First Estonian recruited to fight for ISIS (5)

A member loyal to the ISIS waves a flag in Raqqa. (Reuters/Scanpix)
11/10/2014 9:52 AM
Category: Main news

According to ETV, the Jihadist militant group ISIS has managed to recruit the first Estonian to fight among its ranks.

The fundamentalist group that is influenced by the Wahhabi Islamic movement and has managed to occupy large areas in Iraq and Syria, is using recruitment campaigns around the world.

The Estonian Internal Secret Service Police (KAPO) confirmed that an Estonian from the local Muslim community has gone to fight on behalf of ISIS and has not returned.

However, KAPO insisted that in general, the tiny Muslim community of Estonia is peaceful and well integrated into society.

ISIS is using a clever recruitment campaign on the Internet and on the social media, and has managed to enlist thousands of Europeans to fight for the fundamentalist organization.

The extremist movement doesn't depict the brutal attacks it is notorious for, on its recruitment videos. Instead, images of its fighters visiting their fellows in hospitals or delivering food to children on streets, are shown to potential recruits.

Lauri Lindström, from the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence in Tallinn, conceded that ISIS is using very professional methods on the Internet.

"They have will, energy and funding to make sure that their message reaches to viewers. It is the first time that such an extreme movement has succeeded using the internet as systematically and publicly,“ Lindström said.

ISIS is entwining its propaganda within popular Twitter chats and subjects, such as the football World Cup or Ebola, for example. Sometimes, it has managed to add as many as 40,000 messages per day on Twitter, without activating spam controls. It has multiple accounts on social media - one of which adds pictures of cats - to distract people.

KAPO emphasized that in order to prevent the flow of extremist messages on the Internet and on the social media, it is necessary to collaborate between government institutions and tech firms.

Tanel Tammet, an IT expert from the Tallinn University of Technology, said that considering the inability of Google and Facebook to control the information flow ISIS is posting on them, independent firms should be enlisted to monitor the internet and help with the info-war against ISIS.

"Perhaps we could entwine an anti-propaganda within ISIS' messages?" Tammet said.

Around 3,000 Europeans have joined as ISIS fighters in the last three years. Estonia's neighbor Finland recently raised its terrorism threat levels, due to the fact that 40 Finnish citizens have gone to fight on behalf of ISIS.

KAPO stressed that Estonia is not directly threatened, but the terrorist movement is approaching the countries close to Estonia, which is why the country still has to be vigilant.


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