The Islamic State (ISIS) has once again turned to technology to push its agenda, and this time around, they are targeting young children.
According to a report from The Guardian, ISIS recently released an app for children to learn basic Arabic. Called "Huroof," it introduces the letters of the Arabic alphabet, and each letter features a word or object that makes use of it.
Another report from the Long War Journal by Caleb Weiss cited that the app works on Android smartphones, although it is not available on the Google Play Store. According to the report, distribution of the app was done through file sharing websites and the Islamic State Telegram channels.
As described in a press release about the app, it is designed to teach young children the Arabic alphabet, also known as "huroof." The app features colorful illustrations that are usually attractive for young children. The Long War Journal however cited that the words introduced in the app's vocabulary include words such as "rocket," "tank," "gun," "bullet," "cannon" and "gun." One feature of the app is an a Capella song called a "nasheed" which according to The Long War Journal "are littered with jihadist terminology."
This is not the Islamic State's first foray into the use of high technology. The Islamic State is known for keeping up with the times, having previously released an application that featured propaganda-laced news and videos, mostly of what it considers battlefield victories and executions. This app also ran on Android and was discovered by a group of hackers called the Ghost Security Group, according to a Fortune report.
According to the Fortune report, ISIS' use of technology has had an impact on the number of supporters it has managed to gather for its militant causes. This is however its first attempt to reach out to children.
On the other hand, the messaging app Telegram has repeatedly taken down Isis-related channels on its site, in an effort to block the use of their platform for terrorist propaganda.