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Facebook looks to block ISIS clothing sales

By Samuel Burke, CNN Correspondent
updated 10:29 AM EDT, Wed June 25, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Clothes supporting ISIS slogans are available on a host of websites and social media
  • Facebook is disabling accounts that sell the merchandise when it sees them
  • Many of the retail sites are in Indonesia, where some may be sympathetic to ISIS, analysts say

(CNN) -- T-shirts, hoodies and even toy figurines bearing the ISIS logo are being sold on online and marketed across social media.

For around $10 you can buy an ISIS shirt with the militant group's logo and phrases printed on it like "We are all ISIS" and "Fight for Freedom, Until the Last Drop of Blood."

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A toy soldier available on Rezji.com, an Indonesian site which by Tuesday could not be accessed, holds a gun in its hands and an ISIS flag with the Islamic tenet: "There is no god but God, Muhammad is the messenger of God."

The websites are marketing the ISIS paraphernalia across social media. Facebook has been removing the pages once the media alerts them to their existence.

"Where hateful content is posted and reported, Facebook removes it and disables accounts of those responsible," a Facebook spokesperson told CNN via email.

CNN alerted Twitter to some of the merchants' pages on that social network, but Twitter declined to comment.

Using merchandise to market itself as "cool" is a one of the common propaganda tools ISIS uses, according to researcher Hassan Hassan of the Delma Institute in Dubai.

"The point is to encourage people to get out there and join the trend," Hassan said.

Many of the websites with the merchandise come from Indonesia.

While Middle East experts are unsure whether ISIS is manufacturing the products, terrorism researcher J.M. Berger says he wouldn't be surprised if the money ends up going to ISIS.

"ISIS has a big base of support in Southeast Asia -- a long history with Islamism and jihadism. A number of foreign fighters come from the region," Berger wrote in an email to CNN.

"Much radical activity is local: vigilante gangs and mainstream politics. For those who find those options lacking, ISIS seems to be the leading choice of outlet."

While some of the Indonesian manufacturers of the ISIS merchandise may be opportunistic capitalists, others may be sympathetic to ISIS.

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On the Twitter feed of the Rezji manufacturers, they describe themselves in the Indonesian language as "distributors of anti-Western culture" and state "together we stand with you against the tyrants."

In early 2014, the Institute for the Policy and Analysis of Conflict (IPAC) published a report that said the Syrian conflict was attracting foreign fighters from Indonesia.

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"Indonesian extremists are more engaged by the conflict in Syria than by any other foreign war in recent memory, including Afghanistan and Iraq," the report said.

"As far as we know the number of Indonesian combatants is still in the dozens."

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