Outsmarting Propaganda: Combatting the Lure of Extremist Recruitment Strategies

Anti-Defamation League

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It seems that terrorism and extremism in a variety of forms are always in the news. Among other incidents, within the last year we have seen the recent terrorist attacks in Brussels, Belgium (March 22, 2016) Paris, France (November 13, 2015) and San Bernardino, CA (December 2, 2015) that were inspired by the terrorist groups ISIS and Al Qaeda, and the mass shooting of nine African American parishioners in Charleston, SC (June 17, 2015) by Dylann Roof, a man who espoused white supremacist ideology. Terrorist and extremist groups actively try to recruit new members to join their causes in a variety of ways and the Internet has been a powerful tool in their arsenal, especially when trying to entice young people to their cause. Terrorist and extremist groups and their supporters use websites and social media platforms to share propaganda and to foster a sense of community for supporters, which serves to amplify their perceived influence.

This high school lesson provides an opportunity for students to understand what propaganda is and how it is used, learn about domestic and international extremism and terrorism and their recruitment methodology and consider actions they can take to counter those strategies.

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