WASHINGTON (AFP) – Radical Muslim and other extremists have mastered the use of the Internet as a tool for propaganda, organizing and education, the Simon Wiesenthal Center said in a new report Wednesday.
“They are way ahead of the curve in term of using Internet technologies. Right now it’s a clear field for the bad guys,” said the Jewish organization’s associate dean Rabbi Abraham Cooper, author of the report “Digital Terrorism.”
Released on a CD-Rom, the report compiles more than 7,000 websites, blogs and chat rooms for Islamic extremism, according to Cooper.
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“But the truth might be way beyond that” number, which can change quickly as techniques evolve, he said.
Cooper said that websites show video footage of snipers aiming at US soldiers in Iraq and suicide bombers preparing and carrying out their attacks that is recorded and posted directly from cellphones.
Besides being used as propaganda stirring young Muslims in the West and Middle East to violence, radical Islamist sites amount to a “virtual university of terror,” promoting the creation of cells without requiring members to travel to Afghanistan or Pakistan for training, as in the past, Cooper said.
“There is enough accurate information on the Internet to teach anyone to do pretty much anything,” he said.