The ‘Who’s Who’ of the Most Important Jihadi Accounts on Twitter?

In this part of our series for Jihadica on the Jihadi Twitter phenomenon, Ali Fisher and Nico Prucha take a closer look at 66 Twitter accounts recommended by a Jihadi online forum user. To be clear, we are analyzing these accounts that are defined in this posting as most important for jihadi sympathizers, but it does not necessarily mean that the individual Twitter accounts are an integral part of this worldview. A posting on the Shumukh al-Islam forum recently provided a “Twitter Guide” (dalil Twitter). This ‘guide’ outlined reasons for using Twitter as an important arena of the electronic ribat; identified the different types of accounts which users could follow; and highlighted 66 users which Ahmad ‘Abdallah termed “The most important jihadi and support sites for jihad and the mujahideen on Twitter”. We mentioned this guide in our first post kicking off the series on Jihadica. In this post we

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Jihadi Twitter Activism part 2: Jabhat al-Nusra on the Twittersphere

For the second installment of our Jihadi Twitter Activism series Ali Fisher and Nico Prucha explore data collected from Twitter related to the Syrian AQ branch Jabhat al-Nusra. This post identifies key ‘influence multipliers’ for Jabhat al-Nusra’s strategic communication and an overview of the content that these multipliers disseminate via Twitter.

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The Jihad of Images – al-Qaeda’s Prophecy of Martyrdom

Asiem El Difraoui, a senior political scientist and an award winning documentary filmmaker, has recently published a new book on the subject of Jihad videos as the most important propaganda phenomenon. He currently is a senior fellow at Institute for Media- and Communication Policies in Germany. In his book, The Jihad of Images – al-Qaeda’s Prophecy of Martyrdom, Asiem analyses the visual communication strategy of contemporary jihadism along the iconography and overall narrative jihadists have successfully promoted in the recent years.  Asiem has been engaged in studying jihadists and their propaganda for several years and is a regular member at conferences (here and here). Out of the range of Asiem’s recent publications, his study jihad.de is of particular interest (in German, click here). Here is the English book description by the publisher (for French, click here): “Without the creation of a highly complex propaganda strategy with videos as its most

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Jihadi Twitter activism – Introduction

Ali Fisher and I have recently exchanged thoughts and data regarding the increasing Jihadi use of Twitter. By taking an interdisciplinary approach of social-media analysis and cluster network assessment, we decided to start a series on Jihadica on the parts of the overall jihadi, primarily Arabic language propaganda resonating among the audiences online. We plan on delivering updates on the subject as we move along and kick-off the series with an overall introduction to the theme. In future posts in the series, we will highlight and decipher some of the core content most often shared on Twitter, allowing conclusions to be drawn about the parts of jihadist propaganda which resonate with a wider audience (and hence shared over and over again). Introducing the theme The recent essay by Abu Sa‘d al-‘Amili on the state of global online jihad (discussed here) lamented a general decline in participation in jihadi online forums.

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Fatwa calling for the death of the director, producer, and actors involved in making the film “Innocence of Muslims”

Yesterday, Ahmad ‘Ashush published a fatwa on the jihadist forums where he “decrees and calls on all Muslim youth in America and in Europa to fulfill this inescapable obligation. Namely, to kill the director, producer and the actors and anyone who helped to promote this film.” The fatwa was published by the relatively new al-Bayan media group that has established itself in the jihadist forums since the turmoil in Egypt. The media group acts in parallel to the al-Faruq media battalion, which has in the meantime published several videos showing Egyptian cleric Ahmad ‘Ashush with other renowned jihadist scholars in Tahrir, such as Muhammad al-Zawahiri or Marjan Salim (videos here and here). Ahmad ‘Ashush first surfaced in the al-Shumukh forum a while ago with a lengthy interview talking about the Hizb al-Nur (here) and established himself as an Islamic authority clearly adhering to the “jihadist torrent” while his – as

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Entering a new dimension – Jihad via Bluetooth (Part 2)

In the first part we examined the structure of the data provided by the “Mobile Detachment” (Fariq jawwal al-ansar, FJA) media department of the Ansar al-Mujahideen Forum. As stated, in the second part we will take a closer look at the ‘mission statement‘ to understand the ambition of (re-) publishing indoctrinating jihadist materials with the intention of users being able to consume and disseminate this content by the means of one’s personal smart phone. One intention perhaps is the fact that your smart/mobile phone certainly is a highly personal gadget, which is rarely shared – unlike family household computers. The content on your mobile phone has a more private nature and allows you to quickly navigate and read through the jihadist materials without anyone noticing. The downside for jihadis, however, is an upside for the police, as the sympathizers are inspired to store incriminating content on their personal phones. That

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SWP Conference Summary

A couple of weeks ago the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP) in Berlin hosted a very interesting workshop on “Jihadism in the Internet and the New Media – the State of Play.” The event, funded by the Gerda Henkel Stiftung and organized by Asiem El Difraoui (SWP), presented the latest research on jihadism online by some of the world’s leading specialists on the subject. Here’s a quick roundup to give our readers a sense of what people are working on at the moment. The four-panel workshop was opened by SWP’s Guido Steinberg (who later presented a paper on the ethnic and national diversification of jihadi networks in Europe). Nico Prucha (University of Vienna) followed suit with a “Jihadi Press Review” that brought the audience up to date on the latest jihadi publications. The first panel entitled “Theatres of Media Jihad”, featured a detailed presentation by Stig Jarle Hansen (UMB, Aas) on the propaganda efforts of the Shabab movement in

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Entering a new dimension – Jihad via Bluetooth (Part 1)

In October 2009 the Arabic “al-Ansar al-Mujahideen Forum” offered a special data-package designed for mobile phones. Published by a newly created “Mobile Detachment“ the contents are aimed at sympathizers and adherents of jihadist principles. Provided with a special software the mobile users can access the documents or watch videos on their portable device while being able to send out these highly indoctrinating and radicalizing sources via Bluetooth to other, unwary, Bluetooth enabled devices. The data offered in these conveniently administrated packages provides nearly everything of the grand-genre of jihadist materials. For the first part, a overview of these data-packages is provided, while for the future parts a closer look will be taken at specific documents and the “mission statement”. A total of five packages has been published up to date, with each remaining loyal to the same layout, logo and coherent file structure consisting of the following: Programs: In this

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Justifiying Martyrdom in German

Editor’s note: I am glad to introduce Nico Prucha as a new regular contributor to Jihadica. Nico is an German Arabist who has followed the jihadi Internet for a long time and has written several articles on the topic for Jane’s and other publications.] In mid-April Elif Medya published a 30-page document in German justifying martyr operations. The text is essentially a significantly expanded translation of an English-language document published by Tibyan Publications a few years ago and attributed to the Saudi ideologue Yusuf al-Uyayri (d. 2003). The Tibyan text in turn was based on an Arabic text that al-Uyayri wrote for the Sawt al-Qawqaz website in late 2000 following the first suicide bombing in Chechnya (perpetrated by a woman named Khava Baraeva). Signed by “your brothers of the German Taliban Mujahideen”, the document has two parts. The first is a translation of the abovementioned Tibyan text. The second part

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