German Expert Sees 9,000 “Uncontrollable” Jihadist Websites

Berlin – “Irhabi007″ was the name of the phantom that haunted the far reaches of the Islamist cyber world a few years ago and was very active there. The “Internet terrorist” placed videos of attacks on websites, he gave insider tips to “hackers,” and the fact that he praised the Al-Qa’idah leaders to high heaven finally completed his status as a propagandist of terror. However, “irhabi007″ was not a Muslim version of James Bond but Younis Tsouli from London. The 22-year-old student of information technology, who came from Morocco, is considered to be the prototype of a cyber jihadists.

As it turned out later, he haunted not only the Internet but also thought up boastful plans of attacks against the United States. He cracked credit card codes on a large scale and thus financed his operations. Via laptop and mobile phone, his network covered the entire world. His data, which finally brought the investigators to his trace, were found among Bosnian Islamists.
Scene Difficult to Control.
For Yasin Musharbash, a proven expert for the Islamist Internet scene as the author of a book (“The New Al-Qa’idah”) and journalist for Spiegel Online, “Irhabi007″ a.k.a. Tsouli is a “pioneer.”"He pushed ahead the merger of cyber crime, Internet jihadism, and real terrorism quite a bit,” he writes and summarizes: “It is certain that others will continue his work.
By now, the Islamist scene in the Internet has become uncontrollable, says Musharbash in an interview with Die Presse. All over the world, the so-called cyber jihadists have some 9,000 websites, he estimates. If one is closed down, several others are opened up immediately. Everyone can become a member of the “Brigade of Media Jihad,” everybody can join in – and in the Internet the Islamists are quite openly recruiting followers for their fight.
“There is no way to combat terror in the Internet,” the expert says. The method of online search, which is currently a very controversial issue, is adequate only, if at all, in case of an initial suspicion in order to find suspects. Otherwise, it is a futile attempt by the state to exercise control over the Internet.
GIMF, the Mouthpiece of Terror
The lynchpin of the Internet jihadists is the “Global Islamic Media Front” (GIMF), which was originally close to Al-Qa’idah and, starting in the Arab world, has also established itself in the German-speaking countries. It began with translating appeals and letters claiming responsibility into German – a mouthpiece of terror in the virtual world. By now, however, it has become independent, Musharbash says: “Generally speaking, the websites are completely uncontrolled.”
Sites Just Change Their Names
There have long been attempts to launch Internet television – the “Voice of the Caliphate” is part of this. It is quite evident that the Islamist Internet community consists of sympathizers of the terrorists.
Musharbash says that, most recently, the two German-language GIMF websites have been offline because of pressure by a campaign in the United States. However, it is just a matter of time until they return under a different name.
Originally published by Die Presse, Vienna, in German 13 Sep 07.
(c) 2007 BBC Monitoring European. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.

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