Data Collection

Visual representation, using dots and lines, of the interpersonal network of the perpetrators of the 2015 Paris attack and the March 2015 Brussels attacks. Graphed in Gephi.

The interpersonal network of the perpetrators of the 2015 Paris attack and the March 2015 Brussels attacks, 2014-2016.

Graphed in Gephi. Image taken from: Klausen, Jytte. "The Myth of Homegrown Terrorism," The Georgetown Security Studies Review, Special Issue: What the New Administration Needs to Know About Terrorism and Counterterrorism, 50-60.

The Western Jihadism Project is a unique multi-media archive of quantitative and qualitative data recording the growth of Jihadism in Western Europe, North America, and Australia since the early 1990s. The data collection now comprises records for terrorism offenders from 20 countries.

The collection provides individual-level data for analyzing the demography of homegrown terrorism and micro data for charting the transnational networks responsible for the development of the Western branches of Al Qaeda’s transnational political organization since the early 1990s.

The premise behind the project was formulated a decade ago. Globalization has facilitated the transformation of Islamist extremism into a new type of globalist terrorist movement that cannot be controlled by the means that Western governments used to control domestic terrorism. Ten years on, the mechanisms of the Western homegrown movement inspired by Al Qaeda and its cells and counter-cultural groups and the globalist Islamist terrorism are still poorly understood.

Requests to access the data should be directed to Dr. Klausen. Institutional Review Board protocol approval and an approved research plan are prerequisites to accessing the data. Individual graduate or PhD student requests for data access will require institutional permission. Otherwise, all access requests are limited to research teams.

About the Data

The collection is designed to facilitate the analysis of cross-national and personal social networks in Jihadist terrorist organization and recruitment in western nations. Over 7,200 individuals, 900 plots (successfully executed, failed, and foiled), 350 local and international terrorist organizations linked to Western Jihadist extremists, and ca. 30,000+ links between persons and between persons and organizations are recorded (only relations related to criminal activities attributed to terrorist entities are recorded).

The data has been manually coded following a codebook detailing nearly fifty variables ranging from data of birth and other demographic information to information about criminal acts, charges, and convictions. All the data derives from public sources ranging from court records, government press releases, and autobiographical statements made by the terrorism offenders themselves on social media or in Jihadist forums.

A segment of the data is available through the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD) at the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) through a previous study conducted on "A Behavioral Study of the Radicalization Trajectories of American "Homegrown" Al-Qaeda-Inspired Terrorist Offenders" in 2016.