The Anti-Defamation League released Thursday a new report that explores the impact Islamic State and other Islamist terrorist groups have on domestic security in the United States.
Examining ISIS's sophisticated online recruitment techniques, the ADL's report "Homegrown Islamic Extremism in 2014: The Rise of ISIS & Sustained Online Recruitment," demonstrates how American citizens and residents can become easily radicalized.
According to the report, ISIS's digital strategies and expert use of social media have not only attracted thousand of recruits from around the world but have also helped Syria and Iraq become choice destinations for would-be terrorists.
The report also relays how broad ISIS's appeal can be, as evidenced by the diversity of the individuals responding to terrorist recruitment efforts in the US and those carrying out terror-related crimes on US soil.
For instance, the ages of the 25 individuals in the US linked to terrorist activity motivated by Islamic extremism range from 15 to 44. At least 88% of that group read, watched, or shared online extremist propaganda, while 32% of the group are females.
In addition the states with the highest numbers of ISIS recruits in 2014 were Minnesota, Virginia, California, Illinois and North Carolina – all different regions of the contiguous United States – with three individuals from each state.
“As the nation and the world turn their attention to the Countering Violent Extremism Summit in Washington, DC, we are pleased to see that the White House is taking the rapidly expanding threat posed by online terrorist recruitment seriously," the ADL's National Director, Abraham Foxman, said.
"The spreading influence of ISIS and related groups on social media is a most serious concern."
The ADL's report also provided examples of how anti-Semitism continues to be one of the fundamental components of terrorist propaganda online.
They listed ISIS, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and Al Qaeda Central as all using anti-Semitic and/or anti-Israel propaganda, as a means of furthering their own mission and rallying foreign recruits.
This propaganda often includes "explicit calls for violence against distinctly Jewish targets around the world."
Oren Segal, Director of ADL’s Center on Extremism, said that, “A terrorist-free internet may not be possible, but understanding how terrorist networks exploit internet platforms and who is responding to such propaganda is the first step in mitigating the threat.”