Terrorist groups use the internet for a number of reasons; chief amongst them the dissemination of narratives to supporters and detractors alike. Al Qaeda’s single narrative discusses the basic grievance that exists between the West and the Muslim world, the vision of the Caliphate in which this grievance is resolved and the pathway that takes Muslims from the grievance to the vision through violent jihad. This chapter examines and assesses the narratives produced by al Shabaab – an official affiliate of al Qaeda – through Twitter during the Westgate terrorist attack of September 2013 in terms of the single narrative framework. By doing so, the author discovers that al Shabaab and al Qaeda produce similar narratives on the basic grievance and the pathway, but that there is no evidence to suggest that al Shabaab are fighting to establish a religious caliphate. Instead, al Shabaab appears to have geographically limited political ambitions that they seek to redress through their campaign of violence.
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