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Quilliam Foundation launched its latest report, Cheering for Osama, a major new study of Arabic-language jihadist websites. The report is based on an 18-month study of around twenty Arabic-language pro-jihadist web forums. Among these are prominent sites such as ‘al-Faluja’, ‘al-Hisba’ and ‘Medad al-Suyuf’, all of which are regularly used by al-Qaeda, its affiliate groups and their supporters to distribute pro-jihadist statements, propaganda videos and ideological tracts.
Unlike previous reports which have tended to focus on the technical aspects of jihadist websites, Quilliam’s report Cheering for Osama aims to re-focus attention on the ideological content of these websites and to show how pro-jihadist individuals interact on the sites’ forums in order to share religiously-framed justifications for violence, to organize a response to criticism of al-Qaeda and to plan outreach efforts in order to recruit others to violent extremism. The report aims to advance public knowledge about the threat posed by such websites and to contribute to ongoing debates about how this threat can best be tackled by governments and by civil society bodies.
The report concludes with a large number of recommendations for governments on how they can tackle pro-jihadist websites and also on how they can more generally combat the harmful narratives and ideologies which make jihadist violence possible.