Wednesday, May 14, 2008

US Senate Report on Use of the Internet by Islamist Groups

The U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs has released a report titled: "Violent Islamist Extremism, The Internet, and the Homegrown Terrorist Threat".

The following quotes [reformatted for readability] give an overview of the report's contents:

"This staff report concerns ... – how violent Islamist terrorist groups like al-Qaeda are using the Internet to enlist followers into the global violent Islamist terrorist movement and to increase support for the movement, ranging from ideological support, to fundraising, and ultimately to planning and executing terrorist attacks.

"In the second section of this report, we examine the increasing number of homegrown incidents and the judgments of the intelligence and law enforcement communities that there will likely be additional homegrown threats in the future.

"The third section explores the four-step radicalization process through which an individual can be enticed to adopt a violent Islamist extremist mindset and act on the ideology’s call to violence.

"Section four identifies the disturbingly broad array of materials available on the Internet that promote the violent Islamist extremist ideology. The availability of these resources is not haphazard, but is part of a comprehensive, tightly controlled messaging campaign by al-Qaeda and like-minded extremists designed to spread their violent message.

"The fifth section of the report examines how these materials facilitate and encourage the radicalization process.

"Finally, the report assesses the federal government’s response to the spread of the violent Islamist message on the Internet and concludes that there is no cohesive and comprehensive outreach and communications strategy in place to confront this threat."

Violent Islamist Extremism, The Internet, and the Homegrown Terrorist Threat

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