ALEXIS CRUZ WRITES – One could say that Al Qaeda is the grumpy old man to the Islamic State’s (ISIS) younger, vibrant, and more energetic twenty-something year old. Their success in recruiting is due to members being greatly familiar with modern technology and excelling at the use of social media. This puts their message on a worldwide forum accessed by curious minds everywhere. Already, ISIS has recruited young adults from Western countries; some are university students or graduates. Now, even more are being recruited from Asia.
A journalist from the Indian state of Kerala recently allegedly joined ISIS after working in Qatar. He allegedly got in touch with the Islamic State through social media forums and sympathized with their ideologies. He decided to move to West Asia in 2014, despite his family opposing his decision. He lived in Doha, Qatar for several months, where some believe he continued working for his local newspaper in Kerala as an international reporter.
The journalist, who currently remains nameless, was described as a sociology graduate who is fluent in English and is a “net addict.” He learned Arabic in Qatar, but there has been no word on who he contacted while in Doha. He was monitored by intelligence agencies but slipped to Syria before any agency could catch him. According to intelligence agencies, increasing numbers of youths from Indian states like Kerala support ISIS on social media, and most of these accounts available to them are operated in Gulf countries.
Qatar’s stance on terrorism in the Middle East is not entirely clear. The country is part of the US-led coalition against ISIS, and has trained soldiers to aid its allies. However, the country has also been accused of funding terrorist organizations such as the Nusra front. Hamas, which the US considers a terrorist organization, and the Muslim Brotherhood, previously overthrown in Egypt by the military, have offices in Doha. Qatari officials maintain that the country is doing all it can to stop terrorism. The country may have yet another responsibility: stop terrorist activity on social media.