- “Countering Violent Extremism in Nigeria: Using a Text-Message Survey to Assess Radio Programs” by James V. Marrone, Todd C. Helmus, Elizabeth Bodine-Baron, Christopher Santucci. RAND Reports
- “On the Behavior-Based Risk Communication Models in Crisis Management and Social Risks Minimization” by Yuriy V. Kostyuchenko, Viktor Pushkar, Olga Malysheva and Maxim Yuschenko. International Journal of Cyber Warfare and Terrorism (IJCWT), 10(2), 27-45,
- “Charity for “Jihad” in Syria: The Indonesian-Uyghur Connection” by Nodirbek Soliev. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
- “Both needed and threatened’: Armed mothers in militant visuals” by Meredith Loken Security Dialogue, First Published March 11, 2020
- “Understanding, and Misunderstanding, State Sponsorship of Terrorism” by Daniel Byman Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, Published online: 11 Mar 2020
- “Unveiling the Innovators—A Glimpse on Sufi-Salafi Polemics” by Hazim Fouad Religions, Vol. 11, Issue 3, 144, Published: 20 March 2020
- “The influences of social identity and perceptions of injustice on support to violent extremism” by Wesam Charkawi, Kevin Dunn, Ana-Maria Bliuc Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression, Published online: 16 Mar 2020
- “‘Muhajirun’ from Austria. Why they left to join isis and why they don’t return” by Veronika Hofinger, Thomas Schmidinger The Journal for Deradicalization, Mar 8
- “Mediating Islamic State| Theologians, Poets, and Lone Wolves: Mapping Medium-Specific Epistemologies of Radicalization” by Brian T. Hughes,International Journal of Communication, Vol 14 (2020)
- “Mediating Islamic State| Islamic State War Documentaries” by Nathaniel Greenberg International Journal of Communication, Vol 14 (2020)
The number of programs dedicated to countering violent extremism (CVE) has grown in recent years, but a fundamental gap remains in the understanding of the effectiveness of such programs. A 2017 RAND Corporation report documented that only a handful of such programs have been subject to rigorous evaluations of effect. Such evaluations are critical because they help ensure that programming funds are dedicated to the most-effective efforts. Evaluations also play a critical role in helping individual programs improve the quality of service provision.
This report presents the results of an evaluation designed to assess the impact of a CVE-themed radio talk show, Ina Mafita, broadcast in northern Nigeria in 2018–2019. RAND researchers studied this program by recruiting more than 2,000 northern Nigerians via text message from a research panel administered by a mobile phone–based market research company. The participants were randomly assigned to listen to either the treatment program of interest, which is intended to address underlying factors promoting instability and support for Boko Haram in northern Nigeria, or to a nontreatment control program. Specifically, RAND researchers examined the effects of the program on listeners' beliefs about the importance of being a role model and the value of local committees in reintegrating at-risk youth, as well as their views of kidnap victims. The report details the research design and findings and offers recommendations for improving such evaluations in the future.
- The results indicate that Ina Mafita had a positive effect on listeners' beliefs about the importance of being a role model and a positive but not significant effect on the belief in local committees' value in reintegrating at-risk youth.
- The authors found no effect on listeners' views of kidnap victims.
- The researchers found zero or possibly negative effects on listeners' value of diversity; however, it must be noted that the show did not explicitly address this theme.
- Listeners enjoyed the show, but in the general population there is probably room to expand listenership by raising greater awareness of the show and the other shows under the Farar Tattabara brand produced by Equal Access International.
- Text message—based surveys are a cost-effective way to recruit large samples and reach remote areas, but they also have some drawbacks.
A jihadist-aligned Indonesian fundraising group, the Abu Ahmed Foundation (AAF), has been developing close connections with Uyghur and Central Asian fighters in Syria. This link could become a vector for fighters to exit from Syria, and a source of potential risks to Southeast Asia.
Because women are assumed to be nonviolent, their participation in militant groups can humanize organizations and legitimize rebellion. But gender beliefs are deeply engrained, and consequently women’s involvement can also generate resistance. This article explores how militants navigate this tension through their political visuals, specifically analyzing images of ‘armed mothers’ across six diverse conflicts. Leveraging life-giving as the ‘natural’ role for women, these images signal violent disruption of everyday life and authorize political violence in response. But they also stress the temporariness of gender-role expansion, promising and preserving a ‘return to normal’. Militant groups contextualize, justify, and humanize violent struggle through these images even in cases where women rarely participate on the front lines.
The U.S. government list of state sponsors of terrorism is dated, politicized, analytically muddy, and in general not useful for distinguishing which states truly sponsor terrorism and how aggressively they do so. A better list and process would identify different criteria that go into sponsoring terrorism and, in so doing, create multiple de facto lists. Lists would distinguish important factors such as the use of terrorism in war and the problematic criterion of states using their own clandestine agents for terrorism-like violence. Different forms of passive support would also be assessed, particularly because state passivity is often vital for jihadists and white supremacists, two of the greatest terrorism dangers today. The political and analytically flawed nature of the state sponsor list and process, however, is as much by design as it is by accident, and change is especially difficult as a result.
In western public discourse, as well as in parts of academia, Sufism and Salafism are sometimes portrayed as arch enemies in Islam. However, so far, very few studies have analyzed in detail the polemics between Sufis and Salafis in a western setting. This article tries to fill this gap by providing a snapshot of the critique of Salafism by the Sufi Nāẓimiyya order, as well as the response from the British Salafi spectrum. It will argue that although both protagonists would perceive themselves in the same way as outlined above, in fact both groups are influenced by each other with regard to the benchmark of what constitutes “authentic Islam”, as well as the ways in which arguments are portrayed as legitimately grounded in Islamic thought. These insights may help in better understanding the complexities of contemporary intra-Muslim debates and representations.
Social identity has been identified as one key contributor to violent extremism. In a survey consisting of 198 Australian Muslims, we examined the associations between social identity and perceived injustice in the political and media field and whether these are associated with susceptibility to supporting violent extremism. The study canvassed belonging, religiosity, violent dispositions, experienced racism and reported strong senses of perceived injustice, alienation and anger. Overall, the study revealed that the greater the sense of belonging and religiosity, the greater the rejection of violent dispositions against the West and its allies. The inverse of this suggests that a sense of non-belonging is associated with increased support to radicalisation. We also found that the greater the religiosity, the greater the connection to Australia and the greater the rejection of violent dispositions. Our sample reported a strong sense of perceived injustice from the political media structures, even more so among those with a greater sense of belonging to Australia. The study demonstrates that there is high opposition to acts of violent extremism despite a widely held sense of injustice, indicating strong levels of resilience among the Muslim communities in Australia and pointing to the potential virtue of multiculturalism.
After the proclamation of the so-called Islamic State in June 2014 thousands of Europeans, including hundreds of Austrian residents, went to fight and live with ISIS or other extremist groups in Syria or Iraq. Austria is one of the European countries with the highest per-capita share of foreign fighters. The article gives a broad overview of the situation in Austria: Who are the different groups relevant in this field? How did young people who grew up in Austria become radicalised, and what is their current status? The data from two Austrian commissioned research projects and one EU-funded project are supplemented by the findings of recent research in northern Syria focusing on the current situation of Austrian foreign fighters and their families and supporters in the region.
Examinations into the roots of Islamist terrorism have frequently presented the phenomenon as a result of either perverting political–religious epistemologies into distorted, caricatured fundamentalisms, or, alternatively, as a return to form, whereby a pure, root ideology/metaphysic is rediscovered. The former approach reflects a discourse rooted in print media and characterized by logical argumentation, linear chronology, and deference to the text. The latter approach reflects a discourse rooted in modes of secondary orality, which posit a font of ideal essence that precedes expression. The figure of the digitally engaged lone wolf undermines these discourses. His violent extremism appears only Islamically inflected through an accretion of contradictory mediated encounters linking representations of violence, Islam, and the lone wolf himself. This article argues that a new approach and discourse should therefore emerge, specific to the hypertextual and rhizomatic qualities of multiplicity and contradiction that characterize the digitally engaged lone wolf.
Amid the bloodshed of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the Al-Qaeda affiliate known as the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) introduced into their repertoire a new tool of war: the handheld camera. Tracing the evolution of the ghazwa, or military expedition aesthetic, in ISI and later ISIS filmmaking, this article explores the way in which the organization’s primary organ of communication, Al-Furqan Media Foundation, expanded from its origins as a documentary film unit to become one of the world’s most potent vehicles of performative violence. Drawing on a comparative frame of reference with other active media units within the greater sphere of Al-Qaeda communications, including the Al-Andalus Establishment for Media Production of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and Al-Furqan Media in the Egyptian Sinai, this article examines the manner in which aesthetic prerogatives, intertwined with religious mythology, served to transcend and unite disparate political factions around a common “narrative identity,” one that preceded and will outlast the reign of the Islamic State caliphate.