Jihad Online: Islamic Terrorists and the Internet
The trend by Islamic extremists to utilize the Internet, particularly via websites, as a way to communicate, coordinate and to raise funds, continues a year after 9/11. The practice of Islamic extremist groups to turn the openness and instantaneous nature of communications on the Internet to their advantage is shown by the number, variety and depth of the sites dedicated to assisting these groups in their cause. While some of the websites have folded or been taken down, new ones, such as stopamerica.org (whose administrator has been indicted as a possible Al-Qaeda agent) have blossomed, carrying similar messages of hate and destruction. The existing sites maintained by Islamic extremists have continued to act as central nodes of disseminating propaganda, messaging among members and fundraising.
The Internet allows groups that are spread across the globe to quickly and efficiently get messages out to adherents; and the use of cryptography and other privacy tools allows groups to do so covertly. Because access to the Internet is so fast, cheap and flexible, the complexity of deciphering and tracking covert operations is compounded by the ease with which sites become known and shared; and can then be folded and restarted under different names using different addresses. The techniques and diverse means to keep messages and information hidden online are a practice that these groups will continue to improve upon and refine in the future. Because a troubling web site is gone, doesn't mean that Jihad has been abandoned. On the contrary, constant monitoring is required to track and trace the war that's been declared on the non-Islamic world in both the electronic and real world.
The report: Jihad Online: Islamic Terrorists and the Internet provides detailed information on this topic.
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