Catalonian authorities detected a network of the Islamic State focusing on the recruitment of women to their cause. According to the report, the terrorist group uses the dark net and social media platforms to find women for their cause.
The Reporting Commissioner of the Mossos d’Esquadra (Catalonia’s police force – “Troopers” in English) detected a network of the ISIS that shown excessive interest in women. The report was published in a Catalonian newspaper a few days ago, which also disclosed an actual communication of a recruiter and a potential target. In the conversation, the Islamic State terrorist literally said: “You go into a meeting and start killing people.”
On Wednesday, law enforcement authorities arrested two Moroccan nationalities who had recruited two women for their cause. This is an example illustrating the trend observed by the anti-terrorist department of the Catalan police.
According to the report, the ability of the Islamic State to adjust their strategies by time “has no comparison” in the world. The news source brought the 2001 September 11 terrorist attack for example. The newspaper reported that Al-Qaida sought objectives that required months of planning in the attack against the World Trade Center in New York. However, the Islamic State seeks to use every resource to carry out as many attacks as they can, their objective is to create an “echo in the media”. To do so, the recruitment networks convince European citizens, most with Islamic roots, to kill indiscriminately. The report claimed that this is the most practical way for terrorists, as they have done in Nice, Berlin or London. The research says that the most conventional way of killing is ‘a truck or an SUV to run over a crowd of civilians.” With this in mind, the ISIS wants to recruit more women to their cause.
The report also explained that jihadist recruiters became more permissive with potential terrorists.
“They allow jihadists who have attempted to do forbidden things such as alcohol or, in the case of women, taking off the veil. This concept is not included in the Qur’an and is considered a ‘heresy’ in the Islamic world,” José Maria Gil Garre, an expert of the International Security Observatory (ISO), highlighted in a conference conducted by the Europa Press.
According to police sources, recruiters in Catalonia are looking for women who have a Muslim past and strive to “revive it” to exploit the concept of what they call “back to faith”. David Garriga, a jihadist terrorism analyst, described in a recent conference in Barcelona that the recruiters convince young people that they are special. Joan Anton Mellon, a professor of the University of Barcelona (UB), explained that the “epic” discourse of the Islamic State has entangled recruits since it offers the opportunity to “transcend” and “lead a protest”.
“I have not asked your name, I asked you who you are, and you’re the chosen one,” this was a phrase law enforcement authorities captured from a conversation between a potential recruit and a jihadist.
In 2016, Catalan law enforcement authorities detected 40 references to “Al-Andalus” jihadist messages spread by the propaganda machine of the Islamic State. Officers detected the dark web, social networks like Facebook, Youtube or Twitter (these companies agreed in 2017 to track and remove content generated by jihadist) as the channels of communications between the jihadists and their potential recruits.
Foreign Terrorists Fighters (FTF) are citizens of European countries, even being outside the wars of Syria or Iraq, the report says. They have traveled there to enlist to the Islamic State, but many have died. However, others have returned to their countries of origin. The research claims that there is evidence of about 2,000 returnees, mostly in Belgium and France. According to the Center for Intelligence against Organized Crime and Terrorism (CITC), there are approximately 200 FTF terrorists, a large percent of these are located in Catalonia. Authorities claim that all of them are “under police monitoring”, although “not detained” for “various reasons”.
There is a concern that FTFs may have returned with instructions to “sleep” after one season and “attack” in Catalonia. The report also claims that they can also be “magnets” to facilitate the recruitment of new jihadists since young people are impressed by the “aura of the warrior.”