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Analysis of Jihadi Extremist Groups' Videos

NCJ Number
Edna Reid
Date Published
July 2009
14 pages
Using a content analysis of 60 jihadi extremist/terrorist groups' videos, this exploratory study describes how the videos as strategic communication devices are distributed via the Internet to achieve specific goals.
Videos produced by jihad groups and their sympathizers are disseminated in online discussion forums, blogs, third-party Web sites, and video-sharing sites. Their content is written in different languages. In addition to being produced by groups and sympathizers, videos are also created as part of the communication and media strategies for al Qaeda. Creation and distribution of the videos have evolved into a conglomeration of "underground media" organizations. The videos function as cultural screens for multiple enactments, viewings, and interpretations of accepted patterns, themes, and norms of struggle. Recurring images and themes relate to the myth of heroic martyrdom in the cause of jihad. They use themes of humiliation inflicted on Muslims throughout the world and redemption through faithful sacrifice. The videos are "narrowcast" to various audience segments in order to achieve maximum impact in terms of propagating the ideology of religion-sanctioned vengeance to the perceived ongoing and escalating atrocities committed against Islam and its believers. The desired impact is to motivate the establishment of new extremist cells in diverse geographic locations around the world. The study recommends that future studies use a larger database of videos in order to gain insights and identify embedded cultural cues and strategic communication goals. 5 tables, 5 notes, and 39 references