This by far has been one of the more interesting articles I have read on ISIS. It talks about how at first, most of the recruits were self-starters of people radicalized on their own from the propaganda that has been put out on social media to their own beliefs. Much of the propaganda comes in the form of movie trailer-style videos, glorifying brutal practices such as the beheading of anyone who ISIS leaders decide doesn’t fit their exact beliefs on Islam. But once those initial Western recruits arrived, living in the self-declared ISIS caliphate spanning parts of Syria and Iraq, they started to directly convince friends and other contacts back home to join them.
It is crazy to me that in Minnesota, nine men have been charged as part of an alleged cell of recruits linked to American Abdi Nur, who turned up fighting with ISIS in Syria in 2014 and began to appeal to his friends to come to the Middle East. The fact that ISIS has such a strong impact on those who even live across the world to come and join their fight, is astonishing and very impressive although scary. the ISIS recruiters have an easier path to drawing supporters than al Qaeda has had. A decade ago, that group’s recruits faced formidable obstacles trying to get to training camps deep in hard-to-reach areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan’s tribal region. Few Westerners went through the trouble. I wonder what makes ISIS so luring for people to want to join who live elsewhere? Al Qaeda recruitment focused on attracting radicals who were motivated to join the fight to protect Islamic holy lands. Much of the recruitment occurred in countries with strong conservative Islamic histories, including Saudi Arabia and Yemen.