New White Paper on Rhetoric of Domestic Extremist Groups

by Steven R. Corman The CSC has released a new white paper by Bennett Furlow entitled Extremism and Victimhood in the U.S. Context.  The Executive Summary appears below, and the full white paper can be downloaded here. Political extremism is not a new phenomenon. From the Know-Nothing Party of the 1850s to the Weather Underground of the 1960s, political extremism has been a present force on both the political right and left. This study looks […] Read more »

Islamism and Dissent vs. Identity in the Voting Booth

by Jeffry R. Halverson* “If a group of people feels that it has been humiliated and that its honor has been trampled underfoot, it will want to express its identity.”                                                                                           […] Read more »

Putting the Islamist “win” in Tunisia in Context

by Jeffry R. Halverson Put him in power and see how wise he is. – Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms I have spent an inordinate amount of time studying Islamist ideologues and their ideas during my relatively short lifetime. I’ve never read War and Peace, but I have read Milestones and The Neglected Duty. In recent months, the Tunisian Islamist and leader of Ennahda, Rachid Ghannouchi, has occupied a good deal of my attention. […] Read more »

Extremism and Contested Tunisian Identity in Kairouan

by Jeffry R. Halverson I recently traveled to Tunisia where I visited the ancient holy city of Kairouan. Elections for the constituent assembly to produce a new Tunisian constitution are less than two weeks away and there is a lot of discussion taking place about the nature of Tunisian identity and the role of Islam in Tunisian society. Islamists, both mainstream and radical, obviously envision a prominent role for Islam. However, my experiences in Kairouan, […] Read more »

Zawahiri’s Curious Recollection of Karbala in Bin Laden Eulogy

by Jeffry R. Halverson The Karbala master narrative is one of the most rich and influential in the Islamic world, specifically among Shi‘a societies. We devoted an entire chapter to it in the book Master Narratives of Islamist Extremism, and Kamran Scott Aghaie has penned a wonderful study of it in relation to the history of Iranian identity and nationalism. There is a terrific documentary too, examining the narrative in contemporary Iran and Iraq, which […] Read more »

Democracy, God, the People, and the Pharaoh: A Master Narrative’s Work is Never Done

by Bud Goodall The Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia last week beget further democracy uprisings in Egypt and Yemen this week, as well as protests in Jordan and Mauritania.  If the protesters are finally successful in Egypt and President Hosni Mubarak is forced out, this eruption of game-changing scenarios inspired by deep conflicts between the people and their leaders, and enabled by the velocity and spread of social media, poses a whole new set of communication […] Read more »

Youths in Violent Extremist Discourse

by Steven R. Corman CSC researchers Pauline Cheong and Jeff Halverson have just published a paper in the journal Studies in Conflict and Terrorism that will be of interest to readers of this blog.  The paper examines al Qaeda texts from 1996-2009 to determine strategies used by the group to construct a pro-radical identity for young Muslims.  The paper abstract is reproduced below.  The full article is available here (subscription required). This article examines the […] Read more »

Rap is Da Bomb for Defeating Abu Yahya

by Jeffry Halverson In the September 10 cover story on ForeignPolicy.com Jarret Brachman warns the Obama administration to pay careful attention to al-Qaeda’s new Libyan-born media darling, Abu Yahya al-Libi. He writes: Whether he’s shown traipsing through valleys, target shooting with his buddies, reciting poetry on a mountaintop, or breaking bread with his students, Abu Yahya seems to have made al-Qaeda ‘cool’ for a younger generation. . . A lifelong student with an easy smile […] Read more »

Turning Up the Heat on Wahhabi Colonialism

by Mark Woodward* Over the last year it has become increasingly apparent to progressive Indonesian Muslim intellectuals and political leaders that there is a clear association between the spread of Wahhabi religious teachings and political extremism. In the weeks following the Ritz-Carlton and J. W. Marriott bombings in Jakarta, discourse about the dangers of Wahhabism has intensified because it is now clear that Wahhabi-oriented Indonesian extremists carried out the attacks. It is also clear that […] Read more »

A Broader View of Internet Radicalization

By Pauline Hope Cheong Two related white papers have generated fresh buzz about Internet radicalization in recent weeks.  These papers are in substantial disagreement about the basic issue of how much of a force the Internet is in causing radicalization.  This is a sign that the process is not yet well-enough understood, and that we need a broader view of the effects of new media on radicalization. One report, Countering Internet Radicalization in Southeast Asia, […] Read more »