Al-Qaeda Sympathizers Creating Internet Communities

(USA Today) Kasie Hunt - Al-Qaeda sympathizers are using Orkut, a popular, worldwide Internet service owned by Google, to rally support for bin Laden, share videos and Web links promoting terrorism, and recruit non-Arabic-speaking Westerners, according to terrorism experts. On Orkut, at least 10 communities are devoted to praising bin Laden, al-Qaeda, or jihad against the U.S. The largest bin Laden community has more than 2,000 members. Visitors to the sites can find videos of attacks, see pictures of dead U.S. soldiers, and read an English translation of the Iraq-based wing of al-Qaeda's latest communique before it is available in English anywhere else, says Rita Katz, director of the SITE Institute in Washington. "You are creating what I call a virtual community of hatred and seeding these ideas very early," says Jerrold Post, director of the political psychology program at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. However, Bruce Hoffman, director of the RAND Institute's counterterrorism center, says, "The jihadists are already using the Internet. The real issue is how we counter these messages of hate and radicalism."

2006-03-10 00:00:00

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