Library

Welcome to VOX-Pol’s Online Library, a research and teaching resource, which collects in one place a large volume of publications related to various aspects of violent online political extremism.

Our searchable database contains material in a variety of different formats including downloadable PDFs, videos, and audio files comprising e-books, book chapters, journal articles, research reports, policy documents and reports, and theses.

All open access material collected in the Library is easy to download. Where the publications are only accessible through subscription, the Library will take you to the publisher’s page from where you can access the material.

We will continue to add more material as it becomes available with the aim of making it the most comprehensive online Library in this field.

If you have any material you think belongs in the Library—whether your own or another authors—please contact us at onlinelibrary@voxpol.eu and we will consider adding it to the Library. It is also our aim to make the Library a truly inclusive multilingual facility and we thus welcome contributions in all languages.

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TitleYearAuthorTypeLinks
Applying the Notion of Noise to Countering Online Terrorism
2008 Weimann, G. and Von Knop, K. Journal
The growing presence of modern terrorism on the Internet is at the nexus of two key trends: the democratization of communications driven by user-generated content on the Internet; and the growing awareness of modern terrorists of the potential of the Internet for their purposes. How best can the terrorists’ use and abuse of the Internet be countered? As this article argues, the answer to violent radicalization on the Internet lies not in censorship of the Internet, but in a more sophisticated and complicated strategy, relying on the theoretical notion of “noise” in communication process theory.

The Internet in Indonesia: Development and Impact of Radical Websites
2010 Yang Hui, J. Journal
The Internet has become a crucial part of modern society's life due to its ability to facilitate communication and structure contemporary society. Indonesia has not been left out of this global phenomenon. The Internet came to Indonesia in 1983 and its usage has continued to expand ever since, especially within institutions of learning and in the government sector. The study of radical websites must be situated within the development of the Internet in Indonesia in general instead of being examined by itself. The impact of certain activities such as cyberterrorism must then be examined in perspective, given the vast expanse of Indonesia as an archipelago and the resulting difficulties in linking the entire country to the Internet. This article seeks to trace the development of the Internet in Indonesia and examine the resulting impact on the reach of the radical Bahasa Indonesia Islamic websites in the Indonesian Archipelago and beyond. It also highlights typical narrative and operations of the radical websites, which serves to distinguish them from radical websites from elsewhere, such as the Middle East.
The Internet in The Paris Riots of 2005
2014 Tønnevold, C. Journal
The riots in the suburbs of Paris (and across the country) in October and November 2005 lasted for about three weeks. The degree of violence and anger of the riots astonished an entire world. While the mainstream media, both in France and internationally, covered these events ‘as usual,’ some became aware that the internet seemed to play a role in the youths’ involvement and engagement in the events. This paper attempts to answer some important questions regarding the role of the internet: Why and how was it important? Did the web-only-publications, such as online news-sites and blogs, have any function for the people participating in the riots, or for those who were trying to put an end to them? What is more generally the potential of the internet, outside of the established media that also operate online, when ‘hot social issues’ catch fire and become explosive happenings.
Terrorist Use of Internet: Possible Suggestions to Prevent the Usage for Terrorist Purposes
2012 Nesip Ogun, M. Journal
As new developments occur everyday in technology, terrorists are easily adjusting themselves to this change. In this new age of terrorism, terrorism is transnational, institutionalized, technologically advanced, and global. In this respect, today's terrorist organizations are using the Internet for different purposes. The Internet has become the new and main source of communication in terms of disseminating propaganda for terrorist activities. Almost all terrorist organizations are exploiting the Internet for their terrorist purposes and broadcasting propaganda through their Web sites. This study is focused on the exploitation of Internet by terrorist organizations for their activities and as a case study interviews were conducted to find out the solutions to overcome terrorist networks in terms of terrorist use of Internet. Terrorism in general, Internet, and propaganda terms were studied and some solutions were proposed in terms of Internet usage of terrorist organizations.
Grooming for Terror: The Internet and Young People
2010 Lennings, C.J., Amon, K.L. and Brummert, H. Journal
The use of the Internet to spawn hate sites and recruit advocates for hate began as early as the mid-1980s in bulletin boards, and the first acknowledged hate site was Stormfront, in the early 1990s. Since then hundreds of hate sites and other websites advocating terror have been developed, some with stated aims of recruiting young people and influencing extreme action. This article reviews what is currently known about the development of hate sites into sophisticated recruitment and attitude-influencing mechanisms. The questions asked are: how do hate sites recruit members who might normally not be involved in hate and extreme action, how may hate sites radicalize the actions of young people already accepting of the mindset advocated by the website, and how effective is Internet recruitment?
Ethical and Legal Issues Surrounding Academic Research into Online Radicalisation: a UK Experience
2012 Reynolds, T. Journal
There is a growing body of evidence that terrorists/terrorist groups have increased their use of the Internet to include a move into online social network environments in their efforts to radicalise and potentially recruit and mobilise new members. Both the US and UK governments acknowledge that not enough is known about this phenomenon and there is an urgent need for more substantive research in the area of terrorists' use of computer-mediated communication. However, research in this area carries with it some serious ethical and legal concerns that cannot and should not be ignored. UK law makes it difficult for terrorism studies researchers and other academics to conduct this online research without potentially violating the law. With careful consideration of the ethical concerns surrounding the methods of data collection, and knowledge of and adherence to Data Protection laws, along with notification of proposed research to the proper law enforcement office to insure compliance with the UK Terrorism Act, it is however possible to move forward with academic integrity and a reasonable assurance that one will not be charged and prosecuted for violations of the Terrorism Acts.
Regulating the ‘Dark Web’: How a Two-Fold Approach can Tackle Peer-to-Peer Radicalisation
2009 Stevens, T. Journal
The internet plays a contributory role in radicalisation, but is only one of a number of mechanisms currently deployed to win recruits to global jihad. Technical regulation of online content is difficult and may be counter-productive, driving forums deeper underground or alienating users. Tim Stevens argues that adopting a social approach that educates and empowers online communities could have more success.
Radicalization on the Internet?
2007 Awan, A.N. Journal
The spectre of a retrograde, puritanical and belligerent ideology may seem anachronistic in the twenty-first century. However, Jihadism (as opposed to the classical reified conception of Jihad) is a thoroughly modern phenomenon. The Internet, that most contemporary of media, is increasingly its medium of choice: Jihadist websites, forums and blogs flourish. Prominent Jihadist ideologues like Ayman al-Zawahiri argue
that: We must get our message across to the masses of the nation and break the media siege imposed on the jihad movement. This is an independent battle that we must launch side by side with the military battle. The Jihadists’ marginalized status vis-à-vis the mainstream media is a consequence of what Phillip Hammond refers to as ‘the media war on terrorism’. Bemoaning this ‘media siege’, they have turned to the Internet as their principal ideological battlefield. Virtual propagation of Jihadism proceeds apace, with an exponential growth in Jihadist websites from fourteen to over
4,000 between 2000 and 2005 alone. The audiences of this virtual corpus of Jihadist media are extremely difficult to ascertain, unless users willingly disclose this information. Audience demographics are however dictated to a large degree by extraneous factors pertaining to accessibility of the medium itself such as age, gender, location, socio-economic status, and so on. In addition, the audience profile is further limited by the content available, in particular its linguistic demands. The overwhelming majority of virtual Jihadist forums are published in Arabic alone and so inaccessible to a large proportion of Muslims as well as other Internet users. British Muslim audiences are
predominantly (74 per cent) South Asian and are therefore more likely to speak Urdu, Punjabi, or Bengali, than Arabic. This article focuses on English-language Jihadist fora, as these are readily accessible to British Muslim audiences.
Political Radicalization on the Internet: Extremist Content, Government Control, and the Power of Victim and Jihad Videos
2015 Holt, T., Frellich, J.D., Chermak, S. and McCauley, C. Article
The role of the internet in radicalizing individuals to extremist action is much discussed but remains conceptually and empirically unclear. Here we consider right-wing and jihadist use of the Internet – who posts what and where. We focus on extremist content related to radicalization to violent action, and argue that victim videos and jihad videos are particularly powerful in moving individuals to radical action. We interpret these two kinds of video as complementary parts of the kind of mobilization frame studied by social movement theorists. Finally we consider various kinds of government effort to control extremist content on the Internet.
Options and Strategies for Countering Online Radicalization in the United States
2013 Neumann, P. Journal
The purpose of this article is to inform the debate about strategies and options for countering online radicalization within the U.S. domestic context. Its aim is to provide a better understanding of how the Internet facilitates radicalization; an appreciation of the dilemmas and tradeoffs that are involved in countering online radicalization within the United States; and ideas and best practices for making the emerging approach and strategy richer and more effective. It argues that online radicalization can be dealt with in three ways. Approaches aimed at restricting freedom of speech and removing content from the Internet are not only the least desirable, they are also the least effective. Instead, government should play a more energetic role in reducing the demand for radicalization and violent extremist messages—for example, by encouraging civic challenges to extremist narratives and by promoting awareness and education of young people. In the short term, the most promising way for dealing with the presence of violent extremists and their propaganda on the Internet is to exploit their online communications to gain intelligence and gather evidence in the most comprehensive and systematic fashion possible.
New Metrics for Dynamic Analysis of Online Radicalization
2016 Wadhwa, P. and Bhatia, M. P. S. Journal
The increasing use of online social networks (OSNs) by extremists for the spread of radicalization have been a great concern for law enforcement agencies across the world. Today, they are being increasingly used by radical groups for spreading ideologies, recruitment, influencing and planning their activities. However, many of such groups remain hidden within the social fabric and can only be discovered by analyzing the related content posted by them. This article addresses the missing line of research by analyzing hidden online Radical networks along three dimensions—element level, group-level, and network level and addresses the gap which the present metrics for social network analysis fail to address as we graduate toward the dynamic network analysis. We propose new metrics to analyze the evolving topic-centric network and present our findings about the understanding of properties of such complex networks in the information network of Twitter with the existing as well the new proposed metrics.
ISIS in Cyberspace: Findings from Social Media Research
2016 Ozeren, S., Elmas, M.S., Hekim, H. and Canbegi, H.I. Report
The Syrian conflict led to a resurrection of ISIS in terms of recruitment, financing, propaganda, and enlisting itself as an actor in the Middle East. ISIS’s ability to use both social media and other traditional methods of recruitment requires countries like Turkey to adopt multi-faceted approaches in order to be more effective. Cyberspace, and particularly social media, is very critical to understanding how ISIS sustains its recruitment and propaganda activities.

This report entitled ‘ISIS in Cyberspace: Findings from Social Media Research’ focuses on social media and terrorism by analyzing how pro-ISIS Twitter users see and legitimize ISIS and its ideology in cyberspace. Following an extensive review of literature on ISIS’s historical background along with its capabilities in various fields, the research analyzes tweeting patterns of sampled pro-ISIS Twitter accounts and examines the contents of messages posted by those accounts.
The Islamic State of Tumblr - Recruiting Western Women
2016 Pues, V. Article
The research discusses ISIS’s Media Strategy towards western women by examining
the Tumblr blog UMM LAYTH. Written by a young woman from Scotland who
traveled to the Islamic State, the blog speaks about daily life under ISIS. The paper
gives a background on the author, the content and the blog’s style.
“Real Men Don’t Hate Women”: Twitter Rape Threats and Group Identity
2016 Hardaker, C. and McGlashan, M. Journal
On 24th July 2013, feminist campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez's petition to the Bank of England to have Elizabeth Fry's image on the UK's £5 note replaced with the image of another woman was successful. The petition challenged the Bank of England's original plan to replace Fry with Winston Churchill, which would have meant that no woman aside from the Queen would be represented on any UK banknote. Following this, Criado-Perez was subjected to ongoing misogynistic abuse on Twitter, a microblogging social network, including threats of rape and death. This paper investigates this increasingly prominent phenomenon of rape threats made via social networks. Specifically, we investigate the sustained period of abuse directed towards the Twitter account of feminist campaigner and journalist, Caroline Criado-Perez. We then turn our attention to the formation of online discourse communities as they respond to and participate in forms of extreme online misogyny on Twitter. We take a corpus of 76,275 tweets collected during a three month period in which the events occurred (July to September 2013), which comprises 912,901 words. We then employ an interdisciplinary approach to the analysis of language in the context of this social network. Our approach combines quantitative approaches from the fields of corpus linguistics to detect emerging discourse communities, and then qualitative approaches from discourse analysis to analyse how these communities construct their identities.
UNDP Global Meeting on PVE: Session 3 – The Role of Youth
2016 Awan, A.N. Video
Session 3 - Understanding and Supporting the Role of Youth in the Prevention of Violent Extremism:
This session place young people at the centre of the discussion, focusing on understanding the positive contribution of young women and men in preventing violent extremism in different contexts. We explore the linkages between youth radicalization and political violence, discuss evidence and data, and hear about the impressive work young champions are already leading in Somalia, Cameroon and Pakistan. We also discuss how the international community could effectively recognize, support and promote youth-led efforts and support the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2250.
Towards a Framework Understanding of Online Programs for Countering Violent Extremism
2016 Davies, G. and Newdecker, C. Journal
There is an emerging consensus that ideologically-based narratives play a central role in encouraging and sustaining radicalization to violence, and that preventing, arresting, or reversing radicalization requires some means by which to address the effects of these narratives. Countering violent extremism (CVE) is a broad umbrella phrase that covers a wide array of approaches that have been advanced to reduce the radicalizing effects of extremist narratives. There is considerably less agreement, however, regarding the most appropriate means by which the mitigation of extremist narratives might best be accomplished. An important emerging area of interest is the role of the Internet, both as a forum through which narratives are transmitted and as an avenue for delivering CVE programs. At present, very little is known about which principles and practices should inform online CVE initiatives. This study attempts to establish a foundation and framework for these programs: first, by identifying the concepts and constructs which may be most relevant to countering violent extremism online, and second, by examining the available material from six online CVE programs in relation to these concepts. This examination suggests that these programs are lacking strong theoretical foundations and do not address important elements of radicalization, such as contextual factors or identity issues. It is important that future iterations of CVE programs consider not just the specific content of the narratives, but also take into account why these narratives have resonance for particular individuals.
A Systematic Examination of Terrorist Use of the Internet
2008 Freiburger,T. and Crane, J.S. Journal
The design of the Internet has made it an especially useful tool to terrorist groups. Using the Internet, terrorist groups have been especially successful in recruiting new members and exciting them into action. Previous works have provided comprehensive accounts of ways that terrorists use the Internet. This article expands on the understanding of this phenomenon by framing the previous works in a systematic model of terrorist’s use of the Internet through social learning theory. The article also offers counterterrorist strategies in accordance with the components of social learning.
Fighting, on the Battlefield and Online
2016 Carter, A. and Woodruff, J. Video
Is the U.S. making headway in the fight against the Islamic State group? Judy Woodruff talks to retired Col. Derek Harvey, a former Army intelligence officer, and Brendan Koerner of Wired Magazine about the military offensive against ISIS, including the killing of a senior leader, and the resiliency of the group on social media.
Daesh and the Terrorist Threat: from the Middle East to Europe
2016 Giusto, H. Book
It is an undeniable fact that the issue of terrorism, both as a theoretical
area of analysis and as a practical phenomenon, has grown exponentially
in significance over the past few decades. Indeed, terrorism has for some
time stopped being a term solely discussed in academic settings and in
strategic documents, but has recently been introduced in our everyday
lexicon in ways that are far more profound than in the past. Put more
simply, in understanding the extremely intricate nature of today’s international
affairs, the analysis of the concept and praxis of terrorism no
longer belongs to an obscure area of study, and has developed into an
urgent necessity, as a means of exploring how to respond to the phenomenon
in an appropriate manner.
As the illustrative examples of the rise of al-Qaeda and Daesh and
their expanded global landscape of terrorist attacks indicate, this dual
realisation that terrorism has unequivocally become a part of our reality
and that its analysis has become more urgent than ever is particularly
true of what has been widely termed as “Islamic fundamentalist terrorism”.
Due to the kaleidoscopic interests involved in it, the multifarious
dynamics that have been at play in the region from which it has primarily
originated, and the multiplicity of its actors, methods and cause, Islamic
terrorism has come to the fore of our attention in spectacular fashion,
necessitating consistent and rigorous analysis.
8 Daesh and the terrorist threat: from the Middle East to Europe
This book is focused precisely on this area. Covering a wide range of
pertinent aspects and referring to the causal links and history behind this
strand of terrorism in various countries of the world, this book intends to
provide an in-depth look at the rise and evolution of Islamic fundamentalist
terrorism. Divided into three parts, the first one focusing on the
Middle East and Africa region, the second one on the recruiting methods,
financing and propaganda instruments used by Islamic terrorist organisations,
and the last part on the evolution of the phenomenon in a select
few European countries, it attempts to answer some of the very basic
questions surrounding this very important topic.
What are the causes behind the phenomenon? What are its principal
methods of recruiting and financing? What are the primary challenges in
designing and implementing a comprehensive strategy to tackle it? Why
has it spread in the Middle East and Africa? What explains its presence in
Europe? These are all relevant questions into which this book attempts to
offer much needed insights, aimed to aid our shared understanding concerning
the past, present and future of Islamic terrorism. What is more,
and perhaps more crucially, drawing from the analysis, it also provides a
set of conclusions with a view to assisting the reader to better comprehend
what is needed in order to minimise the future ramifications of this
strand of terrorism and severely undermine its future dynamics.
The Islamic State’s Global Propaganda Strategy
2016 Gartenstein-Ross, D., Barr, N. and Moreng, B. Article
This Research Paper aims to analyse in depth the global propaganda strategy of the so-called “Islamic State” (IS) by looking at the methods through which this grand strategy is carried out as well as the objectives that IS wants to achieve through it. The authors first discuss IS’ growth model, explaining why global expansion and recruitment of foreign fighters are pivotal to IS success. Having in mind this critical role, the authors then explore the narratives and themes used by the group to mobilise foreign fighters and jihadists groups. Third, the paper analyses how IS deploys its narratives in those territories where it has established a foothold. Fourth, it outlines IS’ direct engagement strategy and how it is used to facilitate allegiance of other jihadist groups. The final section of the paper offers a menu of policy options that stakeholders can implement to counter IS’ global propaganda efforts.