Capitalizing on the Koran to fuel online violent radicalization: A taxonomy of Koranic references in ISIS's Dabiq

Thomas Frissen*, Erkan Toguslu, Pieter Van Ostaeyen, Leen d'Haenens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Web of Science)

Abstract

The current study set out to investigate to what extent ISIS is bolstering its jihadist ideology on a 'cut-and-paste' or 'cherry-picked' version of Islam in their renowned online propaganda magazine Dabiq. The main objective was to examine in a systematic and quantitative way to what extent ISIS utilizes the Koran in an atomistic, truncated and tailored manner to bolster its religious legitimacy. A total of 15 issues of Dabiq and 700 Koranic references were scrutinized. By means of a quantitative analysis we developed an innovative taxonomy of Koranic chapters and verses (i.e. surahs and ayat, respectively) on the basis of their appearance in Dabiq. Our large-scale data analysis provide consistent empirical evidence for severe decontextualization practices of the Koran in three ways: (1) a thin, Medinan-dominated religious layer, (2) ayah mutilation, and (3) clustered versus exclusive mentions. Limitations and implications for future research, policy makers and CVE initiatives are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)491-503
Number of pages13
JournalTelematics and Informatics
Volume35
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Online radicalization
  • Electronic Jihad
  • Dabiq
  • ISIS
  • Koran
  • Decontextualization

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