Internet Savvy Extremists
Similarly to how the EDL grew, extremist terrorist organisations are utilising social media platforms to spread propaganda and create global disharmony. The internet is used by both groups to incite hatred.
Videos of Beheadings
In a 2015 video titled A Message to the Allies of America, ISIS beheaded British hostage David Haines – a former marine and aid worker. This execution was posted online for the world to see.
Haines was made to read a statement addressing David Cameron before his murder, that stated the PM was “entirely responsible for my execution.”
After this, the killer then made a statement,
“This British man has to pay the price for your promise, Cameron, to arm the peshmerga against the Islamic State… playing the role of the obedient lapdog, Cameron, will only drag you and your people into another bloody and unwinnable war”
The Impact of these Videos
Messages like these illustrate a ruthless nature. British citizens began to fear these organisations, apparently waging war on the western world. Former Government Propagandist, Nancy snow, examined the undertones of these ISIS videos:
“The message is direct and clear: Don’t mess with us. We will do exactly what we said we will do. No ransom? He dies.”
By creating this fear, people begin to associate law abiding Muslims with these extremists. This pushes people towards the right-wing and invites Islamophobia. Because the videos are filmed in the middle east, Muslims in England are given the blame.
British society cannot directly react to those responsible but, because of an increased fear, xenophobic and Islamophobic views become apparent. There is also a naivety, with some people thinking that extremists actually represent Muslim values.
Relationship with the EDL
The connection to these Islamist jihadi beheading videos and the videos of EDL marches is startling. Both groups rely on each other in a propaganda sense, because the supposed enemy is actually the biggest aid to the cause.
Extremists use EDL videos to rationalise their own actions, and vice versa. As a result there is a to and fro of retaliations, leading to an escalating tit-for-tat.
Using the Internet to Recruit
Instead of using the internet just to spread fear into the western world, terrorist organisations also use it to recruit. They brainwash people to believe that all non-Muslims want to rid of Islam, using EDL videos as evidence.
This is happening within Islamic communities in the UK as well as the Middle East. Social media is used to target vulnerable minors, and promote the message of extremism.
It’s estimated that at least 850 Britons have fled to Syria to join ISIS, although the true figure is expected to be larger. These are primarily naive children and women, who have been targeted online.
This highlights further similarity between the two organisations that directly oppose one another: the method used to grow support is essentially the same.
This illustrates that Islamophobia can be impacted greatly by what is seen on social media and articles that we read. Both the terrorist organisations, and organisations that oppose terrorists incite hatred and an irrational fear of Islam.
This will eventually lead to a society scared of Islam. This result is an aim of extremists, because it begins to justify the hatred for the western world.
To see how the internet can also combat terrorism and Islamophobia, read my next post.