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May 28, 2014 0

Reports Of American Suicide Bomber In Syria

Update — 5/29/2014: U.S. offi­cials have con­firmed that the sui­cide bomb­ing was con­ducted by an Amer­i­can cit­i­zen who grew up in Florida.

News that an Amer­i­can may have been one of four sui­cide bombers involved in an attack in Syria on May 25 con­ducted by Jab­hat al-Nusra (JN), Al Qaeda in Syria, has been cir­cu­lated by var­i­ous extrem­ists on social media over the past two days.syria-abu-hurayra-al-amriki-suicide-bomber

If accu­rate, the attack fur­ther indi­cates the inte­gra­tion of for­eign fight­ers, and specif­i­cally West­ern­ers, with ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions in Syria.

Abu Hurayra Al Amriki would be at least the fourth Amer­i­can rumored to have been killed while fight­ing in Syria, join­ing Nicole Mans­field, Amiir Farouk Ibrahim and a man iden­ti­fied as Abu Dujana al Amriki. An appar­ent image of Abu Hurayra Al Amriki hold­ing a cat and jux­ta­posed to images of the bomb­ing was shared by sev­eral JN sup­ports on Twitter.

He would also be at least the fourth known Amer­i­can to have suc­cess­fully under­taken a sui­cide bomb­ing on behalf of an Al Qaeda linked ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion. The other three, Shirwa Ahmed, Farah Mohamad Beledi and  Abis­dalan Hus­sein Ali, were among a wave of Amer­i­cans who joined Al Shabaab, Al Qaeda in Soma­lia, pri­mar­ily between 2007 and 2012.

The U.S. State Department’s “Think Again, Turn Away” account on Twit­ter, which aims to counter ter­ror­ist sen­ti­ments online, Tweeted: “another life wasted by #alqaeda’s cult of death. Thanks to them #Assad remains in power while Syr­i­ans suf­fer.” U.S. offi­cials, how­ever, have not con­firmed whether or not an Amer­i­can was actu­ally involved in the attack.

Two other Amer­i­cans, Nicholas Teau­sant and U.S. legal per­ma­nent res­i­dent Mohamad Has­san Ham­dan, are known to have attempted to travel to Syria to fight along­side ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions this year. There were sev­eral other Amer­i­cans pub­li­cally iden­ti­fied who joined or attempted to join the con­flict in 2013.

Con­cerns over Amer­i­cans fight­ing in Syria have been increas­ing since the start of the con­flict, with “dozens” believed to have trav­elled there thus far accord­ing to U.S. intel­li­gence offi­cials. Last week, the Jus­tice Depart­ment appointed a spe­cial pros­e­cu­tor to inves­ti­gate indi­vid­u­als trav­el­ling to Syria, and they have long been the sub­ject of high lev­els of scrutiny by law enforcement.

Although casu­alty counts were unavail­able as of this writ­ing, the sui­cide attack report­edly killed or wounded “dozens” of Syr­ian troops. The attack had been directed at Syr­ian army posi­tions in the Idlib province of Syria.

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May 22, 2014 0

Sports Discussions Marred By Hate On Twitter

After Israeli bas­ket­ball team Mac­cabi Tel Aviv beat Real Madrid in the Euroleague final on Sun­day over 18,000 anti-Semitic mes­sages were posted on Twit­ter in an out­pour­ing of hatred against Jews.twitter-spain-hate

Twit­ter users cre­ated the hash­tag “#putosju­dios” (“#fuck­ing­jews”) to spread their anti-Semitic mes­sages in real time via Twit­ter. Among the anti-Jewish tweets posted in reac­tion to Real Madrid’s loss were.

  • “Jews to the gas cham­ber. Go Madrid.”
  • “Fuck­ing Jews. This would not have hap­pened with Hitler.”
  • “Mac­cabi will shower after the game…But in the gas cham­ber, I hope.”
  • “Now I under­stand Hitler and his hate for the Jews.”

Sev­eral Jew­ish and anti-racism orga­ni­za­tions in Spain filed a crim­i­nal com­plaint against five iden­ti­fied Twit­ter users for incite­ment to hatred, defama­tion and glo­ri­fi­ca­tion of terrorism.

In July 2013 in the U.S., Twit­ter was mis­used for sim­i­lar pur­poses after Mil­wau­kee Brew­ers out­fielder Ryan Braun was sus­pended from Major League Base­ball for the sea­son for using per­for­mance enhanc­ing drugs. Responses on Twit­ter included “Ryan Braun is a lying Jew!!! #kike” and “leave it to a jew to cheat the sys­tem, deceive peo­ple, then tar­nish other’s rep­u­ta­tions. Fuck you asshole.”

Jews are not the only tar­gets when big­ots take to Twit­ter to express their views. ADL spoke out ear­lier this month when racially-motivated com­ments flooded Twit­ter soon after Mon­treal Cana­di­ens defense­man P.K. Sub­ban, who hap­pens to be Black Cana­dian, scored the game-winning goal in a National Hockey League play­off game against the Boston Bruins.

Such online hate under­scores the crit­i­cal need for edu­ca­tion on anti-Semitism and big­otry. A recent global poll on anti-Semitism con­ducted by ADL revealed that 29% of peo­ple in Spain hold anti-Semitic atti­tudes and 48% of them think Jews talk too much about what hap­pened to them in the Holo­caust. In the U.S. the respec­tive num­bers were 9% and 22%.

ADL ardently sup­ports the right to free speech and advo­cates for strong terms of ser­vice or com­mu­nity stan­dards that address aggres­sive or mali­cious behav­ior online. Twit­ter does not pro­vide even the most basic “Flag­ging” mech­a­nism for com­plaints which is widely used on the expe­ri­enced plat­forms run by Google and Facebook.

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April 9, 2014 0

Terrorist Groups Continue To Flock To Twitter

The recent launch of Twit­ter accounts by the Global Islamic Media Front (GIMF), a media orga­ni­za­tion affil­i­ated with Al Qaeda, and Al Qaeda in the Ara­bian Penin­sula (AQAP) under­scores the con­tin­ued abil­ity of ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions to influ­ence and poten­tially recruit fol­low­ers worldwide.aqap-twitter

GIMF’s Twit­ter feed, which was re-launched in Feb­ru­ary 2014, is pri­mar­ily in Ara­bic and includes a mix of offi­cial state­ments and links to pro­pa­ganda mate­ri­als. It has gained 1,533 fol­low­ers. One of the recent tweets included a link to an English-language video series called “Mujahideen Moments” that pro­motes mil­i­tant activity.

The AQAP Twit­ter feed was re-launched in late March 2014. The feed, which now has 3,406 fol­low­ers, is in Ara­bic and includes pic­tures of mil­i­tants and offi­cial state­ments from AQAP.

AQAP has been par­tic­u­larly adept at spread­ing its mes­sage online. Inspire mag­a­zine, its online English-language pub­li­ca­tion, has influ­enced many extrem­ists and would-be extrem­ists. Inspire came out with its twelfth issue in March 2014, which called for car bomb attacks on major U.S. cities.

The use of Twit­ter by For­eign Ter­ror­ist Orga­ni­za­tions first made head­lines in Decem­ber 2011 when Al Shabaab, a ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion in Soma­lia that for­mally merged with Al Qaeda in Feb­ru­ary 2012, began tweeting.

ADL recently released a new report, Home­grown Islamic Extrem­ism in 2013: The Per­ils of Online Recruit­ment &Self-Radicalization, ana­lyzing the rise of ter­ror­ist use of online plat­forms and the effects and impact that use has on domes­tic security.

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