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School of Law & Government

Moign Khawaja 

Moinuddin (Moign) Khawaja is a PhD research student at the School of Law and Government, DCU. Moign has a background in international relations, world conflicts and journalism and has been a keen observer of Middle Eastern affairs since last two decades. He has worked as a multimedia journalist in the United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates and Sultanate of Oman. 


MA Journalism - University of Lincoln (2008)

Supervisor: Prof. Maura Conway

Thesis Title: Islamic State’s (IS) Visual Propaganda: Content, Structuring, Purposes

Thesis Abstract:

The birth and existence of the “Islamic State” generated a lot of international controversy, both in terms of its “Islamic” identity and its functioning as a “State.” While the Islamic aspect of IS has been highly debated, the state aspect needs to be challenged. IS supporters argue their state had its own borders, government institutions, army, and a powerful media, just like any other modern state. They also insist that almost all modern states came into existence out of terrorism and it is not just unique to IS.

Many experts agree that the most accepted requirements for determining the existence, hence legitimacy, of a state in international law is the following criteria stipulated in the 1933 Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States: i) a permanent population, ii) a defined territory, iii) an effective government, and iv) a capacity to enter into relations with other states.

Taking this criteria into account, can the “Islamic State” be recognised as a sovereign international state? Did the “Islamic State” manage to fulfil the statehood conditions expected from any modern state? My research aims the following two objectives: (i) address the statehood claims of the “Islamic State” by analysing propaganda videos which showcased its claims of running an effective government, depicted lifestyle of the population living within its territory, and expressed very clearly its domestic/foreign policy, (ii) assess its statehood claims by contrasting their propaganda with established norms, theories and conventions of international law and diplomacy.

Areas of Interest: Counter-terrorism, Foreign Policy, Propaganda, Radicalisation, Recruitment, Internet, Social Media, Violent Extremism, Visual Communications, Security Studies.


Maura Conway, Moign Khawaja, Suraj Lakhani, Jeremy Reffin, Andrew Robertson, and David Weir. "Disrupting Daesh: Measuring Takedown of Online Terrorist Material and its Impacts." VOX-Pol (2017): 1-45. 

Conway, M., Khawaja, M., Lakhani, S., Reffin, J., Robertson, A. and Weir, D., 2018. Disrupting Daesh: Measuring Takedown of Online Terrorist Material and its Impacts. Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, pp.1-20.

- Forthcoming: “Mapping the Contemporary Jihadi Online Ecology: Differential Disruption, Community Strength, Out-linking Practices, and Preferred Online Platforms”.

- Under review: “#ISIS Twitter Fans’ Visual Narratives – Contextualising Profile Pictures”.


Co-presented a paper entitled " “Mapping the Contemporary Jihadi Online Ecology: Differential Disruption, Community Strength, Outlinking Practices, and Preferred Online Platforms,” hosted by VOX-Pol at University of Amsterdam in August 2018.

Co-presented a paper entitled “Disrupting Daesh: Measuring Takedown of Online Terrorist Material and its Impacts” at Terrorism And Social Media (TASM) Conference, hosted by CyberTerror Project (CTP) at Swansea University in June 2017.

Co-presented a paper entitled "#ISIS Twitter Fans’ Visual Narratives – Contextualising Profile Pictures" at VOX-Pol’s Mid-Project Conference, hosted by DCU in June 2016.

Summer Schools and Workshops:

VOX-Pol Summer School: Topics in Violent Online Political Extremism. Organised by Central European University (CEU) in Budapest, Hungary from 4-9 July, 2016.

NATO Advanced Research Workshop on Terrorist Use of the Internet – Assessment and Response. Organised by Swansea University’s Cyberterrorism Project and VOX-Pol in Dublin, Ireland from 27-29 June, 2016.

Method52 Text Analytics Software Training Programme. Organised by the Department of Computing at the University of Sussex, Brighton, England, from 18-25 July, 2016.

Email Address:

Twitter: @MoignKhawaja

Personal Interests: Travelling, Football, Cooking, Movies.