While analysts spend a lot of time examining Islamic State “narratives,” and law enforcement types expend a lot of energy developing “counter-narratives,” they are missing a key element of why Twitter is important to these individuals: It gives them a sense of community.Media reports are littered with concerns that ISIS recruiters are “brainwashing” youth or that young Western women are being “lured” online. These statements always struck me as a bit strange since I was directly talking to many of these fighters and supporters associated with the Islamic State or Jabhat al-Nusra. Many of these youth did not seem to fit the stereotype we were peddling. They were not brainwashed or seduced. In fact, most were quite articulate and intelligent, and believed in a cause they felt to be of utmost importance. They were true believers. They also cared for each other, celebrated the birth of children, respected online boundaries of marriage and gender (“I’m married, no DMs from brothers please”), developed relationships and got married, expressed condolences at the loss of a fighter, shared news, and served as a support group for youth who are undergoing hardship thousands of miles away. Everything we do in our community, on and offline, they did as well.


About chainsoff.

Intelligence Media Service, Monitors and Analyzes Extremists’ activities, including and not limited to: The Muslim Brotherhood, Kurdish Terrorism, Syrian Politics, Jabhet Al-Nusra, Hezbollah, Cyber Crime, and Taliban activities in Syria. Well known for her deep knowledge on Terrorism. Open Source Exploitation expert in the discovery, collection, and assessment of foreign-based publicly available information, also known as Open Source Intelligence (OSINT), HIMNT
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