While concerns about MySpace.com often focus on its use by sexual predators, the popular youth networking website may also pose a risk to the nation’s security.
An investigation found the website to be fertile ground for inspiring and recruiting a new generation of Islamic terrorists, according to independent analyst Laura Mansfield.
A young man from Seattle, for example, who gives his name as Amin Al-Mujaahid As-Salafi – or “Salafi Jihaadi – has a blog that features images of al-Qaida leaders Osama bin Laden and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, British jihadist Abu Hamza, and the 19 hijackers who carried out the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, referring to them as the “Magnificent 19.”
An audio link on his site – titled “Du’a by Abdul Rahman – “sounds absolutely Hitleresque,” Mansfield says.
She finds a “disturbing pattern” emerging in a closer examination of the 78 “friends” listed in As-Salafi’s “social network.”
MySpace blogger Rashid Ali
His friend Rashid Ali, who describes himself as a 31-year-old living in Seattle, has similar views.
Reading Quran & hadith, Training Hui (Chinese-Muslim) kung-fu, Makoto-Ryu aki-jujitsu, & muay-thai-kick-boxing, NiNjitsu, Penjat-Silat, escrima:Kali/JKD.Target shooting ect. And hanging out with. My Big Bro Imam Rahim
Like his “friend,” Ali includes jihadi-tribute imagery and the black flag of jihad on his page.
“With over 173 people listed, Ali appears to be part of a wide network of people who share similar sentiments,” Mansfield says.
A MySpace blog called “Soldiers of Allah” features the hard-edged tones of rap to call Muslims to faithfulness in titles such as “No Compromise” and “Bring Islam Back.”
Soldiers of Allah says it’s “not a jihad group” but declares, “Remember we are the next generation of Muslims and it’s an obligation and responsibility of each and every Muslim to implement as Allah commanded.”
Soldiers of Allah has 258 people in its “social network.”
Among them is 19-year-old Salafi Mujahid of Chicago who boasts an image on his page that says “Support Our Troops” above Arabic writing and an assault rifle.
The site also has images glorifying Zarqawi. Mujahid says he’s an architecture major at College Of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Ill., who is active in the Muslim Students Association.
Some of these youth, such as 17-year old “Yaqub,” seem to simply echo Islamist propaganda, Mansfield says.
Yaqub, from Plainfield, N.J., proclaims “Denmark Is messin with the wrong people!!”
Some, such as 17-year old Aaron Moore of West Haven, Conn., seem to have developed profound anti-American feelings:
white ppl (or americans) killed most of the native Americans they caused the trail of tears (deals with the native americans, mostly of the Cherokee nation) then they continue pushing them back on the western front …
americans say “all muslims are saveges, or animal beasts” (as they did to the native americans, [see a cycle?]) or the americans also say “ohh, arabs and muslims are almost humans”.
Others, such as 19-year old “Islamakazi,” are more explicit, posting a countdown until what he describes as “Iran war (world war 3).”
Along with the “countdown clock” are a variety of other images glorifying jihadi and terrorist leaders, including Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Jihadi imagery, video and audio easily are found on MySpace.com sites of young girls as well as of older male youth, Mansfield points out.
A young California woman, this one claiming to be 18 and posting under the screen name “Islam4Ever,” is listed in “3rabiah’s” circle of friends.
MySpace.com is fertile ground for terrorist recruitment, Mansfield says.
Nineteen-year-old Hemadah from Brooklyn is like many of the other teenagers on the site, describing himself as 190 pounds, 5’8″ tall and a Gemeni of Middle Eastern descent. He doesn’t drink, has no children and is a college student. He has cute photos of beautiful children, in this case his niece and nephew. He has a special love for everything bagels and wants to go “to college to become a cop, hopefully work my way up as a detective.”
But a look at his MySpace blog suggests he’s anything but ordinary.
How does he want to die?:
“AS A MARTYR, IF NOT THAT WAY, THEN WHILE IM PRAYING AND MY HEADS ON THE FLOOR”
Twenty-one year old Isa from Fort Worth, Texas, also says he wants to die as a martyr.
Twenty-three year old Kareemwazwaz, who posts a photo of Palestinian terrorist Izz el din Qassam on his webpage, includes this posting:
How do you want to Die: a martyr for palestine
What do you want to be when you Grow Up: a martyr for Palestine
Mahmoud, a student from the University Of California at Santa Cruz, expresses similar sentiments. How does Mahmoud want to die?
“defending something … either my family, my religion, or my country … basically i wanna die a martyr”
He includes a photo from the UC Santa Cruz “Palestinian Die-In,” dated May 9.
‘Palestinian Die In’ at University of California, Santa Cruz
Eighteen year old Fayyad of Oviedo, Fla., has even bolder aspirations.
The University of Central Florida student wants to die “as a martyr for God or in a huge nuclear explosion.”
Mansfield says such beliefs are not rare among MySpace.com users, identifying blogs belonging to more than 70 young people who want to die as a martyr.
“Is one of these 70young people, who openly aspire to be a martyr in the name of Allah, one of the next wave of terrorists who will attack America?” Mansfield asks.
Mansfield said the FBI, when contacted regarding the websites, said all of the material is “protected free speech.”
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