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The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria’s (ISIS) strategy to use English-speaking Westerns and social media to recruit militants is unprecedented. ISIS has used World Cup hashtags on Twitter and Facebook to spread propaganda and generate death threats. The group’s adoption of new media could be seen as a move better to compete with rival militant groups.
A recent ISIS propaganda video features Andre Poulin, a Canadian who converted to Islam and later traveled to Syria to join the fight against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. In the video, Poulin discussed his normal upbringing, but he also discussed his need to support the Jihadi cause, insisting that “life in Canada was not religiously fulfilling.” Adding, “before I come here to Syria, I had money, I had family, I had good friends, I had colleagues. You know I worked as a street janitor — I made over $2,000 a month at this job. It was a very good job, a very good job.”