‘Till Martyrdom Do Us Part’ Gender and the ISIS Phenomenon

ERIN MARIE SALTMAN & MELANIE SMITH, MAY 2015

Representing the second instalment of ISD’s Women and Extremism (WaE) programme, this report explores the phenomenon of Western females travelling to Syria and Iraq in support of ISIS. It first elaborates upon the motivations for these women and girls to migrate, explores some of the diverse range of profiles that have been monitored, and clarifies the role that they are likely to encompass once arriving in ISIS-held territory. Additionally, the report aims to elucidate how current government prevention and de-radicalisation infrastructure may be adapted to deal with this trend.

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The Online Ecosystem of the German Far-Right

This report presents the findings of a research project of ISD’s Digital Analysis Unit about the alternative online-ecosystem of the far-right, including alternative social media platforms and alternative media outlets. While these platforms draw in a global audience this report focuses specifically on the German speaking and Germany-focused communities and outlets within this ecosystem. Drawing together ISD’s digital ethnographic work across dozens of forums and channels with the latest in machine learning and natural language processing, this report provides an overview over the size and nature of the far-right communities on these platforms the motivations for participating in these communities and assesses whether banning far-right groups from mainstream platforms leads to the displacement of their followers to ‘alternative’ platforms. We also analyse the role of alternative ‘news’ outlets in disseminating far right concepts, drawing on the‘Hate Observatory’, a joint initiative of ISD and the MIT Media Lab , based on their Media Cloud software, and compare the frequency and types of coverage of far-right themes in mainstream and alternative media. This report also recommends steps to be taken by tech companies, government, civil society and researchers to counter the far-right online.