March 17, 2016
Propaganda and imagery are integral to terrorism. Their production by Da’esh in the last three years has achieved a competitive quality and displays bewildering resilience to counter terrorist measures. The digital media made available to audiences globally demonstrate a new dimension of immediacy of crime and ostentation. Videos of trials, beheadings, fighting and destruction have borrowed formats from formats such as video games and documentary films. The execution of people and the destruction of cultural objects and places have been used to produce a self-righteous culture of annihilation and implement an overall claim to a lasting change of the course of history in the Middle East and beyond.
Christian Christensen is Professor of Journalism in the Department of Media Studies at Stockholm University in Sweden. He focuses his research upon the relationship between media and power, in particular during times of warfare. He looks at the representation of Islam in the international media and the use of social media for information distribution.
Rüdiger Lohlker is Professor of Islamic Studies in the Oriental Institute at the University of Vienna, Austria. His research looks at the history of Islamic ideas, Islam and the Arab world online, modern Islamic movements, Jihadism and Islamic law. He focuses on Arab and Islamic websites and contemporary Islamic movements (Jihadism and Salafism in particular) in a comparative perspective. He maintains several blogs about Islam and Arabian culture, critique of anti-Muslim discourses and Arab hacker culture.
Dr. Nadia Oweidat is a Senior Non-Residential Fellow at New America. She also teaches Modern Islamic Thought and Extremism at Georgetown. Born and raised in Jordan, Dr. Oweidat holds a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Jordan, a M.A. in International Studies from the University of Wyoming, and a D.Phil. in Oriental Studies from Oxford University, where she was awarded the prestigious Weidenfeld Leadership Scholarship. Her doctoral research illuminates currents of Islamic thought and the challenges facing reformers who work from within the tradition. Prior to her doctoral studies, Dr. Oweidat worked as a Research Associate at the RAND Corporation, where she led several research projects. She initiated and co-led research and analysis of Arabic cultural material that promotes critical thinking (Barriers to the Broad Dissemination of Creative Works in the Arab World, RAND 2008). She also headed a study on the grassroots Egyptian reform movement Kefaya (The Kefaya Movement: A Case Study of a Grassroots Reform Initiative. Dr. Oweidat’s expertise spans a wide range of contemporary issues such as the Arab Spring, countering violent extremism, the radicalization of Muslim youth, and Internet trends among Arabic speakers.
Dr. Oweidat is a Board Member at the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy and is on the Advisory Board of the Muslim American Leadership Alliance (MALA). In 2014, she was chosen by the Council of the United States and Italy to participate in its 30th Annual Young Leaders Conference in Italy. Dr. Oweidat regularly provides commentary on the Arab and Muslim worlds on various Arabic and English news networks including the BBC, CNN, Al-Jazeera Arabic, France 24, and National Public Radio, and she is a regular contributor to the Book Section of the pan-Arab newspaper, Al-Arabi al-Jadid.
Moderated by Honey Al Sayed, adjunct professor at the School of Foreign Service in the Culture and Politics department at Georgetown University and development manager at El Hibri Foundation, which supports peace education and interfaith cooperation. Al Sayed created the bi-lingual radio program "Good Morning, Syria," and co-founded SouriaLi radio, a grassroots non-profit online radio station dedicated to working with Syrian people in fostering an advanced level of awareness in civil society. She is a member of the bulbula.co.uk media resource on who's who women experts in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia.