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HCSS Snapshot - Holy Month of Jihad? Measuring Terrorist Activity During Ramadan in the Post-9/11 Era

July 16th 2018 - 16:18
people laying flowers at a terrorist attack

Although Ramadan is the month of repentance and a time of unity and solidarity for Muslims worldwide, terrorist organizations like ISIS and al-Qaeda take it as an opportunity to call for attacks, labeling it “the month of conquest and jihad”. Attacks during Ramadan fit the strategic rationale of such organizations, allowing them to showcase their operational capacity, while also forming an attractive incentive from the perpetrators’ perspective who expect double the reward for their actions during the holy month. Furthermore, media outlets are quick to draw a link between attacks and the holy month. 

But what does the data show? Is there a higher risk of terrorist attacks during Ramadan? To enhance the structural understanding of the relationship between terrorist activity and the holy month, the authors of this Snapshot examine the data, analyzing 25,360 terrorist attacks since 9/11 by 81 terrorist organizations through the Global Terrorism Database (GTD).

The findings are outlined in the Snapshot, which can be found here.

Photo credit: David Holt from London, England [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Reinier Bergema is a Strategic Analyst at HCSS. He holds a dual Master’s degree in Political Science (International Relations) and Public Administration (Crisis and Security Management), both from Leiden University. His research interests include, inter alia, radicalization, (jihadist) foreign fighters, and terrorism.