UAH political science professor weighs in on ISIS propaganda

Published: Nov. 20, 2015 at 11:20 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 18, 2015 at 11:32 PM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Disturbing videos of a Time Square bombing or of the Eiffel Tower collapsing are just the beginning when it comes to ISEL propaganda circulating online.

"It's very convenient for them to reach out their ideas to a bigger, wider audience," Political scientist Shuang Zhau said.

It's not the first time a terrorist network has used social media to spread their message and recruit fighters. Al Qaeda did the same, however a political science professor for UAH says ISIS has a much larger cyber presence than Al Qaeda ever did.

"The level and skill that they use is historically high so I think that makes a difference," Zhau said.

From monthly newsletter to twitter profiles, ISIS is spreading their message around the world. What makes fighting terrorist organizations online so daunting is terrorists can just create new accounts.

"I can identify the websites that are spreading terrorism ideas, I can shut down the website but the next day it will just appear somewhere else," Zhau said.

A strong online presence is also a reason why political scientists say keeping out refugees won't do any good. ISIS supports could be Americans living in this country and contacting ISIS through social media.

Hoover native Hoda Muthene, for example, allegedly connected with ISIS online and flew to Syria to join the terrorist organization.

"I just don't think stopping refugees is going to solve the problem, and given the scale of network they're already developing and the depths and widths of the audiences they have been reaching," Zhau said.

Zhau says ISIS has become too big for any one nation to handle alone. She says countries will have to come together to shut down the problem

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