INTERNET JIHAD October 16, 2007Posted by wmmbb in Terrorism Issues.
First we had the story of the worldwide internet operation run by Al Qaeda that had been penetrated by the Americans closing down before their eyes. This we are told was an impressive feat. Now The New York Times is running a story of a more mundane operation in which young Muslims living in the West, including the US, are promoting the views of Osama bin Laden and attack videos from Iraq.
The articles notes:
Terrorism experts at West Point say there are as many as 100 English language sites offering militant Islamic views, with Mr. Khan’s — which claims 500 regular readers — among the more active. While their reach is difficult to assess, it is clear from a review of extremist material and interviews that militants are seeking to appeal to young American and European Muslims by playing on their anger over the war in Iraq and the image of Islam under attack.
The writers of the article are worried about this development. This is what happens you see when citizen journalists post stories. They are no responsible like the journalists who write for the NYT, and it could be the end of the world as we know it. Imagine, selling extremism to viewers in the US?
Yes, that is the Internet, and it might even come under the category of the democracy and the first amendment – or has that been made defunct now? Instead of being alarmist, the NYT might begin to look at itself. Why do not they seek to set up a dialogue between competing views?The Iraq War must rate as one of the most poorly reported and misreported wars in history. The truth does not get out, and when it gets out its significance is never considered. The John Hopkins study of civilian deaths in Iraq, published in 2004, had implications for the way the war is been conducted, jus in bello, and the events after the invasion, jus post bellum, and for the other wars launched against terrorism, as in Afghanistan, and those conducted by the Jewish State.
Some people might interpret this as a war against Islam, particularly those young Muslims living in Western countries, including Australia, who experience that the practice of their religion is not accepted. I suspect that a climate of tolerance has been replaced by suspicion reflecting the rhetoric of military aggression.
A wider question is whether an open democratic society can both survive and prevail. The greater threat to democracy can come from the reactions of governments, rather than some puny external threat. The realists, who forsake principles of justice, have acted to increase the threat of terrorism, not to reduce it, although that abundantly obvious truth is regarded by conventional wisdom as heresy for which a modern-day inquisition will be in due course empowered and empaneled.
Jihad has a wider meaning in Islam. I suppose jihad does presuppose a just war, jus ad bellem, as in the case of resistance to aggression. Both jihad and just war were invoked and encouraged in the resistance to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan sponsored by the US Government and its agencies. The consequence was the Taliban government, who presumably were indebted to the the jihadists, including bin Laden and Al Qaeda.
Perhaps the letter from the Islamic scholars to Christian leaders, including the Pope, was a potentially important development, depending on the replies they receive.
Noam Chomsky addressed students at the West Point Military Academy on Just War Theory and the Invasion of Iraq on 20 April 2006. (This video runs for an hour)