On June 21st at 7 pm, Javier Lesaca, expert on media and public affairs at George Washington University, will launch his new book: Armas de Seducción Masiva- La factoría audiovisual del Estado Islámico para fascinar a la generación millennial in Casa Árabe, Madrid. He will be accompanied by Félix Sanz Roldán, Director of the Spanish National Intelligence Service. Lesaca’s book focuses on the ways in which Daesh has fundamentally changed the methods of terrorist organizations by making an innovative use of audiovisual means to spread its message and recruit young fighters. These new “weapons of mass seduction” have managed to channel the frustration and political void of the new generations and forced governments to modify their strategic approach to counter terrorism in an effort to win the battle for the “hearts and minds” of the people. According to his findings, Daesh adapts its messages for its targeted audience very carefully and aims at presenting the group as a grassroots movement that focuses on the provision of basic services. Most of the videos of the organization do not depict violent scenes, but actually show examples of good governance or interviews with locals who explain what drove them to join the terrorist group.
Club de Madrid´s program Preventing Violent Extremism: Leaders Telling a Different Story seeks to combat extremist messaging by promoting positive counter-narratives and strengthening civil society in vulnerable areas. Mr. Lesaca actively provides his expert advice on this subject matter by analyzing the communication strategy of Boko Haram and Daesh in Nigeria, Lebanon and Tunisia. His book perfectly illustrates the vast array of extremist recruitment techniques and sheds some light on the many challenges that the world will face in the near future in the fight against violent extremism.