Islamic Fundamentalist Recruitment Online


An internet cafe in Taipei. Photo: Jared Tarbell/flickr

The idea that Islamic extremists use the internet for terrorist purposes is not exactly a revelation – terrorists have been coordinating attacks and spreading propaganda via email since the 1990s. Nevertheless, recent reports from the White House, as well as the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, suggest that the internet is being used more and more as a platform for extremist recruitment. With the rise of ‘Web 2.0’, or user-generated web content, extremists are now able to reach and interact with audiences of all ages, genders, backgrounds across geographic boundaries. Consequently, there has been a sharp increase in the number of ‘non-affiliated cells’ willing to carry out potentially fatal attacks.

  The internet is now the most important method of spreading jihad and Islam.
  -Imam Samudra, orchestrator of the 2003 Bali Bombings

This audio-visual slideshow looks at the methods currently being used by Islamic extremists to radicalize individuals online and equip them for violence._

  For more information, please click here  


The internet can be a powerful weapon for spreading extremist messages. With the exponential growth of global internet connectivity, it is now more important than ever that NGOs, think tanks, and governments work together to generate effective strategies to counter the use of the internet for these purposes. As noted at the conference of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF) on the Use of the Internet to Counter the Appeal of Extremist Violence in Riyadh earlier this year, for every harmful message on a particular internet medium, there should also be a counter-narrative on the same medium which provides a sound alternative to radicalized ideologies. Terrorist recruitment on the internet should not be a problem that is dealt with reactively– it needs to be defused before the real damage is felt.

For a much more detailed analysis on these topics, please read:


  • The United Nations CTITF Working Group on Countering the Use of the Internet for Terrorist Purposes – website

A Reading List on: Terrorism

The threat of terrorism is evolving. As the world becomes more and more globalized, the capabilities of terrorist groups become increasingly worrying. Over the past decade thousands of people have died as a result of extremist violence and cities such as New York, London, Madrid, Moscow, Mumbai, Bali, Lahore, and Baghdad have all experienced the harsh sting of terrorism first hand.

Unfortunately, there are very few signs which suggest that the recent wave of terrorism will be receding anytime soon. While groups such as Jemaah Islamiyah and Al Qaeda have been severely weakened, other groups such as Al-Shabaab have multiplied drastically.  Furthermore, increasing numbers of ‘lone wolves’ (such as the attempted ‘underwear bomber,’ Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, and Fort Hood shooter Nidal Malik Hasan) present a different kind of threat.

This syllabus aims to give some insight into the security threat posed by national and transnational terrorism.

Humanitarian Issues

Australia’s Indigenous (Prison) Population

Indigenous teenagers in Arnhem Land (Photo: Rusty Stewart/flickr)

Last week Australia performed extraordinarily well in the Global Liveability Survey and can now claim four of the top ten ‘most liveable cities’ in the world. One shining performer was the West Australian capital, Perth, which came in at 8th Place, just below Helsinki and just above a rival Australian city, Adelaide. You can take it from a proud Perth inhabitant – it’s a beautiful place to visit and even more remarkable place to live.

Unless, of course, you are an indigenous Australian, in which case there’s a very good chance you will be spending some time in Perth’s least beautiful locations – namely Hakea, Casuarina, or Bandyup maximum security prisons.

Last week a report was released by the government-established Productivity Commission, assessing the ongoing welfare (or lack thereof) of indigenous Australians.  Throughout Australia, indigenous people are 14 times more likely to be incarcerated than non-indigenous people.  In Western Australia specifically, indigenous people make up just less than 4% of the total Western Australian population, yet they make up 40.4% of the total male prison population, and 51.5% of the female prison population (Australian Bureau of Statistics).

A Reading List on: Cybercrime and Cybersecurity

The world has entered the digital age. We rely on the internet for information, communication and so much more; and technology influences almost every aspect of modern society, from personal banking to the management of global conflict.   As an area of academic study, ‘cybercrime’ is still very much in the initial stages of development, as even the experts struggle to come to terms with ever-quickening pace of technological change and proliferation.  This syllabus provides insight into some of the sources currently available on cybercrime and cybersecurity (with an additional focus on the controversial issue of ‘cyberwarfare’).


A Reading List on: Corruption and Asset Recovery

“Corruption undermines Governments’ ability to act and serve their people. It siphons off the finance intended to reduce poverty and discourages investment in economies,” (Helen Clark, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP))

There is no doubt: the existence of corruption can poison the legitimacy of otherwise stable and secure governments. When the state itself is corrupt, how can it hope to encourage the rule of law among its citizens? Furthermore, corruption is directly linked to poverty and insecurity, and can severely stifle development in education and health. This syllabus on corruption and asset recovery aims to share some insight into the issue of corruption and efforts to combat it across the globe.