This week has seen a flurry of Islamic State videos, bearing the slogan “Where Are You Fleeing To?” — a push to stop migrants from fleeing war-torn Syria.
Titles in the series include “The Glory of the Caliphate or the Dishonor of the West,” “To the Camps of Abandonment,” and “Advice for Those Fleeing to the Land of Disbelief.” One features testimonies by Islamic State “residents” who used to live in Europe and decided to join the terrorists’ self-styled religious utopia. Another purports to show “man-on-the-street” interviews with locals, asking their opinion on migrating to Europe.
They all denounce Europe as a land of immorality and sin, urging Muslims to stay in their new divinely-anointed homeland. (RELATED: New ISIS Magazine Offers Prisoners ‘For Sale,’ Threatens Refugees)
In a third video, men grieve over a truckload of dead children, allegedly killed in Western airstrikes on Islamic State. A caption reads: “are you fleeing to those who bomb your children, while leaving the caliphate that protects you?”
It goes on to show footage of refugee children held in a pen by Hungarian police, and news coverage describing a truckload of refugees found suffocated to death in a van on Hungary’s border with Austria. By contrast, the video presents Islamic State’s ramshackle government as a refuge for oppressed Muslims from around the world.
And “To the Camps of Abandonment” states that according to Islamic State’s theology, Muslims who die leaving the self-declared caliphate, like so many refugees have done drowning the Mediterranean, are also denied paradise.
Islamic State’s propagandists have been attuned to the global news cycle ever since the group first gained notoriety. They have not shied away from commenting on world events, and if they sense not enough attention being paid to their terrorist activities, they unflinchingly act to re-enter the public eye on their own terms. (RELATED: ISIS’ New Shock Video Shows Just How Desperate They Are)
Each of the recent videos is attributed to a different “province” of Islamic State’s pseudo-caliphate, though they appear consistent in style. A key strategy of the group’s propagandists is to amplify the appearance of grassroots participation in the movement — hence the “man-on-the-street” appearances.
And by presenting a variety of arguments to dissuade would-be refugees, Islamic State is attempting to reach as many people as possible.
Western immigration skeptics have virtually nothing in common with Islamic State’s ideologues. But both seem to agree: Muslim migration to Europe is a horror to be discouraged at all costs.
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