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 »

Indonesia’s President, Commander of the Crusaders!

By Chris Lundry Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) has been branded a commander of the crusaders following the announcement that Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain will be awarding him the Honorary Knight of the Grand Cross of the Order of Bath. The award has angered extremist Islamist groups, some of whom are still simmering over the recent arrest of 11 people suspected of terrorism throughout Java and the uncovering of plots to bomb […] Read more »

Wahhabi Perspectives on Pluralism and Gender

The CSC has released a new white paper by Inayah Rohmaniyah and Mark Woodward entitled Wahhabi Perspectives on Pluralism and Gender: A Saudi – Indonesian Contrast.  The paper is available here and the executive summary follows: In public discourse about Islam, “Wahhabi” is usually a synonym for intolerance, misogyny, and extremism.  Though this is sometimes true it is an over-generalization.  In this paper we contrast two very different forms of Wahhabi Islam focusing on education, […] 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 »

Implicit Master Narratives in Extremist Website Launch

by Jeffry R. Halverson If you’ve read our book Master Narratives of Islamist Extremism then you already have a solid understanding of the major master narratives employed by Islamist extremists in their communications. For example, you’re able to recognize the significance of a Pharaoh reference when an extremist is condemning a world leader. Or you’re able to see the apocalyptic scheme articulated in Ahmadinejad’s praise of the “Lord of the Age” (which is not a […] 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 »

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 »

A Different Kind of Crusader?

by Chris Lundry In our work identifying and tracking the use of Islamist narratives here at the CSC, the second most frequently invoked among Islamist extremists in our research (after Nakba or Palestine) has been the Crusader master narrative. The use of this term among Islamists connotes religious war, subjugation by Western Christians, injustice, and eventual colonization. Its use in the West, however, connotes a much different meaning: a righteous cause, good triumphing over evil, a reclamation […] Read more »

Ridicule as Strategic Communication

by Kristin Fleischer In his book Fighting the War of Ideas like Real War: Messages to Defeat the Terrorists, J. Michael Waller argues that the United States already has a “secret weapon worse than death,” and it is cheap, readily available and easy to deploy. That weapon is ridicule. Although the suggestion that ridicule and satire are legitimate tools of strategic communication might receive some – dare I say it – ridicule, Waller’s argument is […] Read more »

Why Demonization is Also the Wrong Language

by Mark Woodward In a comment on my recent post “Why ‘Moderate Islam’ is the Wrong Language,” Mel repeats the shopworn claim that Islam is a religion of violence. He suggests that I should “do my homework” and read the Qur’an. He implies that reading Sayyid Quttb’s writings can provide insight into the basic nature of Islam. I am not surprised to read this. Some Christians have been denouncing Islam as a religion of violence […] Read more »