CNN anchor Carol Costello aired a segment on Wednesday that described how the Islamic State terrorist group has been using emojis and images of Nutella and kittens on social media to lure women into its all-female brigade.
Costello said that Western women are among the most “sought after targets.”
“But how do you relay your message of jihad in a way Westerners understand?” Costello said. “Well, you turn to the language of social media, and that seems to be working just fine for ISIS. ISIS is talking online about jars of Nutella, pictures of kittens and emojis.”
Costello then explained the possible rationale for this.
“These three images are — in part — helping ISIS recruiters lure Westerners into their fight because they want people to believe their life on the battlefield isn’t so different than yours,” Costello said. “They actually eat Nutella and I guess they have pet kittens.”
Costello also spoke with guest Nimmi Gowrinathan, a visiting professor at City College New York, who, according to Costello, is an expert on women and sexual violence.
Gowrinathan noted that the impetus for some women who join the Islamic State is the desire to “have a sense of belonging” when their “political rights are being taken away.”
She also pointed out that there’s a tendency to look at recruited women and to analyze their individual pasts in order to understand why they chose to join the group as opposed to looking at the larger scale suppression of women.
“All the young women out there now, the women who are disenfranchised, the women who are being raped, the women who are under repressive states, who are under militarization,” Gowrinathan said. “What are their lives like? What is making them need to join a movement like this?”