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Will McCants

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Will McCants

Will McCants is a scholar of Center for Naval Analyses and the Institute for Public Research.[1][2]

Described by William Maclean, the Security Correspondent for Reuters, as "a leading scholar of militant Islamism,"[3] McCants was one of a number of experts to be singled out for criticism in the immediate aftermath of the 2011 Norway attacks. His message on Twitter saying Ansar al-Jihad al-Alami, or the Helpers of the Global Jihad, had posted a claim of responsibility for the attacks was given prominence in The New York Times, though he expressed skepticism about the authenticity of the claim and The Times noted it could not be confirmed.[4][2] Following the revelation by Norwegian police that the prime suspect was a Norwegian man holding anti-Muslim views, McCants was heavily criticized by other bloggers.[4][5] In a piece for entitled "How a clueless 'terrorism expert' set media suspicion on Muslims," Benjamin Doherty described how McCants tweets were presented in the New York Times and then spread by the BBC, and other mainstream news outlets.[4][5][1][4][6] There has been criticism by some academics of Doherty's article for unfairly blaming McCants for the media's mistakes.[7]

In an article published by Brookings, McCants explained the strong Salafist representation in the Egyptian government.[8]

McCants is author of a 2011 book entitled, Founding Gods, Inventing Nations: Conquest and Culture Myths from Antiquity to Islam, based on his doctoral research at Princeton University.


  1. ^ a b Will McCants (30 June 2011). "Don't Be Evil". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 2011-07-28. 
  2. ^ a b Michael Winter (23 July 2011). "17 dead in Oslo bombing, shootings; Norwegian held".  
  3. ^ William Maclean (20 July 2011). "Militants plan al Qaeda cartoon for kids, monitors say". Reuters. Retrieved 2011-07-28. 
  4. ^ a b c d Alastair Macdonald (25 July 2011). "Instant media wounded by rush to judgment on Oslo". Reuters. Retrieved 2011-07-28. 
  5. ^ a b Sarah Lloyd. "Oslo attacker identified, tweeters question why public, media was quick to blame Muslim terrorists".  
  6. ^ Doherty, Benjamin (23 July 2011). "How a clueless "terrorism expert" set media suspicion on Muslims after Oslo horror". The Electronic Intifada. Retrieved 29 January 2013. 
  7. ^ Richard Bartholomew, "Blame “Abu Sulayman al-Nasir”, Not Will McCants," 23 July 2011,
  8. ^ McCants, William. "The Lesser of Two Evils: The Salafi Turn to Party Politics in Egypt". Brookings. Retrieved October 21, 2012. 

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