New Book

Countering Militant Islamist Radicalisation on the Internet: a User Driven Strategy to Recover the Web 160pp, ISBN: 1-874-109-86-9, hardback. Order from Amazon. Read online on Google Books.

By Johnny Ryan, Senior Researcher. Foreword by Alan Dukes, Director General of the IEA, and former Minister for Justice and for Finance. Order from Amazon.


“Internet communities might be terrorism-fighting tools? That’s what he suggests, and he makes a pretty compelling case for the thesis, from what I can tell”

– Larry Sanger, co-Founder of Wikipedia, on his blog

“This book is a valuable aid to reflection among all those concerned to protect our lives and democratic liberties against the evils of international terrorism”

-Alan Dukes, former Director General of the Institute of European Affairs and former Irish Minister for Justice.

“His study has been especially useful concerning the analysis of technical solutions to the spread of violent radicalisation through the Internet

– European Commission DG FSJ impact assessment {COM_SEC(2007)1424}, 6 November 2007 [link]

“Ryan, a former Cambridge University researcher – who worked alongside Prof Christopher Andrew, president of Corpus Christi College and chair of the Cambridge Intelligence Seminar – reveals in this work the elaborate, web-based virtual communications networks employed by groups such as al-Qaeda to connect with, radicalise and recruit young Europeans to their terror cells. … Ryan offers a comprehensive policy-based solution to the issue of militant Islamist rhetoric on the internet. … This book demystifies the “intellectual-unknown” of the internet and its use by groups such as al-Qaeda. … The book represents the unique and positive contribution that Irish defence scholars can make at EU and international level”

The Irish Times. [read full review]

This book is food for thought. We think of ourselves as having an organised and ordered society. What we are don’t understand so well is that even in or own states, where we imagine the writ reaches and things are subject to our authority, there is an awful lot going on which actually we don’t control. This is a very big challenge to our society: how do we deal with this without clamping down on the free speech that we seek to protect? We really do have a problem in society, and this is chapter and verse what this book is about.

Dame Pauline Neville-Jones, UK Shadow Security Secretary, speaking at the launch of this title on 9 July 2007.


Violent radicalisation on the Internet is at the nexus of two key trends: the democratisation of communications driven by user generated content on the Internet; and the democratisation of strategic violence driven by mass-casualty non-state terrorism. How best can Europe capitalise on the first trend to counter the second?

This book examines this question using primary materials drawn from web forum conversations, al Qaeda documents, texts of leading Islamist thinkers, opinion polls, policy documents and interviews with technology and security specialists.

As this book argues, the answer to violent radicalisation on the Internet lies not in censorship of the Internet, but in the “user driven” Internet revolution.

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