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Tabatha Southey. (Deborah Baic/The Globe and Mail)
Tabatha Southey. (Deborah Baic/The Globe and Mail)

Tabatha Southey

How the crazies and the pundits give IS exactly what it wants Add to ...

Given that Islamic State is a brutal, repugnant terrorist organization responsible for innumerable deaths and that the position offers no remuneration, I was surprised to see how many people jumped at the chance to work for it, but they did.

It was as if, in killing 129 people in Paris, the group also known as ISIS put up banner ads: Are You Looking to Work From Home? Want Flexible Hours and a Dreary New Non-Employment Opportunity? Want to be Your Own Boss? But Short of That, Are You Content to do the Bidding of Some of the Most Malignant Specimens of Humanity on Earth? Here’s How!

Did the clown who allegedly attacked a Muslim woman as she picked up her children from a Toronto school on Monday earn some kind of IS-reward points for his efforts? I don’t imagine he was concerned that his actions threaten to make thousands of Canadians worry about fulfilling this casual, sometimes happy parental obligation, but did he at least anticipate how much that story would play in the IS-sympathetic corners of social media? It must have been like a new Adele song dropped.

Did the man actually dressed as an evil comic-book clown who was arrested Thursday in Montreal for allegedly threatening to kill one Muslim person a week get a chance to win a trip to Hawaii?

It seems fair that these guys should get something from the killers they abetted; these amateur IS-recruitment officers were, after all, doing exactly what IS wants them to do.

Those suicide bombers in Paris and Beirut were loss leaders for IS, expended to draw attention to the enterprise and bring people in, and every attack on a Muslim or a mosque is like a goddamn Super Bowl ad for extremism.

The message IS wants broadcast is that Muslims will never be welcome anywhere but the “state” IS works to paint as a necessary Muslim homeland.

Essentially, dozens of recruitment posters were printed this week, all helping to bolster IS’s claim that Muslims cannot live among non-Muslims, despite what a walk around my neighbourhood and many other wonderful neighbourhoods around the world proves.

Also working overtime for IS’s PR machine this week was former speechwriter for President George W. Bush and current senior editor at The Atlantic, David Frum. Despite the fact it appears that none of the people involved in the Paris massacre were Syrian refugees (statistically, refugees are among the groups least likely to commit acts of terror), Mr. Frum tweeted: “We must accept these peace-loving refugees from ISIS or else they will get very angry and try to kill us.”

What was the thought process there, Mr. Frum? “Good morning, I helped to provide justification for the Iraq war but I still don’t have quite enough blood on my hands, so I’d like to take a moment to characterize an entire nation of people as terrorists, thereby helping to ensure that the most vulnerable among them will suffer”?

Were you simply constrained by Twitter’s character limit there, Mr. Frum? Basic human decency and professionalism were clearly not issues for you.

Mr. Frum’s tweet may literally be the worst joke ever made, and it would be even if it didn’t spread just the kind of disinformation that actual IS murderers labour to disseminate.

What he should know, or admit to knowing, is that IS is not overly keen on Syrians escaping Syria. The optics are bad.

If you’re trying to position yourself globally as a utopian caliphate, Muslims running away from you as fast as they possibly can at grave risk to their lives is seriously bad press.

Muslims fleeing, not embracing you as an even marginally better alternative to the government that won’t stop bombing them, does not look good, and IS is acutely aware of this; no one wants would-be Syrian refugees kept in Syria more than does IS.

David Frum, among others, appears happy to help them out. David Frum: Unpaid Intern of The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

There’s method to IS’s macabre dramaturgy. They want to be depicted as the authentic Muslims, as some evil mystical empire with whom the West is at war, and volunteers queue up to help them.

In reality, IS’s progeny is recruited more at the malls than at the mosques and, in both their youthful demographic and their disaffection distorted into a kind of grotesque idealism, the recruits can seem more like murderous groupies than anything else.

In mentality and, to a certain extent, military capability, IS is more massive Manson family than major martial force.

Their lifeblood is the gratuitous message amplification so many proffer.

Big IS shout-out to Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall, as well, for helping to stigmatize Syrian refugees and for suggesting that the appropriate response to terrorist intimidation tactics is to drop everything and be intimidated.

That’s exactly what his calls for additional security screening of Syrian refugees on top of the measures already in place do – measures that Michel Coulombe, director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, this week called “robust ... and appropriate.”

The grassroots efforts on IS’s behalf should not be overlooked this week, either; every vile, racist tweet sent is like a bake sale held on IS’s behalf; and, speaking of sales, Sun TV detritus YouTube channel, Rebel TV, is offering black-and-white, very much IS-on-brand “Fuck ISIS” hats, T-shirts and coffee mugs.

This Christmas, Rebel TV wants you to say it with massacre merch.

Former Sun TV personality Ezra Levant high-tailed it to Paris this week to whine that its citizens continue, in the aftermath of last week’s horror, to be philosophical and resolutely secular, and to drink wine in the cafés. Why must they be so French?

Mr. Levant, disappointed rage-tourist and unofficial ambassador for the IS agenda, did not seem to like the fact that the attacks did not bring Paris to its knees. He is perturbed by your joie de vivre, France, by your determination to not let terrorists change you into a vicious, angry, funhouse mirror of your attackers.

President François Hollande announced the country will accept 30,000 refugees as planned.

Vive la France, and, terrorism dilettantes, go find meaningful employment.

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Follow on Twitter: @TabathaSouthey

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