Islamic State has an English-language radio broadcast that sounds eerily like NPR – The Washington Post
“We thank our listeners for tuning in and present the following Islamic State news bulletin.”
That is how thousands of listeners are greeted when they tune into al-Bayan, the Islamic State radio broadcast that delivers the Islamic State news from a smooth, male voice with an American accent.
The news bulletin, delivered through Twitter and other social media sites, is yet another avenue the Islamic State has used to up its recruitment and get even more people to join in its fight to create a caliphate.
The radio segment eerily sounds like an NPR news program — it leads with “a glimpse of the main headlines,” followed by updates from the various “wilayats,” or states, of the Islamic State in Syria, Iraq and beyond.
The program then ends with a recap of the headlines and then another thank you to “listeners for tuning in.”
But behind the savvy production, professional tone and soothing background music lurks a more sinister message: The bulletins, distributed in English and in Arabic, calmly detail the attacks the Islamic State carried out, the suicide bombings by their fighters and the deaths of opposition groups.
When a suicide bomber’s attack is announced on the program, it is always followed by a wish that Allah would accept him as a martyr. Take this June 1 broadcast– the news of a militant attack in Misrata, Libya, that left five dead the previous day was listed under news from “Wilayat Tarabulus,” an Islamic State stronghold in Libya.
Our brother Abū Wahīb at-Tūnusī carried out an istishhādī operation targeting Fajr Libya fighters at the Dafniyyah gate located between Misrātah and Zulaytin in Wilāyat Tarābulus. May Allah accept him amongst the shuhadā’.
The news bulletin also includes the execution of spies, rockets aimed at opposition groups, snipers that killed Kurdish fighters and any victories over what the announcer calls “strategic” points, cities or villages.
Along with Islamic State successes, attacks from opposition forces are also listed. But unlike the death tolls from Islamic State assaults, deaths of Muslims or children are always highlighted as the casualties from attacks carried out by the militant group’s enemies. From the June 1 bulletin:
Safawī-crusader coalition warplanes bombed Masjid Shākir ad-Dāhī, and commercial buildings in the Fallūjah market, which resulted in several Muslims, including children, being killed and injured, and led to extensive damage to Muslim property.
Listing news from regions beyond Iraq and Syria, these broadcasts highlight the rapidly growing “wilayats,” or states, that the jihadists now either control or have an affiliated militant group that is extremely active. The attacks in regions far beyond the original Islamic State-controlled cities are clearly mentioned, emphasizing the group’s increasing influence.
But the even more disturbing notion these broadcasts highlight is one of the biggest struggles that forces fighting the militants face: Their growing propaganda machine has morphed into a powerful tool that has attracted more than 20,000 fighters from all around the world, inspired attacks in places like Bangladesh to Texas, and has resulted in thousands of supporters far beyond Syria and Iraq.
In fact, data by the Brookings institution shows that Saudi Arabia has the largest number of Twitter accounts by Islamic State supporters.
The Islamic extremist propaganda is leaps and bounds ahead of the dispatches of Osama bin-Laden in a cave, but even more recently, it is a clear example of “how far the hardcore Islamic propaganda machine has come since 2012, when an aging Frenchman posed in front of a jihadi flag and threatened France in the name of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb,” according to the Associated Press.
While Islamic State’s use of flourishes, U.S. propaganda has struggled to keep up. Read the previous story here.