Characteristics of Islamist Websites

Excellent and recent analysis of the most common characteristics of islamist websites published by the Middle East Media Research Institute :

"The media platform favored by the Islamist organizations is the Internet, which they prefer for several reasons: firstly, for the anonymity it allows - anyone can enter and post to a site without divulging personal information; secondly, due to the medium's availability and low cost - all that is required is a PC and an Internet connection; and thirdly, due to the ability to distribute material to a great number of people over a wide geographic area in a matter of seconds.

The organizations use the Internet mainly for propaganda and indoctrination, but also for operational military needs.

This paper will discuss the distinguishing characteristics of the websites of Islamist organizations and their supporters; the various online activities through which terrorist organizations assist the mujahideen on the ground, both militarily and, especially, with propaganda; and the Internet polemics that these organizations conduct vis-à-vis their enemies."

The majority of articles you've probably read are doing nothing more than scratching the surface of the topic. Fundraising, propaganda, communications within steganographic images and the use of plain simple encryption, or the thriller type of scenarious where entire food supply chains get remotely controlled or where your next dose of Prozac may be a little bit more dangerous than it actually is, of course because terrorists may have the capacity to do so. In the post 9/11 world terrorist experts started emerging from all over the globe, universities realizied the potential and opened up educational courses, even degrees, security companies started pitching their offers with cyberterrorism in mind, and last but not least the mainstream media doesn't seem to stop piggybacking on historical events while actually doing terrorists the biggest marketing favour of them all - the media echo effect. Someone blows him or herself up in the Western world, and everyone forgets about all those little things people die from if you are to go through you local statistical institute and see the death rates, but starts requesting more information on what is your government doing to prevent this from happening. But compared to the same situation in the Middle East - it's part of the daily life, nothing ground-breaking besides a bunch of low lifes radicalizing online, looking for masters of brainwashing mentors, and most importantly looking for a mighty excuse for their pathetic existence. A terrorist organization uploads a video of shooting a soldier or anything that will shock someone's who's still getting shocked by the The Texas Chainsaw Massacre -- boring try the Evil Dead series -- and people become so outraged and get this feeling of being helpness in the situation that fear compared to reality drives the entire model of terrorism.

Terrorism is successful as both, a government's doctrine for re-election, and as a term mainly because it's a very open topic term these days. In some countries glorifying terrorism is illegal, but if you let you government convince you that it's not terrorizing you to protect you from an event that from a statistical point of view doesn't happen that very often, I think I will lose you as a reader of this blog. The world is losing the war on terrorism because it's rational, and terrorists aren't rational. In the very same fashion that companies don't compete with companies but with networks, a network that's anything but irrational isn't going to be beated by a network that's too bureaucratic and still waging departamental wars.

Go through many of my previous posts on cyberterrorism, a relevant collection of cases, and through the research which as a matter of fact is full with practical examples of various sites.


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