Jihad Detainees Reveal Mass Recruitment Via Internet

Written by The Media Line Staff
Published Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Confessions of several detainees in Saudi Arabia are providing an indication of the extant Jihadi websites are impacting on potential Al-Qa’ida recruits.

Detained terror suspects explained in televised interviews broadcast on Saudi television on Tuesday how Al-Qa’ida was using the Internet as a tool to recruit new members and propagate radical ideology.

Detainees said they were inspired by Jihadi films and statements by Al-Qa’ida chief Osama Bin Laden and other leading Jihad figures, which were posted on the Internet.

The interviewees included the Egyptian Abu ‘Azzam Al-An’sari, who is editor of the online ‘Sada Al-Jihad (Jihad Echo) magazine, and Um Usama, editor of the Al-Khansa magazine.

Those interviewed said the Internet was their preferred means of recruiting people and propagating their ideas, because it provided relative security, especially since none of the participants in the forums know each others’ identities.

Detained Al-Qa’ida suspects have admitted to joining the organization after following news of the fighters in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The televised reports said these radical websites promised their readers they would reach paradise if they participated in holy war, propaganda and training. The websites base their legitimacy on fatwas or religious decrees of well-known religious figures in order to persuade youngsters to join their ranks.

Saudi Arabia is very concerned about the use of the Internet as a tool to promote terrorism.

The kingdom has been combating Al-Qa'ida-inspired terrorism since May 2003, when several attacks were launched on compounds in Riyadh, killing 27 people, including American citizens.

Terrorists linked to Al-Qa’ida have been targeting official institutions, diplomatic and economic interests and foreigners in an attempt to undermine the monarchy and drive out Westerners.

Saudi Arabia is an ally of the United States in the war on terror.

In June 2007 Saudi security forces arrested three people suspected of belonging to Al-Qa’ida and running websites promoting terrorism.

One of them was found with more than 40 gigabytes of video and print material in his possession, including video footage and printed material related to terrorism.

Confiscated footage also included material on the collection and transferal of funds and preparation and usage of explosives.

Al-Qa’ida operatives and other groups often use the Internet as a tool for recruiting new members and spreading their messages. The ease with which messages can be spread and the ability to preserve anonymity have made the Internet a popular means of communication for these groups.

(hat tip: internet haganah - who offers sharp interspersed commentary... )

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