Check out my new article for the Global Network on Extremism & Technology: “How Ansar al-Sharia in Tunisia’s Message Framing Primed Its Members To Become Recruits For The Islamic State”

There are a number of reasons why Tunisians joined the Islamic State in Iraq, Syria, and Libya. One underappreciated aspect of this is the way Ansar al-Sharia in Tunisia’s (AST) messaging primed members of the group and others in society that were exposed to, attended, or followed online AST activities and events. In my new book, Your Sons Are At Your Service: Tunisia’s Missionaries of Jihad, I describe this process, which I will examine in brief here. In particular, I will explore AST’s motivational framing, which “functions as prods to action.” The major themes AST crafted in its narrative was related to brotherhood, the defense of Islam, the creation of an Islamic state, and remaining as an entity.

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Check out an excerpt of my book published by Jihadica: “Ultra Extremism Among Tunisian Jihadis Within The Islamic State”

Many within Syria viewed Tunisians as more extreme relative to other foreign fighters.[1] There is a twofold aspect to this. The first relates to the human rights violations that Tunisians have been involved in within Syria, which is not necessarily unique considering all of the human rights violations committed by members of IS, whether local or foreign. The second, which this article focuses on, relates to some Tunisians involved within an extremist trend within IS called the al-Hazimiya (Hazimis), which is named after the progenitor of the ideas these individuals follow, Ahmad Bin ‘Umar al-Hazimi, a Saudi religious scholar. It should be noted that al-Hazimi is not a member or affiliated with IS; his ideas, however, were co-opted by some members of IS. As former Saudi ISIS member Sulayman Sa‘ud al-Suba‘i noted about this extremist trend among Tunisians in ISIS, “it was mostly the Tunisians who were involved in takfir, although personally, I doubt they had such extensive religious knowledge.”[2]

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Check out the new podcast I recorded with Marc Lynch from the Project on Middle East Political Science: “Tunisia’s Missionaries of Jihad: A Conversation with Aaron Zelin”

This week’s podcast is a conversation with Aaron Y. Zelin, who discusses his new book Your Sons Are at Your Service: Tunisia’s Missionaries of Jihad. In the book, Zelin explains how Tunisia became one of the largest sources of foreign fighters for the Islamic State— even though the country stands out as a democratic bright spot of the Arab uprisings and despite the fact that it had very little history of terrorist violence within its borders prior to 2011.

You can listen to the podcast here.

Book Launch Event

I’m excited to announce that my book launch at The Washington Institute For Near East Policy will be on February 11 and honored to do it with Rukmini Callimachi!

You will be able to purchase copies of the book at the event.

You can register to attend here. I hope to see you there!

And the live stream will be available here.

For details on future events click here.