The Naval Postgraduate School & The U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Jihadists and Crime on the Internet

Mask Jihad, Crime, and the Internet: Content Analysis of Jihadist Forum Discussions This is a recent report that was submitted to the National Institute of Justice in fulfillment of a grant from the Department of Justice. The report focuses on how Jihadists and terrorists use forums on the internet. Over the last decade it has become increasingly evident that the internet is often used by extremists and terrorist organizations for recruiting, radicalizing and networking. "The purpose of the study is twofold: to provide quantitative and qualitative assessments of the content of communications in the forums. Special attention is paid to the nexus between crime and terrorism as it unfolds in the discussions. The data comprise 2112 discussion threads downloaded over two years from over 15 different prominent Arabic--‐language Jihadist forums and randomized for distribution to coders who are Arab and Sunni Muslims, whose native language is Arabic, and who grew up in Arab speaking countries." "The results suggest that most discussions are short lived, involve a small number of participants from among the pool of registered forum members, and include few entries and pages. Participants often refer readers to approved web sites and share authentic Jihadist multimedia. References and quotes from religious sources are common. Over a third of the discussions include calls for Jihad, and 3% of the communications discuss non--‐terrorist illegal activities, particularly computer--‐ and software--‐related offenses." The report includes the following policy recommendations: 1. "Making use of the fleeting nature of forum discussions to get inside the loop of Jihadist attention and interest." 2. "Responding to threats by adding interference at any touchpoint along the communication process." 3. "Mitigating the harm done by exposure to violent imagery." 4. "Understanding the context of the Arab, Muslim, and Jihadist milieu in which the studies social interactions take place."