Article

June 4th, 2015

Why an author went undercover as an Islamic State recruit – Class Discussion

By Jordan Mambert

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), is an extremist militant group that is capturing and occupying territories in northern Iraq and Syria. The group has spread its message and propaganda online in the hopes of recruiting young people from around the globe. An author by the pseudonym Anna Erelle posed online as a new recruit for ISIL and published a book called “In the Skin of a Jihadist” about her experiences. Show students the PBS NewsHour report on Erelle’s work (above), then ask them the following questions in a class discussion.

Why might the author change her name for this report?

Why might ISIS want to recruit young people in particular?

Why might some young people be drawn to join ISIL?

Why do you think the author pretended to be an ISIL recruit?

What is capitalism? Does ISIL practice capitalism?

Why was the author surprised by the man’s request to buy cologne? What does this have to do with capitalism?

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