PHOENIX — The Islamic State has gained power in Iraq and Syria through old-fashioned warfare, but its new-age recruiting tactics have federal officials in Arizona concerned.
“They use social media like Twitter and YouTube to get attention,” Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, president and founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, said. “It’s all about getting attention and shaking the trees and doing some acts.”
The Federal Bureau of Investigation said it has active investigations into both ISIS supporters and lone-wolf terrorists affiliated with the group in Arizona. The agency would not specify how many cases it has opened.
“Its recruitment tools and its communication and its ability and allure comes from social media,” Arizona Police Association Executive Director Levi Bolton said. “The threat of lone wolves and the threat of extreme tactics are now playing at a theater near us.”
ISIS goes online
The media-savvy group’s message is designed to echo with young Muslims living within the United States. A 13-minute video titled “There is no Life Without Jihad” features several English-speaking militants calling for Americans to join their cause.
“Oh, my brothers living in the West, I know how you feel,” a militant said in the video. “When I used to live there, in the heart you feel depressed. All my brothers, come to jihad, feel the honor we are feeling, feel the happiness that we are feeling.”
At least two Americans with ties to the U.S. military have been arrested after allegedly attempting to join ISIS overseas and some speculate the group is adding as many as 1,000 fighters monthly.
Jasser told KTAR he had received online threats from people identifying with the group.
“He said, ‘You know I’m a few miles down the street from your medical office, how about if I come and post the Islamic flag on your nose,'” he said. The tweet was reported to the FBI.