Small Wars Journal

ISIS's Newest Recruiting Tool: Regional Languages

ISIS's Newest Recruiting Tool: Regional Languages by Krishnadev Calamur - The Atlantic

When ISIS claimed responsibility for the Easter attacks in Sri Lanka, it did so in Arabic and English—and in languages spoken in just a few regions across South Asia.

 

When ISIS claimed responsibility for the coordinated bombings in Sri Lanka that killed more than 350 people, it did so, as one would expect, in Arabic and English. But it also issued statements in other languages—including Tamil.

 

There is yet no independent verification of the terrorist group’s claim, but the pronouncement in a language spoken by about 70 million people, overwhelmingly in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu and in northern and eastern Sri Lanka, as well as in Malayalam, spoken by about 35 million people mostly in the southern Indian state of Kerala, suggests the organization has recruits fluent in what are essentially regional languages with relatively few speakers.

 

It is this sort of targeted outreach at which ISIS is particularly good: Like other militant groups, ISIS exploits weak governments, but it also capitalizes on disenfranchisement among Muslim minorities, speaks to their particular grievances, and looks to recruit educated professionals for its sophisticated propaganda efforts…

Read on.