RAQQA, SYRIA—In an effort to appeal to those seeking some kind of spiritual significance in their lives, a large group within the Islamic State has begun a push to become more relevant and seeker-sensitive by watering down their traditionally-harsh message.
The movement will attempt to appeal more to seekers by offering coffee, giveaways, and relevant video clips at a number of planned community events, instead of just running with their usual, murderous message of death and destruction. “It’s not that we don’t believe our caliphate is destined to crush all who oppose Islam—we do, most assuredly,” authentically-unmasked ISIS insider Tariq al Hassan told reporters. “But we just feel we need to engage our culture in a way that speaks to their felt needs, rather than lopping their heads off or shooting them in the chest at the first sign of opposition.”
ISIS meetings within the new seeker-sensitive movement feel less like radical terrorist cells working themselves up into a furor, and more like a laid-back meeting at a local halal coffee shop. Potential new members will find themselves offered swag such as trucker hats, coffee mugs, and “Muhammed is my homeboy” t-shirts, while sipping lattes and listening to messages of love and acceptance in the hip, modern atmosphere. Gone are the public executions traditionally associated with such get-togethers, and in their place are short, practical messages, humorous life observations, and down-to-earth cell leaders who strive to be transparent and real with their followers.
When asked if, despite their softened message, the group still confirms that submitting to Islam is the only way to Allah, al Hassan refused to be pinned down. “We’re all on journey together, and maybe slaughtering infidels by the thousands is right to me—but is it right for you? That’s a question only you and Allah can answer together.”