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5,600 Websites Now Spreading al-Qaeda’s Ideology Worldwide, Says Saudi Expert



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And those numbers don’t include all the American and European publications and blogs which are apologetic, and in some cases even sympathetic, to al-Qaeda’s “grievances” and goals.

Note that the Saudi expert quoted by Reuters below says that “For al-Qaeda, media coverage is more important than the actual operations.”

Al Qaeda-linked Web sites number 5,600: researcher
Dec. 4, 2007
By Ibtihal Hassan

RIYADH (Reuters) – There are now about 5,600 Web sites spreading al-Qaeda’s ideology worldwide, and 900 more are appearing each year, a Saudi researcher told a national security conference on Tuesday.

… “Research shows there are more than 5,600 sites on the Internet promoting the ideology of al-Qaeda,” Khaled al-Faram told the Information Technology and National Security conference in the Saudi capital Riyadh.

“There are some 900 news sites appearing every year, and despite the retreat of some media outlets specifically run by al-Qaeda, extremist Web sites are constantly on the rise.”

He said it was difficult to track most of the sites, though hardcore al-Qaeda sites often change addresses to avoid detection or start up again elsewhere once infiltrated.

… “The real battle with al Qaeda is no longer on the ground, but rather a media battle, and it is a real threat to national security,” Faram told Reuters. “For al Qaeda media coverage is more important than the actual operations,” he said.

The Islamist network al-Qaeda is headed by Saudi-born Osama bin Laden, but analysts say al Qaeda has transformed from a close-knit militant group to a brand that disseminates radical ideas for sympathizers to act on independently.

“The Internet, chat lines, text messages – these are the new warriors,” said Alessandro Zanasi, an expert on Internet monitoring known as “text mining.”


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