There is no doubt that Daesh is crumbling in the Middle East. It’s lost vast swathes of territory along with many of its leaders and fighters. Clearly, great news for families in the Middle East, but there’s also a welcome knock-on effect for families protecting their loved ones here in the UK.
Research shows that in the space of a year, the terrorist group’s media output has dropped from 700 to 200 media items.
Daesh propaganda is vital to its mission of promoting its so-called Caliphate and attracting new recruits.
The terrorist organisation’s online material has been graphic and sophisticated, driven by high quality videos and a stream of social media posts.
But now, their resources are disappearing. Their senior strategist and chief spokesperson Abu Muhammad al-Adnani was killed in a US air strike last month.
Adnani was a key propagandist behind the stylised brutality in Daesh’s beheading and massacre videos, and he made explicit calls to Muslims in the West to coordinate attacks wherever and however they can.
The loss of territory is a real problem for Daesh propagandists because many of the geographical reference points in their communications have lost their relevance. Their special appeal was predicated on having a “successful” state, with particular towns and areas given great symbolism. Increasingly, their state is just virtual. A mirage.
What’s more, many social media platforms, including Twitter, have got tougher and smarter – acting quickly to take down and report Daesh-related posts and accounts. Even Google has launched an online project tackling terrorist propaganda by redirecting users to alternative resources.
But it’s important to note that the online battle is not over. Daesh are cunning – they often adapt well to new circumstances. And while there’s less material coming from Daesh itself, this may not diminish communications between radicalisers and their potential recruits.
In other words, we must remain vigilant. As families, we must support one another and understand how radicalisation works in the domestic space.
Our Web Guardians™ programme is designed to equip Muslim mothers with the essential skills to tackle dangerous influencers online. To find out more about Web Guardians™, visit our website (http://webguardians.org/). If you’re an organisation that is interested in partnering with us, please fill in our partnership form.