ISIS Ongoing Propaganda Campaign

By Rachel Ehrenfeld
Thursday, December 25th, 2014 @ 9:25PM

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Left: From ISIS video: A French-speaking masked man in the center, flanked by other ISIS operatives

Social media continues to serve ISIS propaganda campaign and efforts to recruit in the West, especially among America’s black, using Ferguson’s and New York demonstrations  against the police. “Hey blacks, ISIS will save you,” #IslamicState, #Ferguson and #Coming, said recent tweet. Another carried the message, “Indeed, Malcolm X knew that the only cure for racism is Islam. Obama is proof that democracy won’t help blacks in USA. #Ferguson #ISISHERO— Abu Ottoman (@RadioRome) August 19, 2014.

Some are more instructive, “For how long will you let these govts oppress u. Draw ur knives and show them a response!! #FergusonDecision #IS,” twitted ISIS member, Abu Dujana, who also tweeted a photograph of a large knife held by somebody wearing a Nike glove.

Videos posted online also instructed, “If you can kill a disbelieving American or European, especially the spiteful and filthy French, or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever, then rely upon Allah and kill him in any manner or way however it may be.

Last week, “An 18-year-old British citizen, apparently from London, known as Umm Khattab, the widow of an ISIS operative who fought in Syria, posted a photo on Twitter of a young boy armed with a toy gun standing in front of an ISIS flag with the inscription “the next generation”. ISIS and its supporters around the world publish photos of children carrying weapons against the background of ISIS flags, to emphasize their determination to fight and their patience.”

While Western authorities are worried about returning ISIS foreign fighters from Iraq and Syria, they should pay more attention to the  growing number of supporter they recruit in the West  through their savvy use of social media.

 Recent expressions of support and sympathy to ISIS in the West were reported on Spotlight on Global Jihad (Dec.17-23, 2014), the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center

Vehicular, stabbing and shooting incidents in France

  • On December 20, 2014, a man carrying a knife broke into the police station in Joué-lès-Tours (a suburb of the city of Tours, in central France), shouted “Allahu Akbar” and attacked the police. Three policemen were injured. The attacker was shot and killed. The attacker was Bertrand Nzohabonayo, 20, a native of Burundi, known to the police because of minor crimes that he committed. His brother is known to the security services as holding extremist Islamic views and as having considered going to fight in Syria. Around two days before carrying out the attack, the attacker uploaded an ISIS flag on Facebook. On the other hand, it was reported that the attacker was a member of a social network that has come out against ISIS (Rawstory.com, December 21, 2014).
  • On December 21, 2014, aman in Dijon (eastern France) ran over 11 policemen, critically injuring two of them. The man shouted “Allahu Akbar” when he hit the policemen. Immediately after the attack, the driver was arrested, but two passengers who were with him in the vehicle managed to escape. According to media reports, the detainee was born in 1974 and is apparently deranged (Al-Jazeera, December 21, 2014). One day later, on December 22, a driver charged into a crowded Christmas market in the city of Nantes, in western France. At least 17 people were run over and one of them died of his injuries. On the night of December 22, 2014, shots were fired at the David Ben Ichay Synagogue in Paris’s 19th Arrondissement.
  • According to the French authorities, there is no connection between these incidents and at least with regard to the vehicular attacks, any affiliation with terrorism has been ruled out. On the other hand, terrorism is suspected with regard to the stabbing.
At this stage, the circumstances of these incidents are still unclear, and it is not yet possible to prove a direct link between them and ISIS. However, the ITIC assesses that some of these incidents are cases of Muslims responding to ISIS’s repeated calls to harm French civilians and citizens of other Western countries that are participating in the campaign against ISIS. It should be emphasized that ISIS’s calls to harm Western civilians explicitly mentioned France. A recent example can be found in an ISIS video posted on YouTube on December 19, 2014. The video shows a French speaker (with Arabic subtitles) calling on Muslims in France to attack targets in the country: “To my brothers and sisters in France, as you were called on by the Emir of the Faithful, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, to harm the interests of the infidels in their lands […] If the infidels prevent you from emigrating [to the Islamic State], fight them. Today you have a chance to attack them in their homes […]”

The attack in Australia – additional information

  • Australian police identified the person who carried out the terrorist attack in the café as Haron Monis, AKA Sheikh Haron, a 50-year-old Iranian who received political asylum in Australia in 1996. He served as a Sunni preacher on behalf of himself and was rejected by the Sunni and Shiite communities in Sydney. He was known to the police after several charges had been filed against him. In 2013, he was charged with murdering his ex-wife, as well as over 40 sexual offenses. He denied the charges against him, claiming that they were filed for political reasons (www.bbc.com, December 16, 2014).
  • On his website (which has been removed from the internet), he wrote a month ago that he had pledged allegiance to ISIS and given up his Shiite heritage. Among other things, he wrote that he had the honor to pledge allegiance to the Imam and the contemporary Caliphate (this is a reference to the Islamic Caliphate established by ISIS). His website was also full of articles against the government of Australia and its involvement in the war in Iraq and Afghanistan (Fox News, December 15, 2014).

Call by a Chechen operative in ISIS to attack targets in the West

  • On December 17, 2014, ISIS’s department of information in the province of Salah al-Din, Iraq, released an Arabic-language video showing a Chechen fighter known as Abd al-Halim the Chechen, calling on all Muslims living in the West, and especially Chechens,, to carry out attacks in their countries. This is in retaliation for the coalition force’s operation against ISIS. Abd al-Halim the Chechen also warned US President Barack Obama that hundreds of Chechens would raid the streets of Western countries (ISIS’s information department in the province of Salah al-Din, December 17, 2014).
There are several hundred Chechen fighters in Syria, some of them affiliated with the Caucasian Emirate, a Caucasian framework that maintains ties with Al-Qaeda and the global jihad. They include highly motivated fighters with combat experience who participated in the uprising against Russia in the 1990s. Most of the Chechen operatives joined the Al-Nusra Front and ISIS. Several of them attained senior command ranks and some senior commanders were killed in battle. A large portion of the Chechen operatives fight in a separate military framework by the name of The Army of Emigrants and Supporters. Some of the operatives in that framework, including senior officers, left the Al-Nusra Front following the rift and joined the ranks of ISIS.

Chinese separatists in the ranks of ISIS

  • According to Chinese newspaper Global Times, about 300 Chinese are fighting in Iraq and Syria in the ranks of ISIS. In China, this has given rise to fear of the security risk inherent in these operatives after they return to their country. China has expressed concern in view of the threat of those fighters on security in the Xinjiang province (known as East Turkestan) in western China, the residence of the Uyghur minority.
  • The first report stating that fighters from China had joined the fighting in Syria appeared in the second half of 2013. The report, published in China, stated that Uyghur Muslim separatists have been traveling to Syria since May 2012 in order to join in the fighting alongside global jihad operatives. Like other countries, this phenomenon has grown in the past year in China as well. The Muslim separatists in China belong to the Uyghur people, living in the autonomous region of Xinjiang in northwestern China (sometimes called East Turkestan by the separatists). The Uyghurs, at least in part, strive for independence and in the 1990s their uprising was suppressed by the Chinese authorities. In July 2009, violent riots broke out between the Uyghurs and another ethnic group, the Han people.

* See the full report Spotlight on Global Jihad (Dec.17-23, 2014), the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center.

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