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April 25, 2013 3

Parallels Between Boston Bomber And Australian Preacher

The online activ­ity of Tamer­lan Tsar­naev, the dead Boston Marathon bomb­ing sus­pect, reveals a fas­ci­na­tion with mil­i­tancy and Islam, includ­ing an Aus­tralian preacher named Feiz Moham­mad whose life has some inter­est­ing par­al­lels to the bomber.tamerlan-tsarnaev-feiz-mohammad-youtube-boston-bomber

While it remains unclear to what degree Tsar­naev was influ­enced or rad­i­cal­ized by any of the mate­ri­als he was view­ing online, he appar­ently added at least two videos of Feiz Moham­mad, who is known for his extreme anti-West views, to his YouTube channel.

Moham­mad, who blames non-Muslims in the West for Mus­lim vic­tim­hood and has glo­ri­fied “mar­tyr­dom,” has a large col­lec­tion of English-language Islamic lec­tures avail­able online. In a video posted to YouTube in 2007, he claims that Mus­lims today are not suf­fi­ciently ded­i­cated to mar­tyr­dom and there­fore are “the most humil­i­ated nation on the face of this earth.” He adds, “It is not as appeal­ing as it was to those ances­tors — the great warriors.”

In a lec­ture posted on YouTube in Decem­ber 2010, he teaches his stu­dents that fol­low­ers of other sects of Islam, such as Sufi Mus­lims and Shite Mus­lims, are not true Mus­lims and accord­ing to Islamic law deserve execution.

In addi­tion to pro­mot­ing mil­i­tant themes, Moham­mad seeks to appeal to a younger gen­er­a­tion of Mus­lim immi­grants by shar­ing his per­sonal story as a lost young immi­grant who found an iden­tity by strictly adher­ing to Islam.

Sev­eral of his lec­tures focus on warn­ing Mus­lims liv­ing in the West of the dan­gers of adopt­ing the lifestyle of non-Muslim West­ern­ers. In a lec­ture posted on YouTube in April 2012, he warns Mus­lims against lov­ing non-Muslims or befriend­ing them: “Isn’t this why we are a slave by them [non-Muslims]? Because we are lov­ing their ways, we are mix­ing in their ways. We are being a Kafir [infi­del] our­selves by enjoy­ing their lifestyles.”

An inter­view with Tamer­lan Tsar­naev pub­lished while he was train­ing for the 2009 Golden Gloves box­ing com­pe­ti­tion revealed Tamerlan’s dif­fi­culty assim­i­lat­ing into Amer­i­can cul­ture. He is quoted in the inter­view say­ing, “I don’t have a sin­gle Amer­i­can friend, I don’t under­stand them.”

Like Tsar­naev, Mohammad’s fam­ily emi­grated from a war-torn coun­try. Mohammad’s fam­ily immi­grated to Aus­tralia from Tripoli in north­ern Lebanon. Also like Tsar­naev, Feiz Moham­mad spent his teenage years box­ing, which he later denounced. The names he acquired as a boxer included “Frank the Killer” and “The Beast.”

At the age of 19, Moham­mad report­edly decided to embrace a con­ser­v­a­tive form of reli­gious teach­ings known as Salafism and became pop­u­lar among the Salafist groups in Syd­ney. After pur­su­ing an Islamic edu­ca­tion in Med­ina, Saudi Ara­bia, he returned to Aus­tralia. He then founded the “Global Islamic Youth Cen­tre” (GIYC) and opened a Madras­sah, a tra­di­tional Islamic reli­gious school.

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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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December 19, 2012 0

Iranian Leader Embraces Social Media

There is now a Face­book page in Iran’s Supreme Leader Aya­tol­lah Ali Khamenei’s name, likely mak­ing him the world’s most socially-networked auto­cratic leader. The account, cre­ated on Decem­ber 13, cur­rently boasts over 16,000 ‘Likes’ and pro­vides Khamenei with another plat­form to dis­sem­i­nate his regime’s anti-West, anti-Israel and anti-Semitic messages.

Pre­vi­ously, Khamenei described Face­book as a “Zion­ist” tool. Face­book has been blocked inside Iran since the 2009 mass protests after the reelec­tion of Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ahmadine­jad.

Although Khamenei’s Face­book account is only days old, a video from his Youtube chan­nel fea­tur­ing images of the Star of David and destroyed Pales­tin­ian vil­lages was uploaded to the page on Decem­ber 18. The video, called “New Mid­dle East, Islamic Mid­dle East,” begins with a clip of for­mer Secu­rity of State Con­doleezza Rice super­im­posed with a Star of David. The video also con­tains footage of Hasidic Jews stand­ing in front of a screen with an image of a cry­ing child and a dead Pales­tin­ian, and a mon­tage from a 2006 speech by Hezbol­lah leader Has­san Nas­ral­lah.

The five-minute video ends with a clip of a 2010 Khamenei speech in which he is pre­sented as pre­dict­ing the for­ma­tion of a new Islamic Mid­dle East and then declar­ing, “Pales­tine will be lib­er­ated” and insists that “Resis­tance is necessary.”

Khamenei first made his social media debut in 2009 with a Twit­ter account, @Khamenei_ir. The account con­veys what appear to be offi­cially sanc­tioned mes­sages from the Supreme Leader in Farsi, Eng­lish, Ara­bic and French. The tweets often make use of the regime’s typ­i­cal vit­ri­olic lan­guage against the U.S. and Israel, while prais­ing ter­ror­ist organizations.

For exam­ple, fol­low­ing Israel’s Oper­a­tion Pil­lar of Defense in Novem­ber against Hamas rocket fire from Gaza, Khamenei tweeted a gloat­ing mes­sage in Farsi, “Who would have believed that in a war between a sec­tion of Pales­tine and Israel, the Pales­tini­ans would be the ones set­ting the con­di­tions for a ceasefire/ Bravo to Hamas and [Islamic] Jihad.” In an English-language mes­sage in Jan­u­ary, Khamenei tweeted, “The Zion­ists, Great Satan-#USA-& West­ern pow­ers are inca­pable in fac­ing Islamic awak­en­ing, & they’ll fail more & more.”

The use of social media has also been increas­ingly uti­lized by U.S. Gov­ern­ment des­ig­nated For­eign Ter­ror­ist Orga­ni­za­tions (FTOs).

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