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July 31, 2013 0

Pittsburgh Man Drawn To Syrian Front Underscores Emerging Trend

amiir-farouk ibrahim-passport-syria

Amiir Farouk Ibrahim’s passport

An Egyptian-American man born in Pitts­burgh is report­edly the lat­est Amer­i­can to join the con­flict in Syria on the side of rebels fight­ing against the Assad regime.

Amiir Farouk Ibrahim may also be the lat­est Amer­i­can casualty.

Ibrahim’s Amer­i­can and Egypt­ian pass­ports were dis­cov­ered ear­lier this month after Kur­dish fight­ers over­ran a com­pound once held by the Islamic State of Iraq, an umbrella orga­ni­za­tion com­posed of sev­eral Sunni insur­gency groups affil­i­ated with Al Qaeda.

If dead, Ibrahim would be the sec­ond Amer­i­can known to have been killed in Syria’s civil war. Nicole Mans­field, a con­vert to Islam from Michi­gan, was killed in Syria in May 2013.

Ibrahim’s fam­ily report­edly indi­cated that he trav­eled to Turkey before cross­ing into Syria ear­lier this year. He received a bachelor’s degree in busi­ness admin­is­tra­tion from Florida Inter­na­tional Uni­ver­sity in 2008.

Ibrahim’s Face­book page con­tained numer­ous posts sug­gest­ing that he sub­scribed to a rad­i­cal inter­pre­ta­tion of Islam con­sis­tent with Al Qaeda’s ide­ol­ogy. For example:

  • Feb­ru­ary 1: Ibrahim posted an image call­ing for a boy­cott of French prod­ucts because of the French mil­i­tary cam­paign against Al Qaeda in Mali.
  • Jan­u­ary 30: Ibrahim posted sev­eral pho­tos of a house on an island with the cap­tion, “So you can imag­ine how par­adise would look like.” He posted a com­ment on one of the pho­tos ask­ing God to make him “one of the peo­ple of Paradise.”
  • Jan­u­ary 30: Ibrahim posted a photo for Mohammed Bouy­eri, the Dutch–Moroccan con­victed of killing Dutch film­maker Theo Van Gogh. The com­ment on the post reads in part, “The lion Mohammed Bouy­eri (May God release him from his prison) did an oper­a­tion that will be recorded with gold in the his­tory of Islam.”
  • Decem­ber 2, 2012:  Ibrahim posted a YouTube video that fea­tures the pop­u­lar jihadi song “Madin Kas-Sayf” [Sharp like the Sword].
  • Octo­ber 18, 2012: Ibrahim posted a com­ment call­ing upon Mus­lims to embrace Jihad and sup­port the Sunni Mus­lims in Syria against the Shia’a.

As ADL reported in June, there have been three other pub­licly dis­closed cases of Amer­i­cans involved in fight­ing with rebels. Each has been linked to Jab­hat al-Nusrah (JN), a State Department-designated alias for Al Qaeda in Iraq. It is unknown how many Amer­i­cans have entered the con­flict on the side of rebel fac­tions unaf­fil­i­ated with Al Qaeda.

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June 4, 2013 0

ADL’s “Viral Hate” Now Available in Bookstores

Abe Foxman's & Christopher Wolf's book: "Viral Hate"

Two lead­ing experts on big­oted speech and the Inter­net have joined forces as authors of a new book that lays out a blue­print for gov­ern­ments, indus­try lead­ers and soci­eties to take proac­tive steps to stem the tide of hate speech on the Internet.

Abra­ham H. Fox­man, National Direc­tor of the Anti-Defamation League and Christo­pher Wolf, ADL Civil Rights Chair, out­line the chal­lenges posed by online hate and pro­pose a series of solu­tions in their new book, Viral Hate: Con­tain­ing Its Spread on the Inter­net (Pal­grave Macmil­lan), avail­able in book­stores and for down­load on e-readers today.

Viral Hate dis­cusses how in the past 20 years, the Inter­net, with all of its many advan­tages to soci­ety and the free-flow of infor­ma­tion, has become one of the most pow­er­ful tools for big­ots to spread evil mes­sages of intol­er­ance and rage.

While it is a mar­velous medium for edu­ca­tion, com­mu­ni­ca­tion, enter­tain­ment and com­merce, as the Inter­net has grown and changed over the years, racists and big­ots have found new ways to exploit the tech­nol­ogy to spread hate­ful mes­sages and recruit oth­ers to join their cause. The book pro­vides numer­ous exam­ples of how this has happened.

Viral Hate offers spe­cific rec­om­men­da­tions for the indus­try, as well as for edu­ca­tors, par­ents and Inter­net users.

The indus­try rec­om­men­da­tions include:

  • Cre­at­ing clear poli­cies on hate speech and includ­ing them within terms of service;
  • Cre­at­ing mech­a­nisms for enforc­ing hate speech policies;
  • Estab­lish­ing a clear, user-friendly process for allow­ing users to report hate speech;
  • Increas­ing trans­parency about terms of service;
  • Actively encour­ag­ing counter-speech and edu­ca­tion to address hate speech.

Rec­om­men­da­tions for Inter­net users include: 

  • Flag­ging offen­sive content;
  • Speak­ing out and, in a smart and care­ful way, being pre­pared to chal­lenge hate­ful mes­sages with pos­i­tive ones;
  • Pro­mot­ing counter-speech, applaud­ing pos­i­tive mes­sages and rec­om­mend­ing them to others;
  • Talk­ing about what you have seen, and reach­ing out to watch­dog agen­cies with expe­ri­ence deal­ing with hate and bigotry;
  • For edu­ca­tors, work­ing to ensure that schools have appro­pri­ate poli­cies in place, and empha­siz­ing the impor­tance of crit­i­cal thinking.

Mr. Fox­man, a long­time leader in the fight against anti-Semitism and big­otry, and Mr. Wolf, an Inter­net pri­vacy law attor­ney who has rep­re­sented ADL in a num­ber of inter­na­tional bod­ies tasked with fight­ing Inter­net hate, cite numer­ous instances in recent years where indi­vid­u­als like James von Brunn, the white suprema­cist and U.S. Holo­caust Museum shooter, have taken advan­tage of the power of the Inter­net to spread hate­ful mes­sages and to find like­minded bigots.

And they iden­tify the var­i­ous forms of hate speech that have pro­lif­er­ated online, includ­ing racism, anti-Semitism, reli­gious big­otry, Holo­caust denial, homo­pho­bia, misog­yny, pro­mo­tion of ter­ror­ism and harassment.

In Viral Hate, Fox­man and Wolf dis­cuss how ADL helped to con­vene a new work­ing group on online hate that is bring­ing together Inter­net indus­try lead­ers and oth­ers to probe the roots of the prob­lem and develop new solu­tions to address it head on.

The authors write it is “a national dis­grace” that schools do not have as a require­ment courses instruct­ing chil­dren on the appro­pri­ate use of elec­tronic communication.

More infor­ma­tion on the book is avail­able on the League’s web site at www.adl.org/viral-hate.

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April 9, 2013 2

Electronic Jihad Targets Israel On Holocaust Remembrance Day

As Israelis and Jews pre­pared to com­mem­o­rate Holo­caust Remem­brance Day, var­i­ous hacker groups launched a cam­paign on Sun­day to “wipe Israel off the Internet.”

While described by some hack­ers as an attack against Israel for its treat­ment of the Pales­tini­ans, the cam­paign was specif­i­cally timed with Holo­caust Remem­brance Day and has fea­tured strong anti-Semitic rhetoric, includ­ing Holo­caust denial.

For exam­ple, a group call­ing itself Anony­mous Arab posted an Arabic-language YouTube video on April 6 call­ing for the removal the ‘Zion­ist Entity’ from the inter­net.” The video says there is “no proof” that the Holo­caust took place – “you have fab­ri­cated with your part­ners” — and that Israel is “unwor­thy to exist in your cur­rent form.”

So long as your regime exists,” the video says, “peace shall be hindered.”

In addi­tion, the Lebanon-based satel­lite tele­vi­sion sta­tion Al Mayadeen aired an inter­view with a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of Al Falaga, a Tunisian hacker group that par­tic­i­pated in the cyber-attack. In the inter­view, the rep­re­sen­ta­tive said, “We chose this day because it’s the mem­ory of the Holo­caust when the Jews were burned by the hands of Hitler and today they burn by our hands.” The inter­view was posted later on the Face­book page of Al Falaga.

Accord­ing to ini­tial reports, the cyber-attack, which was announced sev­eral months ago as “OpIsrael2,” affected some Israeli gov­ern­ment and defense sites, but failed to bring them down.

Sev­eral hacker groups par­tic­i­pated in this cam­paign. A pro-Hamas hacker group, Al-Qassam Elec­tronic Brigades, posted a YouTube video on April 7 that included what appears to be a record­ing of a hack­ing oper­a­tion against the web­site of one of Israel’s polit­i­cal par­ties, Kadima.

The Moroc­can Ghosts, a polit­i­cally moti­vated hack­ers group that has pre­vi­ously tar­geted the web­sites of Jew­ish insti­tu­tions in the U.S., pub­lished on their Face­book page a long list of hacked web­sites that they claim are either Israeli are Jewish-operated.

Some of the web­sites hacked by the Moroc­can Ghosts were defaced with anti-Israel slurs and loaded with a media player that recited verses from the Quran. Despite the claims that they tar­geted Israeli and Jewish-operated web­sites, some of the listed sites have no appar­ent affil­i­a­tion with Israel or Jews, and may have been included because they were an easy-to-hack and serve to inflate the impact of the cyber-attack.

In addi­tion, sev­eral pro-Hamas web­sites, Face­book pages and other hacker forums posted threads claim­ing hack­ing oper­a­tions against Jews and Israelis worldwide.

The first OpIs­rael took place dur­ing Israel’s Oper­a­tion Pil­lar of Defense in Gaza last Novem­ber, when hack­ers tar­geted, and in some cases defaced, var­i­ous Israeli websites.

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