Research Briefs are short, engaging and accessibly written descriptions of the results of TSAS-funded research projects, focusing on top-level conclusions and policy relevance.

Research Reports are longer, evidence-based, policy-relevant scholarly analyses on topics related to terrorism, security, and society, broadly defined, that touch on Canada, Canadian issues in comparative context, or global issues of interest to a Canadian audience.

Working Papers are scholarly analyses of various lengths that provide analysis based on TSAS-funded research projects. We are no longer accepting submissions for this series.

No Country for a Returning Foreign Fighter? More Reasons for Repatriating Canadian IS Member in Custody

What should the Canadian government do about returning extremist travellers who have been involved with the so-called Islamic State (IS)? Should the government develop a gender-informed response to deal with male and female members of IS? What are some of the major causes of radicalization leading some Canadians to join IS? What are the views…


Preparing Professionals to Dialogue about Extremism and Radicalization: A look at the ERC programs at McGill University and University of Quebec in Montreal

Historically, extremist groups from religious and far-right organizations have been active across Canada. In the last few years, the situation in Quebec has been particularly alarming (Amarasingam and Tiflati 2015; Dwivedi 2017; Zine 2019). According to Ministere de la securite publique (2016), between 2013 and 2014, religious-based hate crimes against Jewish people, Muslims, and unspecified…


Domestic Jihadist Threat to Australia and Canada 2000-2020: An Overview

There is surprisingly little systematic and publicly available information on the nature, scale, and evolution of the Jihadist threat in Australia and Canada. Government responses to specific terrorist incidents and annual reports on the terrorist threat provide little insight into the perpetrators, their methods, and intended targets. More information is available in the media, but…


‘IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER’: Recognizing the Breadth of Women’s Participation in Violent Political Organizations and Beyond.

The potential for political violence in women is still something that most contemporary societies are wary of openly acknowledging. It is, after all, easier to apprehend the relation between women and violence as a unidirectional one, that is to say, as something that is done to them. Even when a woman is at the origins…


Tracking Transnational Terrorist Resourcing Nodes and Networks

This study is the first comprehensive effort to collect, code, compare, and analyze all available open source data on transnational terrorist financing networks. It thus contributes to the ongoing optimization of anti-terrorist resourcing laws, policies, and risk-management practices. Initially the study operationalizes some key concepts, then goes on to review efforts to contain terrorist financing…


Meanwhile in Canada: anti-Muslim ordinary racism and the banalization of far-right ideology

Aurélie Campana (Université Laval) et Samuel Tanner (Université de Montréal) This paper focuses on the public discourse of extra-parliamentary far right groups in Canada. It analyses how these groups shape discourses on Muslims and Islam in an attempt to influence public debates on core far right issues, such as immigration. It argues that more subtle…



Empirical research on terrorism hoaxes is limited, because hoaxes are frequently excluded from large sample terrorism events database on the grounds that they do not directly yield casualties or property damage. Some data sources do include information on terrorism hoaxes, but they are limited by their scope of coverage (see Figure 1). International Terrorism: Attributes…


Linguistic and Narrative Trends Among Islamic State Videos and Magazines

This study applies the semi-automated method of sentiment analysis to magazines and videos that have been produced by the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) in order to determine what thematic narratives are prevalent within this propaganda and how consistent these narratives are between the platforms of magazines and videos. The data for this study included 28…


Duped: Why Gender Stereotypes are Leading to Inadequate Deradicalization and Disengagement Strategies

In narratives around insurgencies, terrorism, and other forms of armed political violence, the media -and policymakers- frequently portray women as victims or unintelligent pawns of men. Occasionally, when a women has a direct role in a violent act, she will receive more in-depth attention, with various often salacious details reported by the media about her…


Belonging: Feelings of attachment and acceptance among immigrants in Canada

In line with previous research, we argue that belonging is a core dimension of immigrant integration, and that belonging is better conceptualized and measured by distinguishing between immigrants’ feeling of being attached and feeling of being accepted. Feeling attached captures immigrants’ desire to belong, whereas feeling accepted captures the perception that the community wants them…


Trajectories of Radicalized Females in Montreal

In February 2016, it was reported that 10-12 young females– from varied religious and secular families – who lived in Canada and had been educated in Canadian schools had left for Syria. Of these, at least five Canadian women had conceived children in ISIS territory (Cain 2016, Hopper 2016) and were thus contributing to raising…


Forensic Psychiatry and the Extremist: A Review of the Recent Violence Risk Assessment Tools for Offenders Convicted of Terrorism Offences

Opining on the concept of dangerousness, Michel Foucault once characterized psychiatry as an endeavor that attempts “to rationalize the confused where madness and crime mix”. In his view, psychiatry gained ‘prestige’ because it developed a framework of a medical discipline concerned with “a reaction to the dangers inherent to the social body”. There is some…


Kidnapping for Ransom: An Analysis of Canadian Cases

Since 2001, thirty Canadian nationals have been kidnapped and held for ransom by terrorist groups while traveling or working abroad. This paper explores two questions relevant to policymakers and analysts assigned to kidnapping for ransom (KFR) files: why are Canadians targeted in kidnapping operations by terrorist groups; and what options are available to the Government…


How “Alone” are Lone-Actors? Exploring the Ideological, Signaling, and Support Networks of Lone-Actor Terrorists

The threat of lone-actor terrorism poses a unique challenge to security practitioners tasked with detecting, identifying, and preventing acts of ideologically and politically-motivated violence. Conventional knowledge and early academic work on lone-actor terrorism has popularized the concept that these individuals radicalize, operate, plan, and execute terrorist plots in relative anonymity, with little connection to formal…


Understanding the diversity of Jihadi Rhetoric: Who says what, and how?

Information on how the Global Jihadist Movement’s (GJM) leaders define their ideology is widely available, but few studies have focused on analyzing the entire contribution of all the actors involved in the construction of this decentralized movement’s discourse (Winter 2015), and few studies provide an in-depth qualitative analysis of it (Macnair and Frank 2017). In…


From nascent insurrections to full-blown insurgencies: Why some militant groups engage in sustained armed conflicts, a quantitative approach

There is a growing threat from terrorism and insurgencies worldwide in recent years. It is puzzling why some initially weak militant groups, who face immense difficulties in garnering material resources and support, sustain violent operations and confront more powerful militaries. Why do some militant groups engage in sustained armed conflicts while other groups do not?…


Analysis of Low-Tech Terrorism in Western Democracies: Attacks with Vehicles, Blades and Incendiary Devices

This study explores the issue of low-tech terrorism in Canada, France, Germany, the United States and the United Kingdom from 2001 through 2017. As a descriptive analysis, this study reveals significant trends, as well as the most common terrorist groups involved in low-tech terrorism, their weapon(s) of choice, target(s) of choice, and how low-tech terrorism…


Reporting Suspicion in Canada: Insights from the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing

Following the premise that suspicion is less an event than a process, how do banks produce suspicion about financial transactions for reporting purposes? To what extent the quality of suspicious activity reporting is controlled? Download Working Paper Read Policy Brief


The Experience of Canadian Muslim Civil-society Organization and Activists in Influencing and Shaping Counter-terrorism Legislation and Policy

The main objective of this research is to understand the experiences of Canadian Muslim civil-society organisations that seek to influence counter-terrorism legislation and policy. I use the public debate surrounding the enactment of one of the most significant pieces of Canadian counter-terrorism legislation since 2001, the 2015 Anti-terrorism Act, Bill C-51, as a case study….


Broadening our Understanding of Anti-Authority Movements in Canada

Academic explorations of anti-authority movements are virtually non-existent in Canada. We have no reliable primary data or empirical insights into Freemen-on-the-Land (FOTL) or other similar contingents. What we do know comes largely from Associate Chief Justice Rooke’s decision in Meads v. Meads (2012). He refers to the loose collection of individuals and small cells as…


A Concurrent Evaluation of Threat Assessment Tools for the Individual Assessment of Terrorism

This research examines what is the content overlap among three tools that may be relevant for assessing an individual’s risk for terrorist violence: Version 3 of the Historical-Clinical-Risk Management—20 (HCR-20 V3), the first and second versions of the Violent Extremism Risk Assessment Protocol (VERA and VERA 2), and the Multi-Level Guidelines (MLG)? Download Working Paper…


Talking to Foreign Fighters: Socio-Economic Push versus Existential Pull Factors

The research acquired primary data through interviews with foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq, the families and friends of such fighters, and other online supporters of jihadism, to better understand the process by which these fighters radicalized and their motivations for travelling to Syria or Iraq. Between mid-2014 and early 2016 130 interviews were completed…


Trying to Talk to Terrorists: Ethical and Methodological Challenges in Canada

Scholars have long shied away from talking to terrorists. This is because there are significant methodological and ethical problems posed by such research. How can we manage those challenges and facilitate such research? Terrorism scholars face a unique challenge: accessing “primary data.” Most social sciences use interviews with those they are studying as an essential…


The Future of Right-Wing Terrorism in Canada

What is the range of likely scenarios for future right-wing terrorism in Canada, based on connections to radical movements in the US and Europe? Which factors or actions may mitigate the most likely scenar­ios? How might the future of Canadian right-wing terrorism be distinct from those of the US and Europe? There has been a…


Jihad in the Jazeera: Explaining The Islamic State’s Growing Insurgent Threat in Egypt

Why did Wilayat Sinai – The Islamic State’s affiliate in the Sinai Peninsula – evolve to become an unprecedented challenge to the Egyptian state? From 2012 to 2015, militant attacks in the Sinai have increased tenfold, to over 100 attacks per month on average in 2015. Egyptian military casualties are estimated to be over 700…

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Research Briefs: Research Briefs are invited submissions from TSAS grant recipients only. We do not accept unsolicited submissions to this series at this time.

Research Reports
: TSAS welcomes submissions of evidence-based, policy-relevant scholarly analyses on topics related to terrorism, security, and society, broadly defined, that touch on Canada, Canadian issues in comparative context, or global issues of interest to a Canadian audience. Research Reports are 5000-8000 words. At this time, we only accept submissions from current TSAS affiliates. Please contact us for detailed information on submitting your manuscript.

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