Monday, February 18, 2013

Islamic extremists are an increasingly multilingual bunch, especially online

    Monday, February 18, 2013   No comments

ARABIC was for long the unchallenged language of Islamic extremism. Its speakers far outnumber any other linguistic group. Arab lands are the most fruitful recruiting grounds. Without Arabic, tyros may struggle at training camps and on the battlefield. And fluency implies piety: the language of the Koran also connotes learning and wisdom.

But the once monoglot world of jihad is increasingly multilingual. Al-Qaeda has long advocated the creation of self-starting, independent terrorist cells. Materials are being produced in the language of any part of the world that has a Muslim minority and thus potential sympathisers, says Thomas Hegghammer, an expert on violent extremism. Translations are appearing in the languages of countries where jihadist leaders want to see further activity.


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