Starbucks, Pizza & Jihad: How 21st Century Terrorism is Capitalising on Western Pop Culture
In 2014, the world witnessed the rise of the Islamic State, a group who appeared to simultaneously wage war against the West and Middle East. This article has analysed ISIS attacks against the West, in order to demonstrate that most attacks are committed by inspired individuals rather than ISIS’s members. This article will then add to the ever-growing literature on ISIS’s English language propaganda, by showing this propaganda is specifically targeting Western audiences through mimicking Western pop culture. An example of this is a remake of the popular videogame Call of Duty, set in Syria named Call of Jihad. The paper argues that, by using Western imagery, the group has made terrorism more relatable to Western citizens and has increased the number of attacks by inspired lone wolfs. To demonstrate this, the paper uses data extrapolated from the Global Terrorism Database relating to Islamic terrorist attacks on the West between 1998 and 2017, to show that after 2014 there has been fewer Islamic terrorist attacks linked to a terrorist group. The paper will then analyse ISIS’s films, posters, video games and music to understand how they have used Western references to target a Western audience.