Jihadi PR: what lures young people to Syria?

Foreign fighters flow to Syria.
Foreign fighters flow to Syria. (Credit Washington Post)

Young Muslims are being drawn to fundamentalist Islam in the same way young Germans were attracted to fascism in the 20th century, David Cameron will say today, as he sets out a five-year strategy to combat Isis-inspired radicalisation.

I’m not sure if the two examples fit quite as comfortably in real life as they do in this political soundbite. Yet the apparent compulsion of misguided men and women to leave Britain, damage their chances of any credible future and head to Syria for an almost inevitable death has proved puzzling.

In a recent podcast I was asked about how journalists handle the vast amounts of propaganda that Isis have used over the last year to make headlines around the world.

The answer is, basically, like any other piece of PR attempting to exploit media for its own purpose: with scepticism and due-diligence.

The days of reproducing pictures from the Al-Hayatt Media Centre (effectively Isis’s PR wing) are gone. In just one year, editors are now aware of their tactics – and the shock factor of their murders is no longer news currency. Instead the questions are more about the future of the Middle East and how to stop vulnerable people from falling prey to their propaganda.

You can listen to the podcast here.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s