ISIS Recruits Through Social Media

Extremist group ISIS has been making headlines for months as they expand across Iraq and Syria, trying to form an Islamic caliphate. A sovereign state of the entire muslim faithful that will practice sharia law.
ISIS has successfully recruited inside the region and now thanks to a sophistication with social media, extremist groups can reach outside their borders to recruit young people.
ISIS disciples may even be trying to recruit inside your home.

Ripped from the Headlines:
"Three high school girls from Denver are the latest American teenagers drawn in by the radical world of Islamic extremism."
"Two Americans, friends in high school, both killed while fighting for extremist groups overseas."
"This 17 year-old Australian teenager, raising alarm bells after he recently showed up in video alongside ISIS fighters in Syria. Threatening to behead western leaders, including President Obama."

With more and more young people being drawn to support and fight alongside extremist groups like ISIS, it's important to know what outliers to watch for.

Shannon Terrell Harvey is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and the CEO of River Edge Behavioral Health Center. She says there is not one particular type of person that's drawn to an extremist group.

"Often they're very intelligent and idealistic," says Harvey, CEO of River Edge Behavioral Health Center.

So why are some individuals drawn to groups that have been condemned by larger society?

"When people struggle with belonging or question the status-quo it makes them begin to think about, 'where else could I belong?' People want something to believe in, to be part of something bigger," says Harvey.

ISIS has created a foothold for recruiting in social media. The extremists group has set itself apart with its online presence on sites like Facebook and Twitter. And with highly produced videos like "Flames of War" being released on Youtube. New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton is concerned with ISIS's use of social media.

"Their level of sophistication, from my perspective, seems to be much more significant than the Al Queda level of sophistication," says Bill Bratton, New York City Police Commissioner.

"In the old days, it was really a disciple of the leader that would do the recruitment, if you will. And now it's still a disciple of the leader doing recruitment through another channel. With which young people are most comfortable," says Harvey.

And because targets often feel alienated from society, social media is an even more effective recruitment tool.

"If I'm going to a recruitment meeting, my parents my notice I'm gone. But if I'm sitting at my computer and they think I'm playing 'Call of Duty,' or talking on Facebook, or whatever, not knowing that I'm being seduced," says Harvey.

ISIS has taken it's social media recruiting strategy a step further by using it's western members to recruit more westerners to the cause.

Troy Kastigar, an American ISIS Recruit who was killed fighting alongside the extremist group overseas, posted this message online:
"If you guys only knew how much fun we have over here. This is the real Disney Land. You need to come here and join us and take pleasure in this fun. We walk amongst the lions."

"The more like you that the recruiter looks, the more you could identify that that could be me," says Harvey.

But there are steps that you can take to make sure your loved one doesn't fall into the trap of an extremist group.

"In times of crisis, again, a divorce, or death, or death of a pet, or, you know, a fight with a girlfriend, that there's conscious effort to be supportive or to have supports around that young person," Says Harvey.

Harvey says that if you feel like your child may fall victim to the recruiting tactics of an extremists group, you should err on the side of caution and act rather than be passive. There are counseling resources available for any family that experiences a life crisis.
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