Indonesian Extremists Approve of Anonymous Crusade

by Chris Lundry Indonesian Islamist extremist supporters ar Rahmah posted a story today (2-13) on their website and Facebook page about the hacker group Anonymous’ plans for a cyber-attack on Israel. The story (here) links to the Anonymous YouTube video announcing their plans. While ar Rahmah undoubtedly supports the effort, the article quotes the video as a declaration of a “Crusade” (perang salib) against Israel. The Crusade narrative is the second most frequently invoked among […] Read more »

Obama’s Trip to Indonesia, Australia

by Chris Lundry President Obama has now made his second trip in office to the land where he spent four years of his youth, Indonesia, while on a trip to Asia and Australia. Although Obama’s time in Indonesia was brief, he was welcomed relatively warmly by most Indonesians, who appreciate his ties to the most populous Muslim country. There are, however, plenty of people who disapproved, including the usual suspects, the Islamist extremists. The trip […] 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 »

Extremists Stoking Religious Violence in Indonesia

by Chris Lundry Violence between Muslims and Christians broke out in the city of Ambon, Maluku Province, Indonesia on Sunday, September 11. Official sources state that an ojek (motorcycle taxi) driver named Darmis Saiman was killed in an accident on September 10. But rumors sent via text message spread the following day when he was buried claimed that the Muslim driver had been tortured to death by Christians.At last count, seven people have been confirmed […] Read more »

Ten Years Later, Our Narrative Remains Murky to Afghans

by Steven R. Corman Last Friday the always-excellent PBS Newshour ran a story that left me floored.  It featured interviews with several ordinary Afghans who were handed pictures of the 9/11 World Trade Center attack. Of a dozen or so people asked, only one man (a police chief in Marjah) knew the story behind the pictures. All but one person said they had never seen the pictures before and did not know what they represented. […] Read more »

Has al-Qaeda Become a Toxic Brand?

by Steven R. Corman In business marketing, branding means creating demand for a product by creating an image that is appealing to potential consumers.  This probably brings to mind successful brands like Coca-Cola, Disney, and Nike.  But brands can also become “toxic.” Recent evidence suggests al-Qaeda may now be one such failed brand. Brands become toxic when they are initially strong and well known, then negative events transform their image in a way that turns […] 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 »

“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 »

bin Laden the Myth

by Bennett Furlow In the immediate aftermath of Usama bin Laden’s death there was no shortage of news and commentary trying to explain the significance of his demise. What does his death mean for the U.S. and al-Qaeda, or for the War in Afghanistan? The unilateral action by the U.S. also presented many questions about the future of U.S.-Pakistan relations. But beyond Usama bin Laden’s death and its immediate implications, there was also the issue […] Read more »