Cyber jihad as a virtual invitation into terrorism activities : multimodal critical discourse analysis of Rumiyah and Inspire magazines
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In the past several years, Europe has experienced brutal terrorist attacks, mainly in Belgium, Germany, France, and England. Hundreds of people lost their lives over a short period of time. Lately, the increasing opportunities of cyberspace have led to a propaganda boom with political, religious, and ideological agendas moving toward social media and virtual magazines. Although it is easy to make connections to the rise of the Islamic State, it is essential to search for the reasons behind the obvious answers. This thesis applies a multimodal critical discourse analysis (MCDA) and uses Social constructivism as theoretical basis. The investigation will examine cyber jihad characteristics, ideological arguments within The Islamic State (ISIS) and Al-Qaeda´s (AQ) socially constructed reality, and further similarities and differences of the virtual magazines Rumiyah and Inspire. Throughout close-reading and analysis of six selected articles of each latest published issue it becomes clear that ISIS and AQ include several different characteristics of cyber jihad in their articles. The magazines promote jihad by using cyberspace as a modern telecommunications outlet, intentionally using loaded textual writings and visual images to produce an emotional response in their audience. It may also seem as ISIS and AQ is framing a narrative of their own constructed reality. The constructed reality is anchored into the ideology of establishing the Islamic State and carry out terrorism activities. The analysis further uncovers several differences and similarities between Rumiyah and Inspire. The publications both appear organized, planned, and structured, and the structures appear nearly similar, containing a front page, content list, and strategically organizing articles by theme. Rumiyah is deeply anchored to the ideological idea of educating their audience in moral, law-related, and historical events. Inspire rather aims to educate its audience in concrete details on how to carry out terrorism activates with step-by-step methods, and contains less theologically anchored material. The aim is to access and understand the cyber jihad issue, and further investigate and increase knowledge about the impact virtual magazines have by its linguistics and visual images.