Taking jihad out of the hands of infidels
Lewis, Gregory W.
Gregg, Heather S.
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This thesis argues that the perceived justness of a call to jihad will resonate with the most dedicated and sincere audience and is a key component of the weaponization of the ideology. The response to this call generates ardent support in the form of individuals willing to kill or be killed in order to see the jihad succeed. In classical jihads, rulers were able to mobilize their nations for war when these conditions were met. Over time, the ideology of jihad has transformed in parallel with changes in the world system. Jihad rhetoric continues to be incorporated in the ideologies of non-state actors, who have arguably created ideological variants based on their own interpretations. This thesis seeks to explain how the Internet makes the jihad a potent global reality by negating the need for infidel alliances, personalizing the actions of its adherents and distributing the message and methods of jihad to an indeterminate number of actors. This thesis recommends that continual pressure in the form of infiltration or cooptation of these sites forces those who promote violent jihad ideologies to increase their cyber security measures, essentially raising the cost in terms of time if not money. While these groups have evidenced a tremendous capacity for organizational learning and have significant resources, these resources are not endless. Part of a successful counter ideological strategy needs to involve consistently applying pressure through the medium of the Internet in order to raise the stakes of the game and alter the radicalization process.
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