The Youtube Channel “ThinkAgain TurnAway” owned by the US State Department has released a counter propaganda film intended to deter the appeal of ISIS recruitment.
The video entitled “Welcome to the “Islamic State” depicts the actions of ISIS. Released in late August 2014 it was formally distributed via the US State Department’s Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications. This includes the destructions of Mosques, the execution and crucifixion of fellow Muslims, the plundering of public resources and the use of suicide bombers inside of Mosques. The video ends with a sarcastic warning, “Travel is inexpensive, because you won’t need a return ticket!” As with many western nations it is suspected than many Americans have travelled to join the group ISIS.
ISIS, the “self-proclaimed” Islamic caliphate has provoked a viral fire storm across social media in recent weeks. Both with their own actions and the censorship debate it has created but also the response from parts of the international Muslim community. Inspired by the “Ice Bucket Challenge” Lebanese youths posted pictures of themselves burning the ISIS flag. Soon after a video was put on youtube in which the user nominated the whole world to take part in what he labelled the #BurnISISFlagChallenge.
However this has provoked some negative responses with the pan-Arab daily newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat reporting that the Lebanese justice minister Ashraf Rifi, released a statement Saturday calling on Lebanon’s state prosecutor to “bring to justice those individuals who burned the ISIS flag in Sassine Square and inflict the sternest punishments upon them.” He described his reasoning as the fact that the flag contains the “Muslim Shahada” (declaration of faith) meaning “there is no god but God and Muhammad is his Prophet”. This “which has nothing to do with ISIS and its terrorist approach” represented “an insult to the religious slogans of the Abrahamic faiths, and could stir up sectarian conflicts.”
In recent times ISIS has used the most extreme of violence as a propaganda tool. This has outraged both leaders of the Western and Islamic worlds. So significant has been this outrage that there has been somewhat of an military alignment between the United States and Iran born out of the the necessity to confront ISIS. The BBC reported on friday that sources in Tehran had stated that “Ayatollah Khamenei has authorised his top commander to co-ordinate military operations with the US, Iraqi and Kurdish forces.”
When earlier in June 2014 ISIS released the film named “The End of of Sykes-Picot” they made clear their lofty goals. The title “The End of of Sykes-Picot” was made in reference to the secret agreement between the United Kingdom and France that defined the spheres of influence to be allocated after Triple Entente defeated the Ottoman Empire in World War one.
Since the release of this film they have since moved to proclaim even more extreme goals with several instances of ISIS fighters stating it is there intention to conquer Spain and Indonesia.