Prior to the widespread dissemination of the Internet and other forms of computer-mediated communication, the vast majority of Muslims in the West had very little if any sustained interaction with pan-Islamic fundamentalist movements originating in the Middle East and South Asia. Recent years have witnessed a proliferation of new transnational networks linked to such movements, fueled in part by enhanced levels of information exchanges and contact among Muslim teens and young adults in cyberspace. The role that is played by social networking sites in the negotiation, adoption, and diffusion of youth-oriented collective identities tied to the radical Jihadist movement, is the focus of this article. The primary subjects studied are Muslim youth living in diaspora (i.e., geographically separated from traditional Islamic “homelands” in the Middle East and South Asia). The ways in which the values, beliefs, and goals of Jihadism are framed online to appeal directly to hip-hop savvy diasporic Muslim young people are assessed. Specific examples of Jihadist discourses found on MySpace sites are surveyed and examined. The attempted micro-mobilization (i.e., targeted and interactive processes) of potential network supporters is viewed in this context, with a special emphasis on the online utilization of hip-hop music and video incorporating Jihadist themes.
|Keywords:||Online Jihadism, Muslim Youth, Computer-Mediated Communication, Hip-Hop Generation, Social Networks, MySpace, YouTube, Islamic Fundamentalism, Jihad, Diaspora, Pan-Islamism, Collective Identity, Terrorism, G-Had|
Associate Professor, Department of Social Sciences, Iowa Central Community College, Fort Dodge, IA, USA
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