Tuesday, May 05, 2009

UPDATE on 'Cyber Da'wa' Post (May 1)

A PART OF THE SERIES OF RESEARCH NOTES FROM MY CURRENT PROJECT, "The Art of the Martyr & Mujahid" (all material copyrighted):

On May 1, I wrote about the dissemination of materials across radical Salafi Sunni web sites, primarily blogs and online discussion forums. My centerpiece case study was the reproduction almost verbatim of a November 2008 post on the Sons of Sunnah Iran blog, a blog affiliated with the London-based radical Iranian Salafi shaykh (religious leader) 'Abd al-Rahim Mollazadeh, a.k.a. Shaykh Abu Muntasir al-Baluchi. The post reported the killing of an American-Pakistani Twelver Shi'i soldier in Afghanistan.

Sons of Sunnah Iran

In late April 2009, a post that reproduced many of the same photographs and text contained in the Sons of Sunnah blog post was published on the al-Qimmah al-Islamiyyah (Islamic Summit) Salafi Sunni jihadi online discussion forums. The forums are primarily in Somali, though there is also a forum in English and another in Arabic.

al-Qimmah al-Islamiyyah forums

Perusing the al-Qimmah "archives" this morning, I ran across another thread about the same topic. It was posted on November 19, 2008, one day before the blog post on Sons of Sunnah. Considering the possibilities of that the posts were made from different time zones, it is not possible to tell with 100% accuracy which was posted "first." Nonetheless, this new thread does not contradict what I wrote in my previous post: The potential of cyber communities in rapidly disseminating information, persuasion, and propaganda is clear. This capability has been eagerly harnessed by jihadis, who are using new technologies to form a new method of carrying out "cyber da'wa," or propagation of their ideologies and creeds.

Rafidhi Murtad US Army - Alqimmah

The title of the thread identifies the deceased as a "Rafidi," an Arabic word meaning "one who rejects," which in this case refers to "true" Islam, radical Salafi Sunni Islam. For more on the Salafi school of thought within Sunni Islam, see HERE. He is also identified as a "murtad," an Arabic word meaning "apostate." Salafis view Shi'i Muslims as either "fallen" Muslims guilty of bid'a (innovation in religion, i.e. the adding of non-Islamic practices into "Islamic" rituals), non-Muslims, or apostates (people who have ceased being Muslims due to their bid'a. Shi'is also produce their own polemics against Salafis, including, like Salafis, the use of takfir (declaration of apostasy), and Sunnis (who are criticized for not backing the Shi'i religious-temporal historical leaders, the Imams.

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