Lunch Briefing Series: Online Environments and the Violent Jihad

Seminar 5: Online Environments and the Violent Jihad

Wednesday December 2nd, 1315 – 1430

War Studies Meeting Room, 6th Floor, King’s College London, Strand Campus

*Please note that there is no charge for attendance.

This on-going research is funded under the VOX-Pol Researcher Mobility Programme.

In shifting to social media, supporters of the self-proclaimed “Islamic State” (IS), like other Sunni extremist or “Jihadist” groups, have become increasingly adept at integrating operations on the physical battlefield with the online effort to propagate their ideology and celebrate their ‘martyrs’. To achieve this success they have switched to using dispersed forms of network organisation, strategy and technology attuned to the information age. This approach has proven resilient to current counter-strategies of account suspensions and content removal. As a result IS has been able to disseminate rich audiovisual content from the battlefield and from within territories in the Middle East controlled by IS through an array of autonomous but interconnected social media accounts, that are quickly replaced in cases of take-downs.

That is the technical side of IS maintained by dedicated “media mujahidin” envisioned by al-Qa’ida that disseminate this rich and sometimes multi-lingual content, consisting of texts and videos for incitement and recruitment.

Analysing Arabic language jihadist sources, disseminated by IS on numerous accounts and online platforms, means tying into the motivations, the justifications as well as the implementation of ideology enforced upon real world communities under IS control. The professional videos published by IS from within their “provinces” in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Egypt and West Africa show the application of ideology and allows to project a positive worldview on IS’ hegemonic interpretation of specific religious scripture. The talk will focus on the dissemination techniques of jihadist media material and why the content matters.

The attacks on Paris on November 13 and the response of the self-proclaimed Islamic State online is detailed as an example  on how the Internet is used to promote and justify such attacks. Within ten days about 12 IS-videos had been published to further enrich the narratives of justifying the assault on Paris, all of which are published online and are part of the coherent ideology of IS and targeting an Arabic and Francophone audience in general. The presentation will highlight core samples of this extensive video material and the reflection thereof on social media sites such as Twitter.

Speaker Biography

Nico Prucha is currently Research Fellow at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR) at the Department for War Studies, King’s College London. He joined ICSR after being awarded VOX-Pol’s 2014 – 2015 Research Fellowship under its Researcher Mobility Programme, and is currently researching Viral Aspects of Jihadism: The Lingual and Ideological Basis of Online Propaganda and the Spill Over to Non-Arabic Networks. Dr. Prucha is a PhD graduate of the University of Vienna.


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1:15 pm - 2:30 pm
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