JERUSALEM – In addition to an up-front bonus of $4,000, the Islamic State is promising new recruits free housing and even matchmaking assistance for those interested in getting married, Breitbart Jerusalem has learned.
Even though the oil-rich radical organization hasn’t been short of new members, recruiters in Syria, Iraq, and elsewhere use money as an incentive, on top of radical theology and militant propaganda.
Khaled K., a resident of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, known by his jihadi nom de guerre Abu Obaida, told Breitbart Jerusalem that he recently received a phone call from a friend who joined IS in 2011.
The friend, known as “Abu Elbaraa of Gaza,” praised “the wonderful life in the caliphate,” and said that IS offers a $4,000 “joining bonus,” as well as free housing and help in finding a bride.
Other IS members confirmed the $4,000 bonus and said those joining the global group from abroad enjoy a monthly salary of $1,200, as opposed to the $800 salary for “local” recruits – those from Iraq and Syria. The IS members denied recent reports of salary cutbacks.
Last week, Breitbart Jerusalem reported on a transnational wedding that took place online when a Gaza-based jihadi married a Syrian Islamic State fighter from Raqqa, Iraq.
At the ceremony, officiated by proxy last Sunday, the groom was represented by his brother, an IS fighter himself. Several other fighters from Gaza were witnesses, participants said.
The newlywed, Omar, watched the ceremony on Skype with his family. He has tried to leave Gaza for Syria for some time, so far to no avail.
Omar told Breitbart Jerusalem the match was made by IS members. He said it was a “great privilege” to marry a “well bred” woman, adding that hopefully “the day we will all live under the rule of the [IS] Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi will come soon.”
A study released earlier this month by the London-based analysis firm IHS found that IS took in some $80 million per month in income in 2015. Half of the monthly revenue came from taxation and confiscation of property and businesses, while production and smuggling of oil and gas accounted for about 43%, the study found.
The same study said that IS had to cut the salaries of fighters and impose harsher taxation policies to make up for revenue lost as a result of Western airstrikes targeting the terrorist group’s oil infrastructure.
“ISIS controls the state, so they tax the population, confiscate property, can produce income from state-run businesses and from oil and gas. Other terrorist groups don’t have that,” stated Columb Strack, a senior analyst at IHS.