• The growing role of Indonesian women in Islamist extremist terrorism

    The arrest of two Indonesian women as would-be suicide bombers shows how their desire for action coincided with the decision of ISIS leaders in Syria that in emergency conditions, women could be tactically deployed in jihad operations. A new study looks at how the role of women in Indonesian extremist organizations has evolved over the last four decades.

  • Dual-use sciene, technological innovation

    Scientific research can change our lives for the better, but it also presents risks – either through deliberate misuse or accident. Think about studying deadly pathogens; that’s how we can learn how to successfully ward them off, but it can be a safety issue too, as when CDC workers were exposed to anthrax in 2014 after an incomplete laboratory procedure left spores of the bacterium alive. Making decisions about the security implications of science and technology can be complicated. That’s why scientists and policymakers need clarity on the dual-use distinction to help consider our options.

  • JCCs across U.S. targeted by bomb threats for third time in January

    At least seventeen Jewish community centers across the United States received bomb threats on Tuesday, the third time this month that a wave of JCCs has received such threats on the same day. Among the JCCs targeted were those in Boulder, Colo.; Albany and Syracuse, N.Y.; West Orange, N.J.; Milwaukee, San Diego, and Salt Lake City.

  • Travel ban has “scant national security justification”: Terrorism expert

    One of the leading authorities on Jihadist terrorism warns that while the travel ban, which was announced by the Trump administration on Friday, has “scant national security justification,” it does have serious negative consequences for U.S. national security, and for its ability effectively to combat Islamist terrorism.

  • Of immigrants and terrorists (updated)

    If you were an ISIS operative in Raqqa plotting to launch a terrorist attack in the United States, and you proposed to your bosses to use the U.S. immigration system to infiltrate terrorists into the United States, they would summarily execute you for rank incompetence. Use the U.S. immigration system, with all its vetting and with a waiting time measure in years (if you are accepted!) to launch a terrorist operation? Any competent terrorist would choose the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) to enter the United States: There are enough ISIS followers in the thirty-eight VWP countries, and using the VWP is not only quicker: It is a sure thing. You will make it into the United States in hours or days, and without a hassle — not years, as is the case with the immigration route (for which a typical young would-be terrorist may not be eligible in any event).

  • Two Texas mosques burned to the ground this month

    The Islamic Center of Victoria was destroyed by a massive fire Saturday, less than three weeks after the partly constructed Islamic Center of Lake Travis suffered the same fate. The two fires come amid a time of increased unease within Muslim communities across the country.

  • Citizens of 7 travel-ban Muslim countries never implicated in mass killings in U.S.: Experts

    On Friday President Donald Trump imposed a travel ban to the United States of citizens from seven Muslim countries —- Syria, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen. Security experts note that citizens of these seven countries have so far never been implicated in mass killings in the United States. The major terrorist groups that have attacked the United States and other Western countries — al Qaeda, the Taliban, and ISIS — trace their roots to other Sunni such as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Qatar.

  • Bioterrorism poses catastrophic threat to U.S. agriculture

    The agriculture sector in the U.S. is a $1 trillion business and employs approximately 9.2 percent of American workers. In 2012, domestic animal agriculture – livestock and poultry production – generated approximately 1.8 million jobs, $346 billion in total economic output and $60 billion in household income. Experts are calling better understanding of the threats to agriculture posed by biological agents which can inflict catastrophic consequences on the U.S. population and economy.

  • Terrorism research must be driven by evidence, not political agendas

    Despite concerted efforts by many people and institutions, fundamental aspects of terrorism — identifying participants, understanding how they radicalize, and developing effective countermeasures — remain unclear. In a new Science article four experts from different fields propose a strategy for terrorism research.

  • Lessons from a former Somali refugee on the fight against Islamist extremism

    Nobody could seriously argue that Islam is a united body. It is more accurately understood as a culture in the grip of a brutal civil war—between Shi’a and Sunni, between secular authoritarians and radical clerics, between competing jihadi schools—that is simultaneously linked, ideologically and operationally, to monstrous acts of terrorism against non-Muslims inside and outside the Muslim world. We need to learn from the past by understanding that Islam’s internal fissures can work to our advantage. But there is nothing to be gained from a situation in which the very word “refugee” becomes a pejorative, as is more and more the case in America, or when we face legislative proposals that could, for example, prevent Kurdish Muslims from Iraq and Syria—traditionally our close allies—from entering our country.

  • Sharper focus on the young could help combat terrorism: Experts

    Field research, especially on the ground with youths engaged in violent extremism or susceptible to it, is needed to inform machine learning in mining vast amounts of field data that could improve an understanding of the terrorist threat of groups, such as Islamic State and Al Qaeda, suggests a new research paper.

  • Expert: Conviction of Hezbollah suspect in Peru could unravel Iran’s local terror network

    A successful conviction in the ongoing trial of a suspected Hezbollah operative in Peru could help authorities “unravel the network of operatives and supporters that Hezbollah has erected throughout the country,” an expert says. Mohammad Hamdar was detained in Lima in the fall of 2014 and tested positive for traces of nitroglycerin, an ingredient commonly used in the production of explosives. Authorities believe he may have been seeking soft targets for a terrorist attack, possibly during the U.N. Climate Change Summit in December 2014.

  • At least 32 Jewish Community Centers targeted in second wave of bomb threats

    At least 32 Jewish Community Centers across the United States were subjected to bomb threats on Wednesday, less than ten days after sixteen more JCCs were evacuated after similar threats. JCCs and other Jewish institutions were targeted in the Boston, Miami, Detroit, Cincinnati, Nashville, Minneapolis, and Orlando metro areas, among others. The Anti-Defamation League says that anti-Semitic incidents have spiked since the presidential election.

  • Islamic radicalization in Central Asia is not one-dimensional: Expert

    As Turkish authorities have arrested an Uzbek man as the alleged gunman accused of killing thirty-nine people on New Year’s Day at an Istanbul nightclub, a researcher who studies Central Asia said it would be a mistake in response to view Islamic radicalization as one-dimensional in the former Soviet states.

  • U.K. government must face kidnapping, torture claims in rendition case: U.K. court

    The U.K. highest court has ruled that former foreign secretary Jack Straw, MI6, and the U.K. government must stand trial for their participation in the 2004 kidnapping of a Libyan dissident and his wife. The unanimous ruling by the seven justices said that the rendition and torture of Abdel Hakim Belhaj breached rights enshrined in the Magna Carta, and should be put before an English court.