THE CHANGING NATURE OF BANGLADESHI TERRORIST ORGANIZATIONS AND THE ROLE OF DIGITAL MEDIA

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paperResearch

Abstract

How do terrorist organizations evolve with the development of new communication technologies? The exponential growth of international communication technologies, particularly the Internet, and its impact on society has been one of the most studied subjects in recent years. Among terrorism scholars, security experts, and policymakers, the Internet’s role in radicalization, recruitment, and spreading terrorist ideology has become a widespread topic of discussion, research, and publication since 9/11. Many terrorism scholars believe that the Internet is an enabler and driver of radicalization, and it has a significant impact on almost every activity related to terrorism, from disseminating propaganda to recruitment and operational activities. Despite the voluminous literature on online radicalization, the changing nature of the terrorist organizations to adapt to new technologies has been least explored.

By analyzing the leadership structure, recruitment procedure, propaganda tactics, and operational activities of four Bangladeshi terrorist organizations, Harkatul Jihad Bangladesh (HuJIB), Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), Ansar al Islam (AAI), and Islamic State in Bengal, I show how the outfits have been going through changes and adapting new communication technologies. I have found that the traditional groups, HuJIB and JMB, are more structured, centralized, and based in religious educational institutions called madrassas. Most of the leaders of the traditional groups are well-versed in Islamic rules and principles. Their recruitment patterns are grounded in religious institutions, madrassa students, and mosque staff. The new generational groups, AAI and IS Bengal are tech-savvy groups with strong connections to Al-Qaeda and Islamic State. Most of the key coordinators or leaders of the new generational groups are educated in secular universities, either in Bangladesh or abroad. These two new generational outfits embraced digital media in their activities, from propaganda, recruitment to carrying out their attacks. Also, new generational groups are decentralized in their structure. Although they have formal leadership, the outfits have several small groups comprised of less than ten members, which are loosely connected to the central leaders.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBangladesh at 50: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow
PublisherBangladesh Studies Network
Pages1-22
Number of pages23
Publication statusUnpublished - 10 Jun 2022
EventBangladesh at 50: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow - University of Rome “Sapienza”, piazzale Aldo Moro 5, Rome, Rome, Italy
Duration: 9 Jun 202210 Jun 2022

Conference

ConferenceBangladesh at 50: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow
Country/TerritoryItaly
CityRome
Period9/06/2210/06/22

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