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Online jihadist magazines and the “religious terrorism” thesis


Critical Studies on TerrorismJournal abstract

This article presents findings from an empirical study of 39 issues of five online terrorist magazines in order to problematise the concept of religious terrorism. The presentation of the study’s findings focuses on the magazines’ textual content, examining the types of textual item each magazine contains, how the producers of the magazines perceive the publications, the justifications the magazines offer for the groups’ activities and the motivations that underlie these activities. This analysis shows that there are important differences between the messages each group expounds. These differences, the article argues, are obscured by the homogeneous label “religious terrorism”. Moreover, an examination of these groups’ messages shows that the purported distinction between religion and politics is unsustainable and has detrimental political-normative repercussions.

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