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
‘Bomb-Making for Beginners’: Inside al Al-Qaeda E-Learning Course
2013 Stenersen, A. Journal
This study explores how terrorists utilise the Internet to learn bomb-making skills. Unlike previous studies, it does not focus on assessing the quality of online bomb recipes. Rather, it discusses the efforts being made by on-line jihadists to help others learn by providing so-called “e-learning courses.” As of today, such courses have few active participants yet they tend to attract large interest – indicating that there is a demand among Al-Qaeda’s online sympathisers for developing this concept further.
Neo-Nazis Sympathizers on the Forums of the Romanian Online Publications
2013 Macovei, E.I. Journal
The research aims to highlight how the forums of the Romanian online publications may often become spaces for right-wing extremist propaganda. The case study includes about 1.000 comments of the readers, expressed on the articles about a protest of several intellectuals against a TV program of the Romanian public Television (TVR), where Corneliu Zelea Codreanu, the founder of the Iron Guard, a Nazi organization created in 1927, was presented as a romantic hero. The results of the content analysis of comments revealed the stigmatizing themes, the stereotypes and the extremist ideas identified on the forums of these articles. In addition, the comparison between the electronic platforms of the publications showed the importance of their features and of the characteristics of audiences regarding the content of the comments.
Radicalization: The Role of the Internet
2013 von Behr, I. Report
This paper provides a broad summary of our current understanding of the role of the Internet in relation to extremist and terrorist networks. It covers the role of the Internet in radicalisation; the use of new technologies by extremists looking to organize and/or use violence, whether in a group or alone (including how this is changing the presence of women online); the ways in which the internet has been used as an operation tool by terrorists (to recruit, train, coordinate and communicate); and the range of policy responses, including the emerging priority area of counter-narratives to take on the dominant messages of extremists and challenge their legitimacy.
Jihadism: Online Discourses and Representations
2013 Prucha, N. Chapter
[Chapter in, "New Approaches to the Analysis of Jihadism: On and Offline", Rüdiger Lohlker (ed.)] Jihadism has been an important issue of public discussions since 9/11. Internet media have been used by Jihadis as means of communication, propaganda, recruitment, and even training purposes. In this volume, the processes of interaction on Jihadi internet sites are analysed. Particular attention lays on the mechanisms of spread of propaganda via the internet by diverse technical means. The process of transformation of Islamic knowledge into Jihadi knowledge, the rhetorics of videos, the development of South Asian Jihadi organisations and some conceptual issues are discussed.
In Defense of Honor: Women and Terrorist Recruitment on the Internet
2013 Bloom, M.M. Journal
Until today there have been no women in the core leadership of Al Qaeda (Al Qaeda al Sulba). While the organization is frequently described as patriarchal and exclusive of women, women are among its most fervent supporters. A significant recent development in women’s participation in violent extremism has been the dissemination of radical ideologies online as recruiters and propagandists. In particular, online female recruiters shame men to enlist in jihad by demanding that they protect their sisters in Islam from sexual trespass, particularly by male non-believers. In addition to propagandists, a new generation of jihadi leaders is looking to women to ensure the survival of the organization by devising new religious justifications that would allow women to participate in violent jihadist activities. An ideological schism over women’s participation in jihad reflects a generational shift within the movement as well as differences between the core of Al Qaeda and its regional affiliates globally.
Pro-Violence and Anti-Democratic Messages on the Internet
2013 Swedish Media Council Report
Foreword-The standard media image of violent extremism may seem to be far from the ordinary work of the Swedish Media Council. While extremism is often described in dramatic terms of terrorism, attacks and riots, the Council’s work concerns more everyday things, such as age limits for cinema films and media awareness teaching in pre-school. But no person is born to be a perpetrator of violence for political or religious purposes. Being recruited to and radicalised within the framework of pro-violence
and anti-democratic extremist groups is a question of adopting, more or less uncritically, an image of the world where hate is the driving force and violence the legitimate means. In today’s information society, the Internet has become, to an ever increasing extent, the tool for spreading anti-democratic messages for the purpose of recruiting new members. This fact places great demands on people young and old to retain a critical view of information and sometime sharply angled messages that we come across in both traditional and digital media. In October 2011, the Government mandated the Swedish Media Council to describe the presence of anti-democratic messages on the Internet and in social media. The focus is on messages aimed at young persons, and that encourage violence for political or ideological reasons. The aim is to create broader knowledge about extremist Internet milieu, their content, and how recruitment strategies
are formulated and communicated. The overall purpose is to strengthen young persons in preparation for encounters with such messages.
The State of Global Jihad Online: A Qualitative, Quantitative, and Cross-Lingual Analysis
2013 Zelin, A.Y. Report
It is only a matter of time before terrorists begin routinely using Twitter, Instagram, and other services in ongoing operations. We have already seen this in a limited manner from al-Shabaab, which tweets its #JihadDispatches on recent battles. But those delivery mechanisms are unlikely to replace the forums as the main environment for conversation and information distribution among jihadis. Twitter and the like provide a more public platform than a password-protected forum, but one critical utility of forums for jihadis is the ability to have relatively private conversations.
The Dynamics of the Creation, Evolution, and Disappearance of Terrorist Internet Forums
2013 Torres-Soriano, M.R. Journal
An examination of the organisational nature of the threat posed by jihadi terrorism, supplying quantitative and qualitative data on the dynamics behind the creation, evolution, and disappearance of the main jihadi Internet forums during the period 2008–2012. An analysis of the origins and functions of the forums, their links with terrorist organizations, their internal structures, and the processes accounting for their stability in cyberspace shows that far from representing a horizontal structure where the main actors are a network of followers, the terrorist presence on the Internet is in fact a hierarchical organization in which intervention by formal terrorist organizations plays a crucial role.
Developing an Explanatory Model for the Process of Online Radicalisation and Terrorism
2013 Torok, R. Journal
While the use of the internet and social media as a tool for extremists and terrorists has been well documented, understanding the mechanisms at work has been much more elusive. This paper begins with a grounded theory approach guided by a new theoretical approach to power that utilises both terrorism cases and extremist social media groups to develop an explanatory model of radicalisation. Preliminary hypotheses are developed, explored and refined in order to develop a comprehensive model which is then presented. This model utilises and applies concepts from social theorist Michel Foucault, including the use of discourse and networked power relations in order to normalise and modify thoughts and behaviors. The internet is conceptualised as a type of institution in which this framework of power operates and seeks to recruit and radicalise. Overall, findings suggest that the explanatory model presented is a well suited, yet still incomplete in explaining the process of online radicalisation.
Lights, Camera, Jihad: Al-Shabaab’s Western Media Strategy
2012 Meleagrou-Hitchens, A., Maher, S. and Sheehan, J. Report
While the threat that al-Shabaab poses to the West can easily be overstated, its outreach to Muslims living in Europe and the United States has been successful relative to other al-Qaeda-linked groups and warrants exploration. The organisation has recruited dozens of foreign fighters from the West (see Appendix). It also holds the dubious distinction of being the first jihadist organisation to recruit an American citizen to commit an act of suicide terrorism. Its recruitment strategy is therefore worthy of examination as a case study of how jihadist groups formulate strategies to lure Western Muslims. Through a combination of primary source analysis, background interviews in East Africa and an in-depth quantitative analysis of the group’s Twitter output, this paper aims to go beyond the simple statement of this problem by explaining how al-Shabaab markets itself to Muslims beyond its borders and what methods it employs. It also explores how the group is using social media to engage its followers in ways that other actors in the global jihad movement have not yet mastered.
Irresponsible Radicalisation: Diasporas, Globalisation and Long-Distance Nationalism in the Digital Age
2012 Conversi, D. Journal
The growing scholarship on ethnic diasporas has prompted various off-shoots. Two significant directions are the relationship of diasporas with globalisation and their role in the expansion and radicalisation of ethnic conflict. The corporate enthusiasm of the 1990s for globalisation has been followed by sombre reflections on its destructive impact upon a vast array of areas, including inter-ethnic relations worldwide. This article explores one crucial aspect of this wave of disruption*the rapid expansion of radical forms of long-distance nationalism, often leading to a stress on maximalist goals and an abdication of responsibility. It conceptually distinguishes between stateless diasporas and diasporas that conceive themselves as tied to, and represented by, an existing ‘nationstate’. Examples include ethnic lobbies from the former Yugoslavia, greater Han xenophobia among overseas Chinese, and Hindutva technocratic chauvinism among Hindu-Americans. Finally, the article identifies the onset of ‘online mobbing’ or ‘cyber bullying’ as a new and ominous trend in Internet radicalism.
Tweeting to Win: Al-Shabaab’s Strategic Use of Microblogging
2012 Perlman, L. Article
Today, we live in a world of networked global communities, drawn together by the recent technological boom. This unprecedented degree of interconnectivity has affected every size and kind of social organization, from the American government to a camera-armed protester on the streets. Technology has particularly changed the fabric of the Islamic world, a community torn between rejecting innovation and embracing modernity. The mass social movements that rocked the Middle East during the Arab Spring only highlight how important connective devices have become for the strategic calculi of Islamic social movements. Islamic groups now use Internet platforms like Facebook and YouTube to reach a greater audience, challenge opponents, and spread their ideologies.
Terrorism and the Electric Power Delivery System
2012 National Academy of Sciences Report
The National Academy of Engineering called the grid the world’s largest integrated machine and a central part of the greatest engineering achievement of the 20th century—electrification of modern society. Reliable electricity service is essential to health, welfare, national security, communication, and commerce. Because of its scale, geographic reach, and complexity, however, the grid also poses many security challenges in maintaining reliable operation. Furthermore, more than 90 percent of the U.S. power grid is privately owned and regulated by the states, making it challenging for the federal government to address potential vulnerabilities to its operation, and perhaps especially its vulnerability to terrorist attack. This report examines those vulnerabilities.
Die Vermittlung arabischer Jihadisten- Ideologie: Zur Rolle deutscher Aktivisten
2012 Prucha, N. Article
Jihadistische Inhalte haben sich im Internet seit den Terroranschlägen vom 11. September 2001 massiv verbreitet. Trotz vielfacher Bemühungen, die jihadistische Webpräsenz zu bekämpfen, finden sich entsprechende Medien seit nunmehr knapp zwei Jahrzehnten in den virtuellen Welten. Ironischerweise nutzen die Jihadisten das modernste Mittel der Kommuni- kation, um im Namen einer primitiven Theologie gegen die Moderne zu kämpfen.1 Das jihadistische Online-Corpus besteht aus Schriften, Videos und Audiodateien, die von Unterstützern und Sympathisanten verbreitet werden. Dieses Material bietet der jihadistischen Szene weltweit ein kohä- rentes Wertesystem und ein Lebensmodell, dem es nachzueifern gilt. Seit 2005/2006 werden die jihadistischen Online-Inhalte auch ins Deutsche übersetzt, was das schnelle Anwachsen einer Szene in der Bundesrepublik begünstigt hat. Der Prozess wird von Predigern und Aktivisten voran- getrieben, die gezielt versuchen, jihadistische Konzepte auf die Lebens- wirklichkeit in Deutschland anzuwenden und damit junge Menschen zu rekrutieren.
Oversight of security-sensitive research material in UK universities: Guidance
2012 Universities UK Report
Universities play a vital role in carrying out research on issues where security-sensitive material is relevant. This guidance document concerns the storage and circulation of security- sensitive research material. If circulated carelessly, such material is sometimes open to misinterpretation by the authorities, and can put authors in danger of arrest and prosecution under, for example, counter-terrorism legislation. Certain procedures for independently registering and storing this material – through research ethics processes – are recommended in this guidance.
Right Wing Extremism In The Czech Republic
2012 Mareš, M. Report
An overview of right-wing extremism in the Czech Republic
Fighting Words- The Persuasive Effect Of Online Extremist Narratives On The Radicalization Process
2012 Braddock, K.H. PhD Thesis

What causes an individual to take up violence against civilians for the sake of a political, religious, or social goal? Of course, there are many possible answers to this question. But, one view suggests that narratives may play an especially important role in changing the beliefs, attitudes, and intentions that are precursors to terrorism. There are at least three important implications of this position. First, it is necessary to determine what is meant by terrorism and related terms. Establishing the conceptual boundaries of these terms is a prerequisite to understanding the relationships among them and with narrative communication. Second, it must be established empirically that narrative has the persuasive potency that has been attributed to it. Although narrative has been compared to other forms of evidence, the impact of narrative communication (vs. none) on beliefs, attitudes, intentions, or behavior, has not been determined. Finally, it is important to directly assess the content of narratives that are intended to radicalize. A close examination of the content within terrorist narratives is needed to reveal the targets of belief and attitude change. By determining the persuasive efficacy of narratives and exploring the radicalizing potential of a specific set of extremist narratives, this project advances our knowledge of narrative persuasion processes and helps address the problem of terrorism by approaching it from a communication-based perspective. Chapters 1 and 2 are dedicated to the explication of key terms. Chapter 1 explores the notions of terrorism and extremism, two contested concepts within the literature. Terrorism is defined as the use of violence or threat of violence against civilians to achieve ideological goals. Extremism is defined as a psychological state in which an individual rigidly adheres to an ideology that is characterized by behaviors that marginalize other-minded individuals through a variety of means, up and including the use of physical violence. A model is proposed that suggests that extremism is a risk factor for engaging in terrorism. As Chapter 1 explored the psychological origins of terrorism, Chapter 2 investigates the psychological origins of extremism. This chapter argues that extremism results from a process referred to as radicalization. Radicalization is defined as an incremental social and psychological process prompted by and inextricably bound in communication, whereby an individual develops increased commitment to an extremist ideology resulting in the full or partial assimilation of beliefs and attitudes consistent with that ideology. Thus, it is proposed that those who undergo radicalization are at risk for extremism, and in turn, at risk for engaging in terrorism. After demonstrating radicalization to be a contributing factor for engaging in terrorism in Chapter 2, Chapter 3 illustrates the efficacy of one source with which radicalization can be promoted, narratives. In Chapter 3, meta-analytic techniques are employed to demonstrate that narrative communication positively affects beliefs (N = 4,510; r = .20), attitudes (N = 5,861; r = .21), and behavioral intentions (N = 4,218; r = .19), suggesting that extremist narratives have the potential to contribute to fundamental changes in beliefs, attitudes, and intentions in the direction of those promoted by a terrorist group. Given these results, a close examination of a terrorist group’s narratives would illustrate the beliefs, attitudes, and intentions that might be affected by exposure to those narratives. Thus, Chapter 4 features a theme analysis of the narratives of a terrorist organization, The Animal Liberation Front (ALF). This analysis reveals 10 distinct content themes that are geared towards radicalization. Taken together, the findings of Chapter 3’s meta-analysis and Chapter 4’s theme analysis show how the ALF’s narratives work to promote extremism. Chapter 5 summarizes the findings from the previous chapters and discusses the implications of them. Specifically, this chapter briefly details the ways in which this dissertation may inform future research on narrative communication and strategies to mitigate the impact of extremist narratives on the radicalization process.

Understanding and Influencing Public Support for Insurgency and Terrorism
2012 Davis, P.K., Larson, E.V., Haldeman, Z., Oguz, M. and Rana, Y. Book
The monograph focuses on public support for insurgency and terrorism and how it can be influenced. It is organised around the testing and refinement of conceptual models that seek to integrate much of what is known from relevant social science about public support.
An Analysis of Interactions Within and Between Extreme Right Communities in Social Media
2012 O’Callaghan, D., Greene, D., Conway, M., Carthy, J. and Cunningham, P. Report
Many extreme right groups have had an online presence for some time through the use of dedicated websites. This has been accompanied by increased activity in social media websites in recent years, which may enable the dissemination of extreme right content to a wider audience. In this paper, we present exploratory analysis of the activity of a selection of such groups on Twitter, using network representations based on reciprocal follower and mentions interactions. We find that stable communities of related users are present within individual country networks, where these communities are usually associated with variants of extreme right ideology. Furthermore, we also identify the presence of international relationships between certain groups across geopolitical boundaries.
Mobilisation and Violence in the New Media Ecology: the Dua Khalil Aswad and Camilia Shehata Cases
2012 Al-Lamia, M., Hoskins, A. and O'Loughlin, B. Journal
This article examines two cases in which political groups sought to harness the new media ecology to mobilise and justify acts of violence to public audiences and to supporters. In each case, a woman's suffering is presented and instrumentalised. However, the new media ecology offers an increasingly irregular economy of media modulation: digital footage may emerge today, in a year or never, and it may emerge anywhere to anyone. The cases analysed here allow for reflection on the tension between contingency and intentionality as that irregular economy brings uncertainty for the political actors involved. Dua Khalil Aswad, an Iraqi teenager of the Yazidi faith, was stoned to death by a Yazidi mob consisting of tens of men, mostly her relatives. One Yazidi uploaded a film of the killing. This led to violent reprisals against the Yazidis. Camilia Shehata is a young Coptic Egyptian who, after allegedly converting to Islam, was returned to her church with the help of Egyptian security forces and kept in hiding despite public protests. Extremists in Iraq and Egypt seized on the Shehata case to justify violence against Christians. In both instances, the irregular emergence of digital content and its remediation through these media ecologies enabled distributed agency in ways that empowered and confounded states, terrorists and citizens.