This morning, as the summit on violent extremism continued at the White House and the State Department insisted jihadis need jobs, CNN delved into what really lures people to the Islamic State.
The segment was about what lures “the most highly sought-after targets: Western women” to join ISIS’ ranks.
“How do you relay your message of jihad in a way Westerners understand?” host Carol Costello said, referring to the terrorists’ strong presence on social media. “ISIS is talking online about jars of Nutella, pictures of kittens and emojis. They want people to believe their life on the battlefield isn’t so different than yours. They actually eat Nutella, and I guess they have pet kittens.”
It’s true that ISIS fighters have tweeted pics posing with jars of Nutella, and the women of ISIS have included the Italian hazelnut spread in recipes shared online.
New York magazine got a female ISIS Nutella fan to explain why: “I don’t know, perhaps all the sisters who liked Nutella in the west decided to migrate to sham..?” She added that when they came to the Islamic State they were greeted by “shops were stocked with goodies such as Nutella, kinder bueno, snickers and just things we would find back home. And so I guess that’s why its so popular…. it’s a luxury we never thought we would find in this war torn country.”
And those kittens? Yes, there is a Twitter account that hasn’t been updated in a while but specializes is posting pics of terrorists and their cats.
Ad Week had a bit of advice for CNN: “Even if the segment was about how ISIS was adopting a Western style approach to social media to seem less threatening and ultimately lure recruits (which it wasn’t), avoid screen-grabbable-and-meme-ready graphics like the above, which distract from the discussion, rather than inform it. Far more people have seen that graphic online–free of context–than watched the segment, and for them, it’s been nothing but a lure for people to crack jokes. Just a thought.”
Obama approves emergency shipments of kittens and nutella to the moderate Syrian opposition.
— Murtaza Hussain (@MazMHussain) February 18, 2015
Oh please we recruited half of our staff with kittens and nutella pic.twitter.com/3w436jAzl3
— Max Fisher (@Max_Fisher) February 18, 2015
Next, kittens dipped in Nutella. pic.twitter.com/PLk05TT3Ef
— Luke Baker (@LukeReuters) February 18, 2015
Here’s a sophisticated infographic explaining how ISIS’s secret plan will unfold. pic.twitter.com/X5xMlai9YN
— Karl Sharro (@KarlreMarks) February 18, 2015