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Moderate Muslims try to take back Islam's message from media-savvy ISIS
The Islamic State's effective online propaganda approaches are well documented, but a moderate Muslim group is trying to drown out ISIS's message of terror. - photo by Chandra Johnson
What's the sign of a thriving revolution? If the group is the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), one sign of success may be the organization's growing social media presence.

ISIS has been partially defined by its ability to successfully use social media like Twitter to brand its concepts or make memes to help its agendas resonate with a new generation growing up online.

"The advance of an army used to be marked by war drums. Now its marked by volleys of tweets," J.M. Berger wrote for the Atlantic about ISIS' digital savvy.

ISIS uses social media to bolster its recruits and to further its cause which, it says, goes hand-in-hand with practicing and converting to Islam.

But one group of moderate Muslims is trying to take the message of Islam back from ISIS in the public consciousness, using many of the same channels as ISIS.

Reclamation Studios is an online video series offered by an Indiana-based nonprofit group looking to help the American public get a better grasp on the literal teachings of Islam, which it says groups like ISIS twist for their own purposes.

Videos with titles like "Is Jihad 'Holy War'?" and "Does Islam sanction violence?" help outsiders to the faith better understand it, with the help of Indiana's Imam Omar Atia and series host Zac Parsons.

"Unfortunately, ISIS is doing a great job of creating that really compelling 'this is something you can do to change the world,'" Parsons told NPR recently, "and we hope that we're able to use some of those same ideas and technology to say, 'No, this is actually what the religion of Islam teaches.'"

Reclamation Studios hopes to produce 70 Web episodes in an effort to beat ISIS at its own game.

"The more initiatives like this one that openly refute ISIS ideology, especially online and especially through live communications with people online the more difficult it will be for ISIS to monopolize the perceptions of those vulnerable individuals," Richard Maass, who researches international security at the University of Evansville, told NPR.
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