Indonesian Hucksters Selling ISIS Kitsch to Jihadists Online
As the jihadist terror group the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) has made major gains in northern Iraq and Syria, jihadists across the globe have used social media to promote their cause more effectively than any such group before. Such popularity has prompted a boom in the ISIS t-shirt, figurine, and apparel industry of Indonesia.
T-shirts with slogans such as "I Love Jihad" and "Fight Against Zionists" are all the rage on websites specializing in jihadist gear. The New York Post notes that many of the shirt display images of automatic weapons and jihadists with their faces covered. Many of the websites specializing in jihadist gear advertised on Facebook, before the social media site cracked down on the trend. Facebook spokesman Israel Hernandez told the Post, “At Facebook, we have rules that bar direct statements of hate, attacks on private individuals and groups, and the promotion of terrorism."
Their removal from Facebook has not resulted in an end to the terrorist t-shirt trade. Websites like Zirah Moslem, Rezi MLTN, and Kaos Islamic State of Iraq and Sham continue to operate and sell a number of startlingly bold items for jihadists looking to publicly express their beliefs. At Rezi MLTN, users can purchase this ISIS figurine for little more than $4:
ZirahMoslem.com sells a t-shirt featuring intimidating-looking jihadists and the slogan "Mujahadeen Around the World: United We Stand," with a design disturbingly similar to Western marketing intended to target young boys:
That Indonesia is the origin of many-- if not most-- of these jihadist paraphernalia shops is yet another sign that ISIS's appeal to radical Islamists is something significantly more potent than that of previous jihadist groups. Indonesian authorities have begun cracking down on jihadists, though being a member of such a group is legal there, and Jakarta's police chief has announced that law enforcement authorities believe 56 Indonesian citizens are currently fighting alongside ISIS in Iraq. While police are anticipating their return to arrest them, the chief notes that they mostly entered Syria and Iraq illegally: "They went there claiming to be students or humanitarian workers to cover their real intentions. So, when they return to Indonesia they will also use illegal means."
In addition to manpower on the ground in Syria and Iraq, jihadists on Twitter have posted a number of photos of what they claim are rallies supporting ISIS in Indonesia. The images are not confirmed by Breitbart News, but indicate a clear will by some within the ISIS movement to include Southeast Asia (nowhere near the province of the dubious territory 'al-Sham') in the war for Islamism.
Jihadists individually have also found Twitter to be their enemy, as the company struggles to delete the most offensive ISIS postings, but Twitter administrators can only delete posts so quickly, and many of the most egregious propaganda postings remain.