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Policy Brief

A “Linkage-Based” Approach to Combating Militant Islamist Propaganda: A Two-Tiered Framework for Practitioners

22 Nov 2016
Policy Brief by Haroro J. Ingram

This Policy Brief outlines a “linkage-based” approach to combating militant Islamist propaganda tailored for practitioners. It argues for a two-tiered approach to counter-terrorism strategic communications that addresses a spectrum of target audience motivations: antis, curious, engaged, tacit supporters and active supporters. The first tier undermines the key arguments at the heart of militant Islamist narratives and offers alternative narratives. This approach is designed to dismantle the “systems of meaning” at the heart of militant Islamist propaganda via the deployment of pragmatic- and identity-choice messages tailored to dissolve the linkages violent extremists draw between themselves and solutions and their enemies and crisis. The second tier uses strategies of network disruption and disengagement strategies to catalyse behavioural changes in target audiences away from joining or acting on behalf of violent extremist groups like al Qaeda or so-called Islamic State (IS). These tiers are mutually reinforcing: the first degrades the appeal of violent extremist messaging in an effort to constrict those who may become engaged in or even supporters of violent extremists while the second disturbs the trajectory of individuals from tacit to active supporters. The framework is designed to not only assist practitioners with synchronising campaign planning and message design but provides a way to categorise messaging and facilitate metric collection for better informed decision-making.

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How to cite: Ingram, H. J. “A "Linkage-Based” Approach to Combating Militant Islamist Propaganda: A Two-Tiered Framework for Practitioners”, The International Centre for Counter-Terrorism – The Hague 7, no. 6 (2016). DOI: