July 20, 2007

Study: Most Terror Websites Hosted in U.S/West

A new study by MEMRI shows that nearly all jihadi and terrorist websites are hosted in the West, most of them in the U.S. This is a big problem. As the jihadis tell each other over and over, the internet is the tool that makes the global jihad possible.

American webhosts routinely ignore complaints about terrorist or pro-terrorist websites. Two days ago I received a reply from a large webhost's legal department telling me they could not verify my claim that the website belonged to a jihadi group in Iraq advocating the killing of American soldiers and distributing plans to build IEDs. This despite the fact that much of the content was in English, and the webpage and its URL was actually named after the jihadi organization---in English! They told me to take it to the FBI if I thought the content was illegal.

American companies selling the rope to the terrorists on which they will be hanged.


Islamist organizations and their supporters prefer to use Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the West - and especially in the U.S., which is a key provider of Internet services - and thus exploit Western freedom of speech to spread their message.

In many cases, Western countries even host websites of organizations that have been officially designated by these very countries as illegal terrorist organizations. It must be stressed, though, that the ISPs themselves are frequently unaware of providing services to extremist elements. ...

Large Internet companies, for example - Google, Yahoo! and MSN - are offering Internet services for free and these free services are indeed used by Islamist/Jihadi organizations.

So, what can be done?
More effective and immediate ways to fight the phenomenon are, firstly, to expose the extremist sites via the media, and thus to inform ISPs and the public at large of their content, and secondly, to bring legal measures against ISPs that continue to host extremist websites and forums....

This suggests that an effective measure against the extremists' online activities would be to establish a database - governmental or non-governmental - which would regularly publish information about Islamist/Jihadi sites, and/or provide it to ISPs upon request. This database would provide a service similar to that of government bodies that inform the public at large on various kinds of threats to its safety such as bodies that provide weather alerts and travel advisories; the Better Business Bureau, which provides businessmen with information about individuals and companies convicted of fraud; or the US Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control that provides information to banks, which are bound by the regulation of "know your customer."....

Thank you MEMRI for this valuable study. In addition, MEMRI is offering to help Webhosts locate jihadi websites on their servers through their new Islamist Websites Monitor project.

Below is a video from MEMRI illustrating the type of content found on jihadi websites.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 09:15 AM | Comments |