Focus on Internet Imams as Recruiters for Al-Qaeda

(New York Times) Eric Schmitt and Eric Lipton - Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab most likely had contacts with radical American-born Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, whom investigators have also named as having exchanged e-mail messages with Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, charged with killing 13 people in November at Fort Hood, Tex. Awlaki and other Internet imams from the Middle East to Britain offer a televangelist's persuasive message of faith, as well as for the most devout worshipers ready to take the next step, to jihad. Abdulmutallab has now become somewhat of a hero, with his photograph posted on Web sites that feature announcements by these prominent clerics. American and European authorities say clerics like Awlaki offer a pipeline to al-Qaeda operatives in Yemen and Pakistan. "Awlaki is, among other things, a talent spotter," an American counterterrorism official said. "That's part of his value to al-Qaeda."

2010-01-01 07:11:28

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