Commercial Airline Pilot Turned ISIS Militant Shows How Muslim Extremism Is Going Mainstream.
The myth being promoted by the mainstream media is that ISIS exclusively recruits on their social media websites young disenfranchised and perhaps alienated youths with few marketable skills and easily manipulated. And for the most part that may be true.
However ISIS has proven time and again, just how sophisticated they are with their professionally produced videos and in their ability to use social media, to promote effective propaganda.
So it should not come as a surprise when according to an Australian Federal Police document that an Indonesian “AirAsia” pilot named Ridwan Agustin arrived in the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa, Syria, sometime in March 2015, to join the terrorist group. Agustin, who started working at AirAsia around 2009, was fairly open about his interest in ISIS.
And the apparent appeal of what ISIS is selling through their websites, and soon began interacting with the terrorist group on various social media websites including Indonesian foreign fighters documenting their battles in Syria or Iraq. Agustin changed his profile name to Ridwan Ahmad Indonesiy and expressed interest in joining the fight in Kobani.
However Agustin isn't the only aviation professional to have expressed support for ISIS on social media. There are others and the list seems to be growing, Tommy Hendratno, "a former member of the Indonesian military" who most recently worked as a pilot for a charter flight company, began posting pro-ISIS material online in mid-2014, in June of 2015 Hendratno suddenly quit his job and has since vanished
What is apparent is that ISIS is making successful inroads into a more technically accomplished Jihadist, who is willing to fight and perhaps die for ISIS.
Both Agustin and Hendratno used social media to further their radical ideology by reaching out to online groups within the aviation industry, over 300 individuals who included pilots, flight attendants, flight instructors, radar and air traffic control operators, and ground crews in Indonesia, Australia, Malaysia, Switzerland, Germany, France, the Middle East, the United Kingdom and the United States. Obviously the link to the carnage of 9/11 cannot be ignored.