Honorary Senior Research Associate, Department of Security and Crime Science, University College London

Donald Holbrook is an Honorary Senior Research Associate at the Department of Security and Crime Science, University College London and an Associate Fellow at the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism, The Hague.

He was previously a lecturer at the Department of Politics, Philosophy, and Religion at Lancaster University and Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence, University of St Andrews.

He has published widely on topics relating to beliefs, ideas, and media in the context of terrorism and political violence, terrorist use of the internet and the terrorist information environment. He has also managed several applied research programmes for government agencies and provided training for policymakers and counter-terrorism, law-enforcement and prison service professionals in a variety of different countries and organisations.

Donald has worked on the CREST-funded The Internal Brakes On Violent Escalation project.


Personal webpage



  • Holbrook, D. (ed.) (forthcoming) Al-Qaeda 2.0: A Critical Reader, Hurst, London.
  • Holbrook, D. (2014) The Al-Qaeda Doctrine: The Framing and Evolution of the Leadership's Public Discourse, Bloomsbury: NY
  • Holbrook, D.; Taylor, M. and Currie, PM (eds.) (2013) Extreme Right-Wing Political Violence and Terrorism, Bloomsbury: NY.


  • Holbrook, D. (2016) ‘Al-Qaeda’s Grievances in Context: Reconciling Sharia and Society’, International Relations (30:4, pp. 473-493).
  • Holbrook, D. (2016) “Just Terror’: Al-Qaeda, the Islamic State and the Boundaries of Legitimate Warfare’ Journal of the Oxford Centre for Socio-Legal Studies (vol. 2, iss. 1), https://joxcsls.com/2016/11/01/just-terror-al-qaeda-the-islamic-state-and-the-boundaries-of-legitimate-warfare/
  • Holbrook, D. (2015) ‘Designing and Applying an “Extremist Media Index”, Perspectives on Terrorism, October.
  • Holbrook, D. (2015) ‘A critical analysis of the role of the internet in the preparation and planning of acts of terrorism’ in Dynamics of Asymmetric Conflict (special issue on Computer-Assisted Terrorism) (vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 121–133)
  • Holbrook, D. (2015) ‘Al-Qaeda and the Rise of ISIS’ in Survival (57:2, pp. 93–104)
  • Ramsay, G. & Holbrook, D. (2015) ‘The representation of violence by insurgent political actors: the “violent” part of “violent extremism”?’ in Behavioural Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression (7:1, pp. 84–96).
  • Holbrook, D. (2014) ‘Approaching terrorist public relations initiatives’ in Public Relations Inquiry special issue on ‘Propaganda, terrorism and ethics’ (3:2, pp. 141-161)
  • Holbrook, D & Taylor, M. (2014) ‘Developing Grading Processes for Ideological Content’ in Journal of Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism (9:1, pp. 32-47).
  • Holbrook, D. (2013) ‘Alienating the Grassroots: Looking Back at Al Qaeda’s Communicative Approach Toward Muslim Audiences’ in Studies in Conflict and Terrorism (vol. 36, pp. 883–898).
  • Holbrook, D; Ramsay, G and Taylor, M. (2013) “Terroristic Content” - Towards a Grading Scale’, in Terrorism and Political Violence (vol. 25, pp. 202–223).
  • ‘Holbrook, D. (2012) ‘Al-Qaeda’s Response to the Arab Spring’ in Perspectives on Terrorism (vol. 6, no. 6, 2012).
  • Holbrook, D. (2010) ‘Using the Qur’an to Justify Terrorist Violence: Analysing Selective Application of the Qur’an in English-Language Militant Islamist Discourse’ in Perspectives on Terrorism (4:3)

Book Chapters

    • Holbrook, D. (2016) ‘Ayman al-Zawahiri and the rise of ISIL’ in Simon Staffel & Akil Awan (eds.) Jihadism Transformed, Hurst.
    • Holbrook, D. (2016) ‘Al-Qa’ida: Formation and Evolution’ in Andrew Silke (ed.) Routledge Handbook of Terrorism and Counterterrorism, Abingdon: Routledge [[forthcoming]]

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