NEW YORK (CNN) – As ISIS charts its murderous course through Syria and Iraq, its brutality plain to see as jihadists post their exploits on social media. In Europe there are worrying signs of support for the group now calling itself ‘Islamic state’.
Most recently, a stall set up on London’s Oxford Street for distributing leaflets announcing the re-establishment of the Khilafa or caliphate calling on Muslims to pledge allegiance to the newly appointed Khaleef.
A thinly veiled reference, presumably, to the self-declared head of Islamic state, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
The men handing out these leaflets are students of radical London preacher Anjem Choudary. “There’s nowhere in that leaflet which says go and fight with people, go and train for jihad of anything of that nature,” Choudary said.
The plight of those in Gaza seems to have been used in Europe’s pro-Palestinian rallies as an opportunity for ISIS sympathizers to show their true colors.
Two rallies last month in the Netherlands, where the black flag of Islamic state waved with calls for death to the Jews.
At a pro-Palestinian demonstration in London’s blackwall tunnel, a black flag in amongst the cars and the chaos. And the oxford street stall set up to coincide with a pro-Palestinian rally through central London.
“We won’t tolerate Nazis standing on the street corner saying let’s kill all the Jews and black people would we? So this is an organization which believes in selling women as sex slaves and murdering people and chopping heads off so I don’t think we should tolerate that in central London, said Ghaffar Hussain of the Quilliam Foundation.
But Islamic state’s recruitment efforts have paid off so far. There are some 2,000 European recruits already in Syria, the largest contingents from France and Britain.
Online message boards like this one where Britain’s jihadist wannabes can ask questions. One man asking whether you can choose the role of executioner when you’re out there.
Britain has clear rules which prohibit the glorification of terrorism and London’s metropolitan police are investigating whether handing out leaflets which support ISIS, even without naming the terror group, constitutes a crime.
But even as they try to stop the flow of fighters towards the killing fields in Iraq and Syria, the greater concern that those already out there will bring jihad back home.