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He’s Got Friends in Online Places: The Presence of Social Media in Radicalization

Description

Social media has become a significant aspect of American life and culture.

Criminal groups including extremists of various ideological milieus have found social

media useful in their recruitment efforts. Further,

Social media has become a significant aspect of American life and culture.

Criminal groups including extremists of various ideological milieus have found social

media useful in their recruitment efforts. Further, these online spaces allow extremists to

easily interact with one another, reinforcing each other’s radical perspectives. Little

research has examined social media’s role in radicalization and fewer studies have tested

the differences between the radicalization processes of individuals espousing disparate

ideologies. Using Profiles of Individual Radicalization in the United States, a data set of

804 extremist men, this study sets out to determine whether the role of social media in the

radicalization process varies between Islamist and far right extremists using social

learning as a theoretical framework. The results indicate no significant difference

regarding the role of social media in radicalization between Islamists and far rightists.

Additionally, the odds of having radical friends and family were much lower for Islamists

than far rightists, suggesting only partial support for social learning theory as an

explanation of radicalization.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2019

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A new sisterhood: the allure of ISIS in Syria for young Muslim women in the UK

Description

This thesis examines why young Western Muslim women from the UK are drawn to join and support ISIS in its established territories in Syria and Iraq and identifies their role

This thesis examines why young Western Muslim women from the UK are drawn to join and support ISIS in its established territories in Syria and Iraq and identifies their role within these territories. The critical role of technology, specifically social media, in facilitating the recruitment, radicalization, and mobilization of young Muslim women online to join ISIS is also explored. Females emigrating from the UK appear equally drawn to ISIS's ideology and state-building mission as Muslim men. Claims from the media suggest women serve as 'fighters,' however this research finds that women are not permitted by ISIS to participate in fighting. Using Britain as a case study, this study analyzes the social media content of eight young British Muslim women, known as female migrants, for themes motivating them to mobilize. Themes, culled from the literature, include Muslim attitudes and perceptions in the UK regarding Islamophobia or religious discrimination, the erosion of multiculturalism, identity and belonging, and finding purpose in the ummah, and measures whether these variables influence women to mobilize. Excerpts from blog posts and original tweets from their Tumblr, Twitter, and ask.fm accounts provide the actual voices of British female migrants choosing to live within ISIS territory and offers insight on their role as female migrants. Research suggests that, for British Muslim women in the UK, Muslim identity and belonging, both individually and within the ummah, along with attitudes and perceptions of religious discrimination (Islamophobia) and the failing of multiculturalism are influencing them to join ISIS. Additional motives for migration found within the study are based on the following beliefs: that the ummah is under attack, a strong desire to help build a new society, their religious duty as a Muslim, and the opportunity to belong and find purpose in the new "caliphate sisterhood." The role of female migrants residing in ISIS territory is domestic in nature, where they primarily function as wives and mothers of jihadists, as well as serve in online roles as propagandists, proselytizers, and recruiters for ISIS. The strong online presence of women demands an effective counter narrative to deter prospective female migrants from emigrating.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2015

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Assemblages of radicalism: the online recruitment practices of Islamist terrorists

Description

This dissertation explores the various online radicalization and recruitment practices of groups like al-Qaeda and Hezbollah, as well as Salafi Jihadists in general. I will also outline the inadequacies of

This dissertation explores the various online radicalization and recruitment practices of groups like al-Qaeda and Hezbollah, as well as Salafi Jihadists in general. I will also outline the inadequacies of the federal government's engagement with terrorist / Islamist ideologies and explore the ways in which early 20th century foundational Islamist theorists like Hasan al-Banna, Sayyid Qutb, and Abul ala Mawdudi have affected contemporary extremist Islamist groups, while exploring this myth of the ideal caliphate which persists in the ideology of contemporary extremist Islamist groups. In a larger sense, I am arguing that exploitation of the internet (particularly social networking platforms) in the radicalization of new communities of followers is much more dangerous than cyberterrorism (as in attacks on cyber networks within the government and the private sector), which is what is most often considered to be the primary threat that terrorists pose with their presence on the internet. Online radicalization should, I argue, be given more consideration when forming public policy because of the immediate danger that it poses, especially given the rise of microterrorism. Similarly, through the case studies that I am examining, I am bringing the humanities into the discussion of extremist (religious) rhetorics, an area of discourse that those scholars have largely ignored.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2014