Published on Nov 26, 2012 – “On Wednesday 21 November ICSR’s Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens and Shiraz Maher presented the findings of their latest report, ‘Lights, Camera, Jihad: al-Shabaab’s Western Media Strategy’.”
Key take-aways from this International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation lecture include:
- The report was not on the Somali Civil War or on the Somali Diaspora.
- Since 2007, 1,300 Westerns have gone to fight for Al-Shabaab (1,000 were ethnic Somalis, 300 were non-Somalis).
- Key triggers include the invasion of foreign powers (Ethiopia, AMISOM, and Kenya) as well as Al-Shabaab’s merger with Al-Qaeda.
- For local nationalist Somali recruitment, money and clan relations are paramount.
- For international recruitment, a clash of civilizations narrative, effective military competence, and action are vital.
- Key media mediums include press releases, documentaries, and Twitter
- Goals of Al-Shabaab’s propaganda are: provide an alternative to mainstream Western media, take control of actions and consequences, project a resemble of order within Al-Shabaab, and display the benefits of Shariah law.
- The launch video contains a showing of Al-Shabaab’s news report “The Burundian Bloodbath,” the documentary “Under the Shade of the Shariah,” the press release on “Bilal al-Birawi,” and tweets from December 2011 to April 2012.
- The Islamic Courts Union, a precursor to Al-Shabaab, provided governance to Somalia, which gained the the group remittances from members of the Somali diaspora.
- A key propagandist of Al-Shabaab was Omar Hammani, who encouraged foreigners to come to Somalia to fight and to learn about Islam.
- Motives for violent jihad are a desire for adventure, the defense of Muslim lands, the establishment of a caliphate, and faith must be link to action.
- Key ideological conceptions include an ummah consciousness (Muslim solidarity) and making the hijra (an immigration).
- Al-Shabaab had a physical infrastructure in the U.S. and U.K. – such as hawala networks for remittances.
- Somalis within Al-Shabaab want to keep its struggle within Somalia, but foreign fighters want to internationalize jihad.
See the report at: http://icsr.info/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/ICSR-Lights-Camera-Jihad-Report_Nov2012_ForWeb-2.pdf
See the press release at: http://icsr.info/2012/11/launch-of-icsr-report-al-shabaabs-western-media-strategy/