Brutal beheadings recorded on video by the Islamic State are intended to terrorize the group’s enemies, but are also angering and alienating the Muslims the group claims to represent.
For Rita Katz, director of extremist monitoring group SITE, releasing videos of the beheadings of U.S. journalists Steven Sotloff and James Foley before him “has a straightforward purpose from an analytical standpoint: intimidation. The brutality demonstrated in the video says: ‘Don’t mess with us.’”
Beheading has become almost a calling card for the Islamic State.
Ms. Katz said videos of the brutal tactic also served the “alarming” purpose of “recruitment to jihad,” by attracting a small minority of radicalized Muslims impressed by such violent excesses.
But for most in the Muslim world and elsewhere, the Islamic State’s tactics produce revulsion and anger.
“The acts and practices of IS in terms of beheadings and insulting minorities are at complete odds with the message of Islam and Muslim belief,” said Sheik Khaldun Araymit, secretary-general of Lebanon’s Supreme Islamic Council.
Muslims express similar feelings online, taking to Facebook and Twitter after each new Islamic State outrage.
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