The Promise and Pitfalls of Humor and Ridicule as Strategies to Counter Extremist Narratives

CSC members H. L. Goodall, Jr, Pauline Hope Cheong, Kristin Fleischer and Steven R. Corman have just published a new article in Perspectives on Terrorism.  The abstract is below, and the article is available (free) here. Rhetorical Charms: The Promise and Pitfalls of Humor and Ridicule as Strategies to Counter Extremist Narratives In this article we provide a brief account of the uses of humor, in particular satire and ridicule, to counter extremist narratives and […] Read more »

Invisible Children Film on LRA More Self Promotion than Expose

by R. Bennett Furlow On March 5th, 2012 the non-profit organization Invisible Children (IC) released a short film which quickly went viral. Kony 2012 is the name of the film and campaign by Invisible Children to raise the profile of Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).  However it does more to publicize IC and its leaders than to expose Kony. Founded in 2004, IC’s mission is to make people aware of the […] Read more »

Ridiculing AQ’s Irrelevance in the Arab Spring

by Steven R. Corman A few weeks ago I did a keynote speech at a public meeting of the U.S. Advisory Commission in Public Diplomacy.  Later in the meeting I heard a presentation by Ambassador Richard LeBaron, Coordinator of the State Department’s Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications (CSCC).  The topic of his talk tied together several topics recently discussed on COMOPS Journal, and accordingly I want to share it with readers. Presumably in response to […] Read more »

Another Bombing in Indonesia, Another Struggle over Framing

by Chris Lundry On Sunday, September 25, a lone suicide bomber detonated a bomb at a Protestant Church in Surakarta (Solo), Central Java, as services were letting out. Along with the bomber, one congregant was killed and several wounded from the shrapnel composed of nails, bolts and buckshot. In the ensuing week there has been a struggle over how the event should be framed, with most Islamist groups denying responsibility. The bomber has been identified […] Read more »

Yes, Extremists are Paying Attention

by Chris Lundry Last year, my colleagues Steven Corman, Jeffrey Halverson and I wrote a series of blog posts exploring Islamist reactions to anti-Islam and anti-Muslim events in the US, including the debate over the Park51 Islamic Center and an American pastor’s proposal to burn a Qur’an on 9/11, among others. One of the points we made in our final post was that these events fuel the extremist narrative that the US and its allies […] Read more »

“Firebrand” Extinguished? Abu Bakar Basyir Sentenced to 15 Years

by Chris Lundry The next chapter in the saga of Abu Bakar Basyir, called the spiritual leader of terrorist organization Jemaah Islamiyah, came to an end on June 16. The court in South Jakarta pronounced its verdict of guilty to the charges of inciting terrorism related to the Jemaah Islamiyah training camp in Aceh — which was broken up amidst arrests and killings of militants in February 2010 — and sentenced the cleric to 15 […] Read more »

Tainted Legacies: to the Victor go the (Narrative) Spoils?

By Chris Lundry The first 48 hours after the death of Osama bin Laden were grounds for relief in the United States, its allies, and those who condemn violent extremism, but they have also been fraught with speculation and rumors concerning the operation. Is bin Laden really dead? Did he really use his wife as a shield? Was he really armed and did he fire at the Navy Seals? Why have there been no pictures […] Read more »

Escalating Muslim Reaction to Terrorist Bombings in Indonesia

by Mark Woodward* Since March 15 Indonesia has experienced another wave of bombings, including a suicide attack on the Az Zikro mosque located in a police compound in Cirebon, Central Java. The bomber struck during Friday prayers. Other targets have included a book bomb mailed to Ulil Abshar Abdallah, the leader of Jaringan Islam Liberal (The Liberal Islamic Network), the offices of Densus 88, an elite anti-terrorism unit, a natural gas pipeline and Christian churches […] Read more »

New Third Way Narrative Poses Challenge to U.S. Strategic Communication

by Bud Goodall There is a new narrative responsible for the success of the uprisings that spread from Tunisia through Egypt and now are heard in the streets of Syria, Yemen, Libya, and elsewhere.  It is a secular narrative generated by young Muslims who recognize that older jihadist forms of “telling their resistance story” by linking them to Islamic Master Narratives were largely responsible for the binary oppositions that divide them, and Islam, from the […] Read more »

News from Indonesia: Basyir charged with supporting Aceh terrorist camp

by Chris Lundry Indonesian police have charged Indonesian cleric Abu Bakar Basyir with supporting terrorism for his role in the the Jemaah Islamiyah training camp in Aceh. He has been accused of participating in planning and funding the project and ordering others to commit terrorist acts, and police reported finding progress reports and videos from the camp. The training camp, led by Javanese who came to Aceh thinking they would find support, was broken up […] Read more »