Rukmini Callimachi Profile picture
Apr 26, 2018 9 tweets 4 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
1. Hello everyone, Chapter 2 of #Caliphate is now up on iTunes, Spotify etc. In this episode, we explore the ideas - boiled down to three religious concepts- that are used to lure potential recruits to ISIS.…
2. I’d spoken to numerous ISIS recruits and had a general sense of how the recruitment worked. But it wasn’t until I sat down with former al-Qaeda recruiter @_JesseMorton that it began to make sense. After being released from jail, Jesse has worked to deradicalize others.
3. Read about Jesse’s journey out of extremism below:…
4. Just today, @_JesseMorton published a piece on Revolution Muslim, the group he used to run which lured numerous future attackers to al-Qaeda. It’s co-authored by the official at NYPD @MitchSilber who used to track Jesse:…
5. Among the concepts @_JesseMorton used to lure people to extreme Islam was the concept of “al wala wal bara” which has a long history dating hundreds of years & was revived & propagated by the Wahhabi school in Saudi. It calls for believers to show enmity to non believers
6. How do we know ISIS used this concept too? For one because we found this book in Mosul, which Iraqi security forces gave us permission to take. It’s a book by a 19th c Wahhabi scholar, who helped develop the concept of al wala wal bara. ISIS also published it online.
7. To better understand this concept, I reached out to the erudite @colebunzel. He explained that al wala wal bara means “loyalty and enmity.” It enjoins Muslims to only show love and loyalty to members of their faith and to reject everyone else. Every faith has a version of this
8. But groups like ISIS, and al-Qaeda before it, mandate this behavior. It’s not enough to be a believer. You are only a true believer if you reject - show hatred, and in the case of jihadist groups you translate that to violence - toward everyone else.
9. In Chapter 2 today, you will hear how this concept was used by ISIS to recruit a young Canadian. @nytimes listeners get to listen right away to Chapter 3, at the following link where you learn how this concept and others translate into violence:…

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More from @rcallimachi

Sep 12, 2018
1. Do you remember the days when the news alerts announcing terror attacks seemed to come one after another? So here’s the good news: Terror attacks carried out in the name of ISIS in the West have dropped dramatically. (Read next tweet for the bad news).…
2. Data collected by @gwupoe shows a steep drop in successful ISIS attacks in Europe and America, from 14 in 2015, to 22 in 2016, to 27 in 2017, to —- wait for this — just four in the first eight months of 2018. It’s an absolutely jaw-dropping decline:
3. Politicians looking to score points have attributed drop to the Coalition’s gains against ISIS on the battlefield. Yesterday in Syria, troops began the offensive on the town of Hajin, the last oasis of ISIS control in the region. ISIS has lost all but 1% of land they once held
Read 11 tweets
Sep 11, 2018
1. Today, the Coalition fighting ISIS announced the start of the operation to take back the town of Hajin, the last sliver of land under the group’s control in Iraq and Syria:…
2. From a territory once the size of Britain, ISIS has lost all but 1% of its land holdings in Iraq & Syria. The Coalition-back Syrian Democratic Forces are now clearing the last 200 sq. miles of ISIS real estate. What ISIS still holds is concentrated around the town of Hajin
3. Once this parcel of land is erased, ISIS will hold no land in the region where its caliphate was born. Cause for celebration? It’s a big achievement which came at a huge cost (thousands of soldiers & civilians killed & 29,000 airstrikes which decimated cities like Raqqa/Mosul)
Read 8 tweets
Sep 10, 2018
1. Some big news: I found the first cache of ISIS documents during an embed with Iraqi troops in the village of Omar Khan in 2016. From that day until now, I’ve struggled with the question of how to make the records we discovered & saved available both to Iraqis & to the public?
2. My team returned to Iraq five times, spending months in the field, collecting some 15,000+ pages of internal ISIS records. It took 3 months for a professional scanner in Delaware to digitize them, and last week, the trove was handed over to Iraq via it’s embassy in Washington.
3. And after a monthslong search, the New York Times has signed a partnership with George Washington University, one of the premiere institutions studying terrorism. They will be creating a virtual library of the trove, so that it is available to everyone:…
Read 10 tweets
Aug 7, 2018
1. Twenty years ago today, al-Qaeda bombed the U.S embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, killing scores of people and inaugurating the era of global terror, where jihadists sought to kill Westerners and anyone allied with them at all four corners of the world.
2. One iteration of that movement took the lives of a young American couple who were biking around the world. Just over a week ago in Tajikistan, they were crushed to death by a car driven by men who appear to have pledged allegiance to ISIS:…
3. We rarely have time to delve into the lives of the victims. This week, I took the time, moved by the remarkable life of Jay Austin & Lauren Geoghegan, who quit their office jobs a year ago in order to be more present and to fulfill a dream of biking around the world.
Read 19 tweets
Jul 31, 2018
6. They hold hands and pledge allegiance to “Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi al-Husseini al-Quraishi,” the long honorific for the ISIS leader. At their feet is a knife. Can you spot it?
7. Here’s what’s interesting: The Tajik ministry released a statement saying they had killed several of the attackers, & included photographs of their bodies. Compare the blond assailant in the ISIS pledge video and the picture that the ministry released:
8. The ministry’s statement is below and if you scroll through it, you can see several other attackers that look similar to the ones in the video:…
Read 8 tweets
Jul 31, 2018
1. In addition to claiming responsibility for the hit-and-run in Tajikistan, ISIS also released a video purporting to show the five attackers pledging allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi:…
2. Of the hundreds of attacks worldwide that ISIS has issued claims for, it has only released a pledge video for a minority. While the video doesn’t mean the attack was directed by ISIS, it does mean the attackers at a minimum had a digital connection to the group
3. We’ve often seen cases where governments rejected any ISIS link, only for the video or photos to emerge, making it hard to deny that the attacker at the very least had a cyberconnection to the terrorist group. Examples include the Berlin & Wurzburg attack& Holey Artisan Bakery
Read 5 tweets

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