As the Islamic State (ISIS) continues to wage war against the West, it has employed strategies aimed at targeting young Westerners to join the extremist militant group and help to strengthen it.
With approximately $2 billion in liquid assets at its disposal and an estimated daily revenue of $3 million, it is nowhere near short of capital and continue to use its resources to recruit worldwide.
Its professional recruitment videos attempt to glamorize the lifestyle of ISIS militants and promote the message that only in the Islamic State can you truly live properly as a Muslim.
In 2014, ISIS released multiple recruiting videos in English, highlighting some of the young Westerners who left their home countries to join the militant group and pleading for more people from the West to join.
The videos featured a 20-year-old British medical student and a young Canadian man, both of which left their lives in the West as teenagers to join ISIS and claim to be prospering in the Islamic State.
“Come to Jihad and feel the honor that we are feeling, feel the happiness that we are feeling,” an ISIS fighter exclaimed in the recruiting video.
It is a clear attempt to appeal to millennials who may be feeling lost in the hustle and bustle of the Western world and it seems to be working.
Repeatedly, young Westerners have viewed these videos and engaged with ISIS on social media, ultimately leading them to leave their lifestyles of freedom in the West to join the horrifically violent group, known for their rape of women and children, murder of Westerners, and violence against Christians and “non-believers.”
It is estimated that over 3,400 ISIS militants have moved from Western countries, including the United States, to fight for ISIS.
Most recently, a young newlywed couple was arrested in Mississippi for allegedly attempting to use honeymoon travel as a cover-up to leave the United States and join ISIS in Syria and a young New Jersey man was arrested for allegedly conspiring to provide support to the Islamic State.
While Western governments continue to monitor the flow of travel of ISIS recruits, it is not clear whether they will be able to reverse the trend and counteract the savvy recruiting techniques being used by ISIS to target millennials.
Madison Gesiotto is a staff editor for the Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law.