe Wilson
WASHINGTON – In the wake of the latest wave of terror attacks across the UK and Europe, more people than ever are wondering aloud how young people in the West are so easily recruited into committing the most heinous, barbaric, evil acts imaginable.
In a recent interview, veteran journalist and best-selling author David Kupelian explained the tactics and techniques jihadist groups, including ISIS and al-Qaida, use to persuade people to embrace the deranged belief that the creator of the universe requires them to murder innocent people or else they will go to hell.
The interview was conducted by Susan Knowles on her “Stand for Truth” podcast.
The main trick, said Kupelian, managing editor of WND and author of several culture-war classics including “The Marketing of Evil,” is in conjuring up a counterfeit religious martyrdom experience and selling it to people as the real thing.
After all, Kupelian explained, “there is something about sacrificing your life” that is uniquely noble. “Jesus Christ, at the Last Supper, said ‘I give you a final commandment, and that is that you love one another as I have loved you.’ And then he said, ‘Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.'” The point, said Kupelian, is that genuinely sacrificing one’s life for God and for one’s fellow man – for example, he said, “the soldier falling on a grenade to protect his fellow soldiers” – is arguably a human being’s highest calling. “We celebrate self-sacrifice and genuine martyrdom and courage … [as being] higher than any other value.”
Therefore, if the local imam, jihadist or ISIS recruitment video “can create an evil cousin of [martyrdom and courage] that has the appearance of standing up for God, and sacrificing for God, and for your faith, and for goodness, and laying down your life … then that is going to be appealing” to vulnerable people, Kupelian argued.
Asked if there is a particular category of people radical Islam appeals to, Kupelian said: “There’s one thing that’s necessary for this: You have to be really, really angry. This doesn’t work unless you’re angry.” Jihadist recruitment within America’s prisons has been a huge problem over the years, Kupelian noted, precisely because many convicts are – to use Donald Trump’s recent term for jihadists – “‘losers’ – and are angry.”
To such angry, guilty and directionless people, ISIS offers an exciting deal, which Kupelian capsulizes into the quintessential jihad sales pitch: “You’re a sinner, young man,” headed for hell. But “if you go and commit jihad, before the first drop of blood is shed from your body, you’ll be instantly transported to paradise with 72 virgins. And, all of your family, who are also sinners, will also go to heaven too. We’re including them all in on the deal. This is a great deal.”
Listen to the interview:
Another powerful factor in jihad recruitment is consistent with one of the most basic principles of modern marketing: “Sex sells,” said Kupelian, recounting some of the many products that have traditionally been marketed, from liquor to cars, all by juxtaposing the product with beautiful women. Likewise, he said, “Jihad is sold that way” – with a promise of sex.
The fantastic sell-it-with-sex sales pitch, he said, is essentially this: “If you kill a bunch of innocent people that never did anything to you, the creator of the universe will give you endless sex with 72 virgins in heaven.” Added Kupelian, “I couldn’t even make up a more insane premise than that, [but] that is what millions of people believe.”
Of course, not all jihadis are recruited in the West. In some Middle Eastern countries, radicals are programmed and nurtured from a young age to carry out what they are taught is the work of Allah. Kupelian detailed the especially despicable tactics used to target children in Palestinian areas, using benign characters including Mickey Mouse to promote suicide bombing and jihad.
“We’ve seen the YouTube videos of beautiful little three, four-year-old girls talking about how they want to stab a Jew. … Why? ‘Because the Jews are Satan’s children and they took our land.’ They are literally brainwashing these beautiful children from birth,” said Kupelian.
“In the West, it’s different,” said Kupelian, who noted that many jihadists – like Orlando terrorist Omar Mateen, who murdered 49 – were the children of Muslim immigrants, in Mateen’s case from Afghanistan. “There’s a lesson there,” Kupelian said. “They come here, we open up our national home to them, [but] they don’t love it, they don’t assimilate, they don’t absorb our values.”
This failure to assimilate has led to a shocking statistic, said Kupelian: “Fifty-one percent of Muslims polled living in the U.S. now say that they want to live under Shariah law.”
Several months ago, Kupelian published an in-depth exposé of the most notorious jihad recruiter in the world, Anwar al-Awlaki, including both his specific techniques for mesmerizing unsuspecting youths and his own secret sex scandal that led directly to his own radicalization.