Al-Jihad Fi Sabilillah: in the Heart of Green Birds

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


School of Computer and Security Science




Originally published in the Proceedings of the 3rd Australian Counter Terrorism Conference, Novotel Langley Hotel, Perth, Western Australia, 3rd-5th December, 2012. doi:10.4225/75/57a2e9138af7b


With an increasing focus on lone-wolf operations, al-Qaeda is becoming increasingly focussed on its internet discourses and propaganda. One of its most significant discourses is the importance of jihad and martyrdom in carrying out a terrorist attack. This study looks at Facebook pages and profiles and examines the discourses presented in relation to jihad and martyrdom. Three important concepts including their justification are considered: Al-Jihad fi Sabilillah (just fight for the sake of Allah), Istishhad (operational heroism of loving death more than the West love life) and Shaheed (becoming a martyr). Results supported previous studies indicating the strong seductive nature of such discourses. Although many discourses were similar to previous studies, several key differences were noted; namely, different emphasises within the concept of Shaheed as well as a strong focus on green bird imagery which became prominent during the Bosnian conflict. Understanding such discourses will be critical in not only preventing terrorism, but also in the developing better deradicalisation strategies.

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