The terrorist group ISIS has released an Android app that teaches children the Arabic alphabet through a series of references to weapons and jihad. The app is being used to target children and indoctrinate them at a young age. The app is not available on the Google Play store and is being circulated and advertised by Al Bayan Radio, a news broadcaster affiliated with the terrorist group.
The app is designed to brainwash young children under the guise of educating them on the Arabic alphabet. The Long War Journal explains how the app works.
The app has games for memorizing and how to write the Arabic letters in addition to including a nasheed (a cappella Islamic songs) designed to help teach the alphabet. The lyrics in the nasheed are littered with jihadist terminology, while other games within the app also include militaristic vocabulary with more common, basic words. Words like ‘tank,’ ‘gun,’ and ‘rocket’ are among the first few taught within the application.
Al Bayan Radio plans to distribute the app by advertising for it on FM frequencies in the Middle East. The station is a major distributor of pro-ISIS news and propaganda in the area. They also plan to spread the app by advertising it on several websites and social networks frequented by ISIS members.
The app is available on major app stores and can only be accessed through shared files on pro-ISIS message boards and websites. This is the first app that directly targets children but it is not the first app developed by the group nor is it their first attempt at indoctrinating children at a young age. ISIS has released textbooks with a similar premise and has released apps aimed at adults and current ISIS members in the past.
Screen shots from the app can be seen below:
Experts are concerned that apps like this and attempts to indoctrinate children may have long lasting effects on Islamic extremism in the area. They believe that even if ISIS is defeated the children exposed to this propaganda will be nearly impossible to return to a rational mindset.
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