Islam, as a religion, has been effectively hijacked by Islamic State to gain support and legitimacy. Islam as a religion and identity is one of immense pride, with a proud history and culture that goes back for centuries. In this sense, we must consider Islam as terrorism’s first victim. As a result, given its appropriation, we must begin to think of these movements as having a degree of soft power: the Islamic religion.
Islamic State has soft power which is used to pursue its political goals and the establishment of a caliphate. We must begin to contemplate these movements with an appreciation for their soft power, not just for their hard power. It should therefore be the policy of those most affected by Islamic State to target the sources of its power.
Using social networks and soft power, the Islamic State is able to attract members, even those of democratic society, using Islam as a source of soft power. This attraction could begin as some curiosity, but also by some deep seeded feelings of political marginalisation and emptiness. Using their soft power to attract a potential lone wolf or women, for example, Islamic State preys upon those marginalised by society. By recruiting these people, the Islamic State can carry out attacks against the democratic powers as we have seen in the recent Canadian example. States do not matter now, networks in this case, are the most important movers of international outcomes…
Yes it is quite clear now that Islamic State is using the Internet to attract violent people to carry out attacks. Oddly enough, no other religion in the world is doing the same thing.