Brand Caliphate and recruitment between the genders
Monroe, Brandi Lynn Evans
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Since the declaration of the Islamic State (IS) in 2014, men and women have been recruited to join the Caliphate in numbers surpassing those recruited by al Qaida. This variance in recruitment volume is likely attributable to the online propaganda campaign, Brand Caliphate. This thesis looks at the recruitment of women and asks if Brand Caliphate specifically targets females with its messaging, and if so, is the messaging effective? Based on a textual analysis of Brand Caliphate's propaganda, it appears IS tried to deliver messaging targeted toward females. However, six case studies of radicalized females suggests the recruitment of these women does not appear to be directly attributable to the targeted messaging. There is, however, evidence that most of the female recruitment studied linked to online radicalization and Brand Caliphate's broader messaging. All of the women studied did initially look online for information regarding IS. This initial outreach served to identify them as targets for radicalization by IS recruiters, who continued to persuade the females through direct online communication. Ultimately, a sense of belonging to a community, even if it exists online, served as a more powerful draw to potential recruits than the targeted messaging of Brand Caliphate.
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