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Wiesenthal Center To U.S. Lawmakers: Al Qaeda Yet To Be Challenged In The Online Battle For The Hearts And Minds Of Young Muslims

September 5, 2007

WIESENTHAL CENTER TO U.S. LAWMAKERS: “AL QAEDA  YET TO BE CHALLENGED IN THE ONLINE BATTLE FOR THE HEARTS AND MINDS OF YOUNG MUSLIMS”

Al Qaeda is ahead of the technological curve on the Internet, says Wiesenthal Center as they  present insights into the “Virtual University of Terror” to House Foreign Affairs and Homeland Security members

WASHINGTON, D.C. --  Researchers from the Simon Wiesenthal Center today presented  9/11+6: THE INTERNET @GROUND ZERO  OF TERROR before an open hearing convened by leading members and the staff of the House Foreign Affairs and Homeland Security Committees. The presentation was sponsored by Foreign Affairs Chairman Congressman Tom Lantos (D-CA) and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and attended by Congressmen Joe Wilson (R-SC) and Bob Inglis (R-SC).

 

 

 Congressman Tom Lantos (D-CA)

 Congressman Joe Wilson (R-SC)

 

 

 SWC Associate Dean, Rabbi Abraham Cooper  Congressman Don Manzullo (R-Il)
In the presentation, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Wiesenthal Center and one of the leading experts in the analysis of cyberspace extremism, said, “The U.S. and the world have yet to formulate an online campaign to reverse the progress Al Qaeda and its allies in the battle for the hearts and minds of young Muslims.”

Cooper, who was joined by Rick Eaton, the Center’s senior researcher, told the lawmakers that even as intelligence and law enforcement agencies try to make inroads in their online investigations, Al Qaeda is already ahead in what they call the “electronic jihad” by using the tools of Web 2.0PDAs, cell phones, RMS and SMSwhich rely less on websites and more on one-to-one communications.
       
“On the eve of the sixth anniversary of 9/11, we have to be honest with ourselves,” continued Cooper. “Al Qaeda and others who promote a culture of death are winning the battle of the Internet. From command-and-control to recruitment, they are ahead of the curve.”

Congressman Lantos recognized the Center for its leadership in investigating the world of technology and terrorism. Congressman Wilson remarked, “Ultimately, we have to harness the power of the Internet to defeat Islamist terrorism.”

Photo: Officials from the Simon Wiesenthal Center presented  9/11+6: THE INTERNET @GROUND ZERO OF TERROR before an open hearing convened by leading members and the staff of the House Foreign Affairs and Homeland Security Committees.
DC Event Photos

To conclude the presentation, Cooper and Eaton showed a September 2 posting from a blog, (inshallashaheed.wordpress.com) that read “Soon …. Soon … Soon … Soon… the blessed invasion ofManhattan… There will be a special gift coming on the day of the blessed invasion of Manhattan…,” a chilling message in light of this week’s thwarting of terrorist plots in Denmark and Germany and a week before the 9/11 anniversary.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, and the Council of Europe.

For more information, contact the Center's Public Relations department, 310-553-9036.