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Proselyting by e-mail - learning from radicalism.

Publication: 
Peter Lee
chiefofficersnet

Analysis of many of the messages that begin the radicalisation of the vulnerable, often but not always teenagers and those in their early 20s, shows that there are a number of specific triggers that the originators use. At the heart of it is, of course, using the name of a deity which, for simplicity, we will call god (no capital G in this context) and, ideally, saying that god needs your support and that god will support you. But the form of the message is as important as the content.

In Islamic radicalisation, there is a particularly flowery style of text, adopted and developed from Arabic literature. In particular, it flatters the reader, making him feel important. For the vulnerable or poorly educated who are the target of such material, self-esteem is an easy to reach button and it's easy to push. The same tactic (usually unsuccessful but amazingly people persist) is to describe someone as "Dear Esteemed Customer" when they are simply a target and may not even be a customer. It's all about creating a sense of worth and inclusion. So it is no surprise to see that a proselyting missive starts "Dear Esteemed Partner." It could have been "brother," "bro" or any one of a wide range of descriptions intended to draw in the victim.

The document can be viewed almost as a form of template. "Warm greetings to you in the matchless name of.. [insert the name of your chosen deity and/or prophet here]"

It goes on "We trust you’re conscious of, and working in the increased graces and blessings lavished upon us, especially in this month of Blessings!" Only one major religion relies on a whole and clearly defined month. The Holy Month of Ramadan is at the heart of the practice of Islam, alongside a daily prayer routine and, where possible, a pilgrimage to Mecca. And doing good works. This particular mail is sent in November and it's not the Holy Month. The document praises the efforts of the recipient (even though such praise is completely unfounded). "We thank you so
specially for making the achievements of 2018 like child’s play by your selfless and most inspiring participation towards the distribution of over 1.2 billion (it means 1,200 million) copies of Rhapsody of Realities this year alone, now in over 1,800 languages of the world and still counting." There are many different estimates of the number of languages in the world but they all seem to average out at somewhere close to 7,000. So, one in seven people of the world has a copy of "Rhapsody of Realities" and it's in almost a third of all the known languages of the world. Those are startling claims. But if you are from a village with 100 people, it is a remarkably impressive position statement.

"It’s therefore with joy in our hearts, we write to inform you of the 2019 Rhapsody Online Prayer Conference, coming up this Friday, November 29^th to Saturday, November 30^th from 6pm GMT+1. It affords us the opportunity to give thanks for a glorious 2019, whilst also launching us into the sublime season of the *Messenger Angel’s 20^th Year in Print!*"

The time zone covers most of Europe and a lot of Africa and the Middle East. The language is so effusive that it loses its value for many but for the target market it is designed to create an impression that the writer is highly educated, can be trusted, knows far more than you and that you should follow his lead to ... that's for later. The point now is singular - it's to make the target feel wanted, to feel he can help, to feel that god's blessing will fall upon him if only he will do one small thing for god. That, it turns out, is to spread the word and to go on-line to listen to a further pitch in what it is hoped will be a welcoming and collaborative environment. In short, join our chatroom and be taken in by the message.

"You can join us in publicizing the conference to everyone in your world by using any of the links above to create a lovely picture frame of you confirming your attendance." The personalisation of the pitch is a direct appeal to create a bond between the victim and the promoter.

" Participation this year will be through the Rhapsody Mobile App (*link expunged*) OR the Rhapsody Prayer website (*link expunged*). This is the modern tactic of, for want of a better word, revolutionary religion - to maximise the target market at minimal cost with initially innocent messages that draw in suitable victims and to encourage them to tell their friends because word of mouth is the best form of introduction.

"Get ready for an experience with divinity, a time to receive increased grace for productivity, a time for changing levels. We look forward to praying with you and making supernatural power available for change."

And aside from a blessing that's it. There is nothing specific, nothing overtly worrying and nothing that says to join a struggle. But there is a powerful message that god will help you if you do the smallest things to help what his followers say he wants or needs.

This example of attempted radicalisation does not come from an Islamic fundamentalist group: it's from an evangelical Christian group with operations in the USA, Nigeria and elsewhere. There are multiple identities associated with its mission to convert (this one is from Pastor Yemisi Kudehinbu) and it has a multiplicity of websites and domain names, often making claims that are inconsistent with each other and with this e-mail. There are sets of acronyms and brand names. The core identity, however, is "The Rhapsody of Realities".

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Full text of offending spam

ROPC 2019 IS HERE!!!
rorpc@blwinc.org

**

*Dear Esteemed Partner,*

*ROPC 2019 IS HERE!!!*

Warm greetings to you in the matchless name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

We trust you’re conscious of, and working in the increased graces and blessings
lavished upon us, especially in this month of Blessings! We thank you so
specially for making the achievements of 2018 like child’s play by your selfless
and most inspiring participation towards the distribution of over 1.2 billion
copies of Rhapsody of Realities this year alone, now in over 1,800 languages of
the world and still counting.

It’s therefore with joy in our hearts, we write to inform you of the 2019
Rhapsody Online Prayer Conference, coming up this Friday, November 29^th to
Saturday, November 30^th from 6pm GMT+1. It affords us the opportunity to give
thanks for a glorious 2019, whilst also launching us into the sublime season of
the *Messenger Angel’s 20^th Year in Print!*

We’re therefore honored to invite you to the 2019 edition of the Rhapsody Online
Prayer Conference, orchestrated by God’s Spirit to influence and change the
lives of millions around the world. Hopes will be restored, lives changed; and
many will receive visions of the Spirit to change their world with the Word.

Participation this year will be through the Rhapsody Mobile App
(*===*) OR the Rhapsody Prayer website
(*===*).

You can join us in publicizing the conference to everyone in your world by using
any of the links above to create a lovely picture frame of you confirming your
attendance.

Get ready for an experience with divinity, a time to receive increased grace for
productivity, a time for changing levels. We look forward to praying with you
and making supernatural power available for change.

Thank you and God bless you.

*Pastor Yemisi Kudehinbu,*

*Director; LWPM & Rhapsody of Realities*

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