ISIS Now Selling Jihad With Twitter Account Full of Adorable Kittens
Much has been made of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham's (ISIS) ability to use the internet to promote their cause. Unlike jihadist predecessors, ISIS has used everything from comedy internet memes to pictures of small children allegedly supporting the cause--and now, their latest effort involves kittens.
The Twitter account "Islamic State of Cat" (@ISILCats) appeared on Twitter on June 25, and it is exactly what it sounds like: an account which posts photos of cats alongside terrorist jihadists. Some photos merely showcase the kittens themselves, while others shows jihadists snuggling or playing with kittens-- cat in one hand, automatic weapon in the other.
It has not been independently confirmed that the account is run officially by ISIS or whether a supporter has organized the effort. It does not appear to be an account parodying ISIS's other social media efforts, as it posts earnest calls to jihad as well, and posts lionizing individual jihadists in particular.
The Global Post describes the accounts owners as "supporters of ISIS." The account appears to be directly influenced by the American website "I Can Haz Cheezburger," which posts photos of cats and other small animals with interior monologues. In the ISIS version, those interior monologues say things like "I Luvs My Mujahid." It also notes that cats can participate in Islamic activities, like drinking from the water of ablution:
Islamic State of Cat is yet another sign that ISIS, unlike its predecessors, is not only fluent in Western internet language but willing to engage with Westerners in their language. ISIS also launched a less frivolous media project intended for a Western audience in English, French, and German titled Al-Hayat, which publishes a monthly magazine intended to keep sympathizers of jihad updated on ISIS's advances. That magazine uses more traditional imagery to promote the cause: mass executions, severed heads, and the violence usually attributed to terrorist propaganda.
Al-Hayat is, nonetheless, run by Western Islamists that left their home countries to fight jihad in Iraq and Syria, which is the key distinction between ISIS and similar groups. As the recently released ISIS production "There is No Life without Jihad" shows, ISIS's audience is disenchanted Muslim men in places like Australia and the UK, who will hear fellow young men their age state how happy killing and waging jihad makes them and be enticed to join the battle. Given the exceptionally high number of Westerners joining ISIS, the promise of the joys of jihad appears to be working-- and the free play time with kittens can't hurt, either.