Radical Islam — Ideology, Not Religion

Radical Islam — Ideology, Not Religion

The dramatic events of the last few years have made it plain that the West is in a fight for its life. The terrorist attacks on New York, Washington, Madrid and London have demonstrated with ample clarity the enemy’s commitment to his stated goal of our destruction. The situation could not indeed be more dire, since never before have we faced a foe so dogged and fanatical. Whether we want to admit it or not we are in a war to the death, for the enemy will not relent until he either accomplishes his objective or is himself destroyed in the effort. Given the stakes, it is vitally important that we understand who this enemy is, because only then we’ll be in a position to formulate an effective strategy for the struggle ahead.

Contrary to all appearances, radical Islam — that militant form of Islamic fundamentalism — is not a religious movement. That this is generally not recognized is not surprising given the movement’s exploitation of religious rhetoric and symbols. But a closer look at its modus operandi shows that it is virtually indistinguishable from that of fascism and communism. The striking similarities should alert us to the fact that radical Islam is at bottom a political ideology along the lines of the great totalitarian ideologies of the past.

Like communism and fascism, radical Islam is intrinsically utopian in that it offers itself as the answer to all great problems of man. This feat is to be accomplished by eliminating the root cause from which all human trouble ultimately derives — the lack of true faith. The solution, then, is the conversion of peoples to Islam and the subsequent conforming of their conduct to Shari’a, a God-inspired body of law.

Since Shari’a is the expression of God’s perfect will, societies where it reigns supreme must inevitably experience prosperity, justice and righteousness. Thus in a way, Islamists promise to deliver a kind of paradise on earth. This ambition they share with fascists and communists who also proposed radical measures to stamp out that which they believed was the source of mankind’s all ills. To communists it was social class and private property and to fascists Jews and racial degradation. Doing away with these, they argued, would once and for all set things aright.

Like fascism and communism, Islamic fundamentalism fails to deliver when put into practice. Instead of achieving prosperity and harmony, all Shari’a-dominated societies invariably experience poverty, backwardness, and corruption. Shari’a thus not only fails to live up to its promise, but inflicts hardship and misery on those living under it. Iran, a country currently closest to the Islamist ideal of a fundamentalist state, is a case in point. Poor and troubled, it lags far behind the modern world in nearly all economic and social indicators. So counterproductive is its supposedly divinely-inspired system of government that it cannot ensure a comfortable and dignified existence for its citizens despite the steady inflow of large amounts of petro cash.

The Soviet Union found itself in much the same predicament. A country of vast natural resources, its whole existence was marked by destitution and hardship. Similarly, the last two genuinely communist regimes of today — Cuba and North Korea — are unable to provide even the most basic necessities for its people who are forced to endure untold distress as a result.

Like fascism and communism, radical Islam refuses to acknowledge its glaring failures and instead declares itself — in complete contravention of all facts and reality — an unqualified success. The Soviet Union brazenly boasted of being the most democratic, progressive and prosperous country on earth while in truth the exact opposite was the case. Oppressive, totalitarian and poor, it subjected its population to conditions that could only be described as hellish. So much so that it had to transform its borders into virtual prison walls in order to prevent its people from fleeing in desperation. The same tradition is continued today by Fidel Castro who shamelessly brandishes the rhetoric of triumph and achievement when describing his own failed regime. Hitler likewise insisted on the categorical success of his national socialism despite the cruelties, injustices and contradictions that characterized his enterprise from the beginning.

Like fascists and communists, Islamists brook no disagreement and seek to stamp out all forms of dissent. Tolerating no opposition, they respond to criticism by intimidation, harassment and not infrequently by murder. What’s more, their repression is not confined only to open disagreement, but is also aimed at those suspected of harboring unwholesome thoughts. Like all totalitarians, Islamists seek to control people’s minds. Even seemingly insignificant remarks and gestures can be interpreted as evidence of a subversive frame of mind. The Taliban regime in Afghanistan, for example, tortured and persecuted for most trivial acts which it took as signs of inward rebelliousness. Pleading and affirmations of orthodoxy by the accused are routinely taken only as further evidence of guilt. Islamists’ methods in treating those deemed ideologically suspect are strongly reminiscent of the methods employed by the KGB and Gestapo.

Like their totalitarian kin, Islamists are aggressively expansionistic. Driven by an irresistible urge to impose on others, their goal is nothing less than global domination. Communists strove for a world wide socialist state, Hitler for a world-controlling Third Reich and Islamists for a world wide caliphate.

Like its two sister ideologies, Islamism seeks to spread itself by militant and violent means. Hitler took over most of Europe by conquest. The communist block was the result of a military takeover by the Soviets who mercilessly destroyed all who stood in their way. Islamists even call the whole non-Muslim world the Dar al-harb or the House of War. According to fundamentalists, Islamic law prescribes perpetual holy war – jihad – to be waged in these territories that is to last until they have been brought into the Dar al-Islam or the House of Islam. There the Muslim law and government will reign supreme.

Like fascists and communists, Islamists are capable of staggering cruelty and exhibit a ready willingness to commit unspeakable atrocities in order to achieve their objectives. Hitler murdered some six million people in concentration camps. The Soviets slaughtered nearly twenty million at home and countless others in the countries they subjugated. The Chinese communists killed nearly forty million. If anything, Islamists exhibit murderous tendencies of even greater intensity. Their acts of terror invariably betray a determination to kill as many innocent people as they possibly can. There can be little doubt that if they should ever achieve power on the scale of their ideological predecessors, they would quickly match and exceed their death toll. After all, Islamists openly tell us that under their rule people will either have to convert or die. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, presently the most powerful fundamentalist in the world, has repeatedly hinted that he will deploy nuclear weapons once he obtains them. Given where he is coming from, there should be no question that he means what he says.

Although radical Islam may initially appear to be a religious movement, it in reality bears all the hallmarks of an authoritarian ideology. Utopian, militant, expansionistic, murderous, repressive, corrupt, intolerant, and inhumanly cruel, it employs the same methods and tactics as those two terrible ideologies of the 20th century. While the differences between them are largely rhetorical and superficial in nature, their modus operandi is for the most part identical. Having an utter contempt for human life and its intrinsic dignity, they are ever ready to destroy anyone and everyone who rejects their worldview or refuses to comply with their demands.

What Islamists have done is to in effect transform a religious faith into a virulent political ideology. It is imperative that we recognize this so that we can fully grasp the kind of danger we face. There are many who still believe that we can somehow pacify this foe, yet few would ever think it was possible to achieve a lasting truce with the fascists or communists. Notwithstanding their specious rhetoric, we are presently not contending with a band of pious saints who bear legitimate grudges or remediable grievances. We stand against murderous totalitarians who will not relent until their either achieve their goal or are defeated. There simply can be no détente. The only way to achieve a reprieve is to destroy them in the manner of fascism and communism.

Despite the terrible warnings of September 11 and other terrorist tragedies, with the few exceptions the West is largely oblivious to this grievous threat. This despite the painful lessons of history which warn against letting murderous ideologies go unchecked. World War II claimed some forty million people. Had the West curbed nascent fascism while there was still time, it could have saved most of those lives and averted untold pain and destruction. Similarly, had the western powers intervened against the murder-bent Bolsheviks while they struggled to gain their footing after the Revolution, it could have prevented the Gulags, the Cold War and the threat of a nuclear holocaust that nearly became reality.

History clearly teaches that we ignore totalitarian ideologies at our own peril. Refusing to deal with radical Islam decisively while there is still time will have catastrophic consequences in the years to come. The choice is stark: we will either act now or pay a terrible price later.

Scorn poured on James Cameron’s ‘coffin of Christ’

Scorn poured on James Cameron’s ‘coffin of Christ’


25.02.07 Add your view

James Cameron

Archaeologists and biblical scholars have poured scorn on a Hollywood film director’s sensational claim that he has discovered the coffin of Jesus Christ.

Oscar-winning ‘Titanic’ director James Cameron’s assertion that the bones of Jesus and his family were hidden for centuries in a Jerusalem tomb caused an outcry in the Holy Land.

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'Jesus' tomb

Even a British archeologist who worked with Cameron, Dr. Shimon Gibson, admitted he’s “sceptical” about the claims that challenge some of the central tenets of Christianity.

'Jesus' tomb

The very fact that Jesus had a grave would contradict the Christian belief that he was resurrected and ascended to heaven.

‘The Lost Tomb of Christ’, a documentary set to air on Channel Four next month, argues that ten ancient ossuaries, small caskets used to store bones, which were found when bulldozers flattened a Jerusalem suburb in 1980, may have contained the remains of Jesus and his wife and child.

One of the caskets even bears the title, ‘Judah, son of Jesus,’ which Cameron claims as evidence that Jesus may have had a son. Another coffin was said to hold the bones of Mary Magdalene, also known as ‘Mariamne’.

Cameron unveiled two of the small limestone caskets at a press conference in New York, but the director could offer little proof to support his claims, other than the mathematical probability of a tomb containing a set of ossuaries with names linked to Jesus.

Of the ten ossuaries found, six were inscribed with the names of Jesus, Mary, Joseph and Mary Magdalene, as well as Judah, Son of Jesus, and a Matthew, of which there were many in Mary’s family, according to Luke 3:23.

Critics said all the names were commonplace in Biblical times.

Apparently surprised at the hostility over his ‘discovery’, the director who famously claimed to be ‘the king of the world’ when he won an Oscar for Titanic, insisted it was not a publicity stunt and said his critics should wait and see the film.

“I’m not a theologist. I’m not an archaeologist. I’m a documentary filmmaker,” he said.

Dr. Gibson, who was one of the first people to examine the caskets 27 years ago, now says: “Entering the tomb in 1980 I didn’t imagine this would become such an international focus.

“These are typical stone caskets from the first century. There are a lot of aspects that need to be looked at. A lot of new research has to be done. I’m sceptical.”

Even Cameron, pushed to support his claims, said statisticians found “in the range of a couple of million to one in favor of it being them.”

Most Christians believe Jesus’ body spent three days at the site of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem’s Old City. The burial site identified in Cameron’s documentary is in a southern Jerusalem neighborhood nowhere near the church.

Amos Kloner, the first archaeologist to examine the site, said the idea fails to hold up by archaeological standards but makes for profitable television.

“They just want to get money for it,” Kloner said. “It was an ordinary middle-class Jerusalem burial cave,” he added. “The names on the caskets are the most common names found among Jews at the time.”

“The historical, religious and archaeological evidence show that the place where Christ was buried is the Church of the Resurrection,” said Attallah Hana, a Greek Orthodox clergyman in Jerusalem.

Stephen Pfann, a biblical scholar at the University of the Holy Land in Jerusalem who was interviewed in the documentary, said the film’s hypothesis holds little weight.

“I don’t think that Christians are going to buy into this,” he said. “But sceptics, in general, would like to see something that pokes holes into the story that so many people hold dear.”

“How possible is it?” he added. “On a scale of one through ten, with ten being completely possible, it’s probably a one, maybe a one and a half.”

Pfann is even unsure that the name Jesus on the caskets was read correctly. He thinks it is more likely the name Hanun. Ancient Semitic script is notoriously difficult to decipher.

Cameron spent two years working with a team of experts to make the controversial film. Director Simcha Jacobovici told the press conference: “For millions of readers, the Da Vinci Code was a fantasy, a fiction. Here is a Judah, son of Jesus, next to a Jesus and a Mariamne.”

Al Gore’s Personal Energy Use Is His Own “Inconvenient Truth”

Al Gore’s Personal Energy Use Is His Own “Inconvenient Truth”

Gore’s home uses more than 20 times the national average

Last night, Al Gore’s global-warming documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, collected an Oscar for best documentary feature, but the Tennessee Center for Policy Research has found that Gore deserves a gold statue for hypocrisy.


Gore’s mansion, located in the posh Belle Meade area of Nashville, consumes more electricity every month than the average American household uses in an entire year, according to the Nashville Electric Service (NES).

In his documentary, the former Vice President calls on Americans to conserve energy by reducing electricity consumption at home.

The average household in America consumes 10,656 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year, according to the Department of Energy. In 2006, Gore devoured nearly 221,000 kWh—more than 20 times the national average.

Last August alone, Gore burned through 22,619 kWh—guzzling more than twice the electricity in one month than an average American family uses in an entire year. As a result of his energy consumption, Gore’s average monthly electric bill topped $1,359.

Since the release of An Inconvenient Truth, Gore’s energy consumption has increased from an average of 16,200 kWh per month in 2005, to 18,400 kWh per month in 2006.

Gore’s extravagant energy use does not stop at his electric bill. Natural gas bills for Gore’s mansion and guest house averaged $1,080 per month last year.

“As the spokesman of choice for the global warming movement, Al Gore has to be willing to walk to walk, not just talk the talk, when it comes to home energy use,” said Tennessee Center for Policy Research President Drew Johnson.

In total, Gore paid nearly $30,000 in combined electricity and natural gas bills for his Nashville estate in 2006.

Is Al Gore mentally ill?

Is Al Gore mentally ill?

Date: 2007-02-24, 11:13PM ESTIS AL GORE MENTALLY ILL?

Al Gore’s increasingly desperate refusal to admit he had lost the presidential election has some observers wondering if he is mentally ill. In fact, he fits the criteria for narcissistic personality disorder to an eerie tee.

A popular Internet message being spread around the globe notes that the description of this disorder sums up Gore’s entire being.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV), the bible of psychological problems, narcissistic personality disorder is marked by:

“A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

“(1) has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)

“(2) is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love

“(3) believes that he or she is ‘special’ and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)

“(4) requires excessive admiration

“(5) has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations

“(6) is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends

“(7) lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others

“(8) is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her

“(9) shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes.”


Place your bets, who will take out Iran’s nuclear sites?

Anti-war cannibalism

Cyberspace as a Combat Zone: The Phenomenon of Electronic Jihad

Cyberspace as a Combat Zone: The Phenomenon of Electronic Jihad
By: E. Alshech

Alongside military jihad, which has been gaining momentum and extracting an ever growing price from many countries around the globe, Islamists have been developing a new form of warfare, termed “electronic jihad,” which is waged on the Internet. This new form of jihad was launched in recent years and is still in its early stages of development. However, as this paper will show, Islamists are fully aware of its destructive potential, and persistently strive to realize this potential.

Electronic jihad is a phenomenon whereby mujahideen use the Internet to wage economic and ideological warfare against their enemies. Unlike other hackers, those engaged in electronic jihad are united by a common strategy and ideology which are still in a process of formation. This paper aims to present the phenomenon of electronic jihad and to characterize some of its more recent developments. It lays out the basic ideology and motivations of its perpetrators, describes, as far as possible, its various operational strategies, and assesses the short- and long-term dangers posed by this relatively new phenomenon. The paper focuses on electronic jihad waged by organized Islamist groups that mobilize large numbers of hackers around the world to attack servers and websites owned by those whom they regard as their enemies.

Organized Electronic Jihad

In the past few years Islamist websites have provided ample evidence that Islamist hackers do not operate as isolated individuals, but carry out coordinated attacks against websites belonging to those whom they regard as their enemies. [1] As evident from numerous postings on the Islamist websites, many of these coordinated attacks are organized by groups devoted to electronic jihad. Six prominent groups of this sort have emerged on the Internet over the past few years: [2] Hackboy, [3] Ansar Al-Jihad Lil-Jihad Al-Electroni, [4] Munazamat Fursan Al-Jihad Al-Electroni, [5] Majmu’at Al-Jihad Al-Electroni, [6] Majma’ Al-Haker Al-Muslim, and Inhiyar Al-Dolar. [7] All these groups, with the exception of Munazamat Fursan Al-Jihad and Inhiyar al-Dolar, have websites of their own through which they recruit volunteers to take part in electronic attacks, [8] maintain contacts with others who engage in electronic jihad, coordinate their attacks, and enable their members to chat with one another anonymously. The Majmu’at Al-Jihad Al-Electroni website, for example, includes the following sections: A document explaining the nature of electronic jihad, a section devoted to electronic jihad strategy, a technical section on software used for electronic attacks, a section describing previous attacks and their results, and various appeals to Muslims, mujahideen, and hackers worldwide.

A more recent indication of the increasingly organized nature of electronic jihad is an initiative launched January 3, 2007 on Islamist websites: mujahideen operating on the Internet (and in the media in general) were invited to sign a special pact called “Hilf Al-Muhajirin” (“Pact of the Immigrants”). [9] In it, they agree “to stand united under the banner of the Muhajirun Brigades in order to promote [cyber-warfare],” and “to pledge allegiance to the leader [of the Muhajirun Brigades].” They vow to “obey [the leader] in [all tasks], pleasant or unpleasant, not to contest [his] leadership, to exert every conceivable effort in [waging] media jihad… [and to persist] in attacking those websites which do harm to Islam and to the Muslims…” [10] This initiative clearly indicates that the Islamist hackers no longer regard themselves as loosely connected individual activists, but as dedicated soldiers who are bound by a pact and committed to a joint ideological mission.

The Ideology and Ethical Boundaries of Electronic Jihad

Missionstatements posted on the websites of electronic jihad groups reveal that just like the mujahideen on the military front, the mujahideen operating on the Internet are motivated by profound ideological conviction. They despise hackers who “engage in purposeless and meaningless sabotage” [11] or are motivated by desire for publicity or by any other worldly objective. They perceive themselves as jihad-fighters who assist Islam and promote tawhid(Monotheism) via the Internet. [12] More importantly, they view cyberspace as a virtual battlefield in which the mujahideen can effectively defeat the West.

That the mujahideen operating in cyberspace are motivated by ideology, in contrast to many hackers, is illustrated by the following example. Recently, a participant on an Islamist forum posted instructions for breaking into a UK-based commercial website and stealing the customers’ credit card information in order to inflict financial damage on the “unbelievers” (i.e. on the non-Muslims customers and retailers). His initiative sparked a fierce debate among the forum participants, the dominant opinion being that this initiative falls outside the boundaries of legitimate cyber-jihad. One forum participant wrote: “Oh brother, we do not steal… We attack racist, American and Shi’ite [websites] and all corrupt websites.” Another participant reminded the forum members that stealing from unbelievers is forbidden. [13]

Image from Muslim Hackerz website

The Objectives of Electronic Jihad

One objective of electronic jihad which is frequently evoked by the mujahideen is assisting Islam by attacking websites that slander Islam or launch attacks against Islamic websites, or by attacking websites that interfere with the goal of rendering Islam supreme (e.g. Christian websites). More recently, however, the mujahideen have begun to cite additional objectives: avenging the death of Muslim martyrs and the suffering of Muslims worldwide (including imprisoned jihad fighters); inflicting damage on Western economy; affecting the morale of the West; and even bringing about the total collapse of the West.

The following excerpts from Arabic messages posted by Islamist hackers exemplify each of these objectives.

Eliminating Websites That Harm Islam

“The administration wishes to inform you of the following so that you understand our operational methods and our jihad strategy. My brothers, our operational methods are not only to assault… and target any website that stands in the way of our victory… We are indeed victorious when we disable such [harmful] websites, but the matter is not so simple. We target… websites that wage intensive war [against us]… We target them because they are the foremost enemies of jihad in cyberspace; their existence threatens Islamic and religious websites throughout the Internet…” [14]

Avenging the Death of Martyrs and the Suffering of Muslims and Imprisoned Mujahideen Worldwide

“We shall say to the Crusaders and their followers: We take an oath to avenge the martyrs’ blood and the weeping of Muslim mothers and children. The Worshipers of the Cross and their followers have already been warned that their websites may be broken into and destroyed. We must not forget our leaders, our mujahideen, our people and our children who were martyred in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya and in other places. We shall take revenge upon you, O Zionists and Worshippers of the Cross. We shall never rest or forget what you did to us. [There are only two options] in electronic jihad for the sake of Allah: Victory or death.

We dedicate these [operations of] hacking [into enemy websites] to the martyr and jihad-fighter sheikh Abu Mus’ab Al-Zarqawi, to the jihad-fighter Sheikh Osama bin Laden, to the imprisoned fighter of electronic jihad Irhabi 007, to the fighter of electronic jihad Muhibb Al-Shaykhan and to all the mujahideen for the sake of Allah…” [15]

Inflicting Economic Damage on the West and Damaging its Morale

“Allah has commanded us in various Koranic verses to wage war against the unbelievers… Electronic jihad utilizes methods and means which inflict great material damage on the enemy and [which also] lower his morale and his spirits via the Internet. The methods of [hacking] have been revealed [to us] by expert [hackers] on the Internet and networks… many of whom engage in purposeless and meaningless sabotage. These lethal methods will be harnessed [for use] against our enemies, so as to inflict the greatest [possible] financial damage [upon them] – which can amount to millions – and [in order] to damage [their] morale, so that [they] will be afraid of the Muslims wherever they go and even when they are surfing the Web.” [16]

Bringing About the Total Collapse of the West

“I have examined most of the material [available] in hacking manuals but have not found articles which discuss… how to disable all the [electronic] networks around the world. I found various articles which discuss how to attack websites, e-mails, servers, etc., but I have not read anything about harming or blocking the networks around the world, even though this is one of the most important topics for a hacker and for anyone who engages in electronic jihad. Such [an attack] will cripple the West completely. I am not talking about attacking websites or [even] the Internet [as a whole], but [about attacking] all the [computer] networks around the world including military networks, and [networks] which control radars, missiles and communications around the world… If all these networks stop [functioning even] for a single day… it will bring about the total collapse of the West… while affecting our interests only slightly. The collapse of the West will bring about the breakdown of world economy and of the stock markets, which depend on [electronic] communication [for] their activities, [e.g.] transfers of assets and shares. [Such an attack] will cause the capitalist West to collapse.

Actual Attacks and Their Effects

Reports on Islamist websites indicate that most of the hacking operations carried out by mujahideen have been aimed at three types of websites:

a) Ideological websites which promote beliefs, doctrines and ideologies which the mujahideen perceive as incompatible with Sunni Islam, such as Christianity, Shi’ism and Zionism. [17]

b) Websites which the mujahideen perceive as defamatory or harmful to Islam. Many of these are private blogs, news blogs and non-Islamic forums (e.g., http://answering-islam.org.uk). [18]

c) Websites which promote behavior that is contrary to the mujahideen’s religious worldview (e.g., http://www.nscrush.org/news/journal, a website associated with a girls’ sports team).

As for websites associated with governments, defense systems, and Western economic interests – Islamist websites present little or no evidence that mujahideen have actually attacked them. There is, however, sufficient evidence to suggest that such sensitive targets continue to be of intense interest to the mujahideen. For example, an Islamist forum recently conducted a survey among its participants regarding the targets they would like to attack. Among the targets suggested were Western financial websites and websites associated with the FBI and CIA. [19] Moreover, in September 2006, an Islamic website posted a long list of IP addresses allegedly associated with key governmental defense institutions in the West, including “the Army Ballistics Research Laboratory,” “the Army Armament Research Development and Engineering Center,” “the Navy Computers and Telecommunications Station,” “the National Space Development Agency of Japan,” and others. [20] The title of the message indicates that the list is meant for use in electronic attacks.

Another message, posted on an Islamist website on December 5, 2006, stated that Islamist hackers had cancelled a planned attack, nicknamed “The Electronic Guantanamo Raid,” against American banks. The posting explained that the attack had been cancelled because the banks had been warned about the attack by American media and government agencies. It stated further that the panic in the media shows how important it is “to focus on attacking sensitive economic American websites [instead of] other [websites, like those that offend Islam]…” The writer added: “If [we] attack websites associated with the stock[market] and with banks, disabling them for a few days or even for a few hours, it will cause millions of dollars’ worth of damage… I [therefore] call upon all members [of this forum] to focus on these websites and to urge all Muslims who are able to participate in this [type of] Islamic Intifada to attack websites associated with the American stock[market] and banks…” [21]

Attack Strategies

Postings on Islamist websites reveal that the cyberspace mujahideen favor two main strategies. The first is to paralyze sites by “swarming”, i.e., flooding them with hits and thus creating a traffic overload. When traffic to the site exceeds the website’s or server’s capacity, the site is blocked to additional users, and in some cases it even crashes. The second strategy is called “ping attack”: special programs are used to flood a website with thousands of e-mails, sometimes containing viruses, thus clogging the website and infecting it. [22] The programs utilized by mujahideen in these attacks are either programs available to the hacker community at large (see image below) or programs created especially for Islamist hackers (see images below). [23]

Program used by the general hacker’s community

Programs created by Islamists

Reports posted by the mujahideen after attacks on websites indicate that these cyber-assaults affect the websites only temporarily, if at all. In many cases the mujahideen themselves admit that their attack was ineffective [24] and that the website returned to normal functioning only minutes or hours after the attack. [25] In light of this, the mujhahideen often resort to another method in an attempt to completely eliminate the targeted site. An Islamist hacker explained the method as follows: “We contact… the server [which hosts the target website] before and after the assault, and threaten [the server admin] until they shut down the target website. [In such cases], the ‘host’ [i.e., server] is usually forced to shut down the website. The battle continues until the enemy declares: ‘I surrender.'” [26]

Islamist websites present very little evidence of more sophisticated attacks utilizing actual hacking techniques (i.e., obtaining the admin password and using admin privileges to corrupt data or damage the server itself). However, two examples do indicate that the cyberspace mujahideen may possess the capability to carry out such attacks. [27] On October 17, 2006, an Islamist website posted a message [28] containing a link to what appeared to be live pictures of Anchorage International Airport taken by the airport’s security cameras. There was also a link to an admin control program allowing surfers to control the airport’s security cameras. If this was an authentic break-in, it indicates that Muslim hackers are capable of hacking even into highly secure servers.

Another example which illustrates the extent of the mujahideen‘s hacking skills is the story of 22-year-old Younis Tsouli from West London, better know as Irhabi 007, who was arrested in 2005 by Scotland Yard. In his short but rich hacking career, Irahbi 007 wrote a hacking manual for mujahideen, instructed Islamist hackers online, and broke into servers of American universities, using them to upload shared files containing jihad-related materials. [29]

Image taken from the Ansar Al-Jihad website

Coordination of Attacks

Islamist websites provide extensive evidence that Islamist cyber-attacks are not random initiatives by individual mujahideen, but are steadily becoming more coordinated. Firstly, announcements of imminent attacks, which appear almost daily, are posted on numerous sites simultaneously. Participants are instructed to look out for postings specifying the time of attack, the URL of the target (usually posted some 30 minutes before the attack itself) and the program to be used for carrying out the attack. Secondly, before the attacks, websites have lately begun to post messages addressed to specific individuals referred to as “attack coordinators,” each of whom is associated with a specific Islamist site. Finally, there is a significant increase in response to the calls for participation in electronic attacks. Recently, for example, a message announcing an attack on a Shi’ite website received 15,000 hits, and approximately 3,000 forum members responded to the message. [30] The attacks, then, seem to be well-organized and supervised by a network of specially appointed individuals on various sites, and they appear to generate high participation level among forum members.

The following three examples demonstrate the coordinated nature of the attacks.

Instructions for Attack Coordinators

On December 21, 2006, the Al-Muhajirun website posted the following message regarding a planned attack: “Our attack will take place this coming Friday… I remind you that the name of the program to be used will not be posted until half an hour to an hour before the attack… Attack coordinators, you worked hard last week… and I ask you to display the same zeal in this [upcoming] attack. I ask [each] individual who intends to serve as attack coordinator on [his] website to reply [to this posting with the message]: “I will be the attack coordinator for this network…” [The coordinator] will be responsible for the following: …urging forum participants [to take part in the attack], while [taking care] not to mention names of ‘Hilf Al-Muhajirin’ members and the names of those who take part in the attack… [The coordinators] must be online at least one full hour before the attack… in order to post links to the programs that will be used and to the [intended target] websites. [They are also] responsible for posting the code-name of the attack, along with the text shown below [which presents some general information about the attack]… ” [31]

Announcement of a Ping Attack Against a Website That Harms Islam

The following message was posted November 23, 2006 on the website Majmu’at Al-Jihad Al-Electroni: “…An attack is about to be carried out by all the Internet mujahideen, may Allah accept it as jihad for His sake… [The targets are] websites that do harm to Islam… The attacks will take place on Saturday, Monday, and Thursday, between 6:00 P.M. and 10:00 P.M., Mecca time, or between 5:00 P.M. and 9:00 P.M. Jerusalem time… The primary [computer] program to be used is Al-Jihad Al-Electroni 1.5… We have been able to create a better version of the [program]… and eliminate most of the problems that were encountered by members [in the past]. [The new version] is much lighter and is capable of producing a much more powerful attack…” [32]

A General Call to Participate in a Virus Attack

“This action is a rapid [response] to [a website] that has annoyed us. This is war… Who is with me and who is against me? Allah is with me… and the Crusader Jew and his followers… are against me. I have… uploaded three viruses and a file which can disable firewalls. I will inform you of the time of the attacks… Whoever wishes to participate in the raid should download the virus he wishes to use and [then] send it [to the target]… I ask that before you do anything on the Internet… my mujahid brother, [please] place your trust in Allah.” [33]

Site infected with virus by Islamist hackers

Electronic Jihad: A Nuisance or a Real Threat?

The evidence presented here shows that electronic jihad is a form of cyber-warfare with ideological underpinnings and defined goals, which manifests in well-coordinated cyber-attacks. Examination of the websites reveals that the Islamist hackers maintain constant communication among themselves, share software and expertise and conduct debates on strategy and legitimate targets. There is also evidence of increasingly efficient coordination of attacks. The mujahideen’s own statements show that they mean to position themselves as a formidable electronic attack force which is capable of inflicting severe damage – greater even than the damage caused by conventional terrorist attacks.

At the same time, however, the information presented here reveals a significant gap between the mujahideen’s aspirations and their actual capabilities. Despite their self-proclaimed intention to target key economic and government systems and websites in order to bring about a total economic collapse of the West, Islamist websites provide no evidence that such targets have indeed been attacked. In actuality, most of the attacks documented on Islamist websites were aimed at sites that are seen by the mujahideen as morally corrupt or offensive to Islam. In addition, most of the attacks were carried out using unsophisticated methods which are not very likely to pose a significant threat to Western economic interests or sensitive infrastructure. In this respect, electronic jihad can still be seen, at least present, as a nuisance rather than a serious threat.

Nevertheless, it is important not underestimate the potential danger posed by this phenomenon. First, as shown above, at least two examples indicate that the mujahideen are already capable of compromising servers, even highly secure ones. Given the increasing communication and the constant sharing of expertise among Islamist hackers, [34] the gap between their goals and their actual capabilities is bound to narrow down. In other words, the mujahideen’s persistent pursuit of expertise in the area of hacking, as reflected in numerous website postings, may eventually enable them to compromise Western websites of a highly sensitive nature.

Second, past experience has shown that even primitive attacks, which do not damage servers, can cause substantial financial damage. For example, after a midair collision between a Chinese fighter jet and an American spy plane on April 1, 2001, Chinese hackers spread a malicious “worm,” known as the “Code Red Worm,” which infected about a million U.S. servers in July 2001 and caused some $2.6 billion worth of damage to computer hardware, software, and networks. [35] On another occasion, a ping attack against the retail giants Yahoo, eBay, and Amazon in February 2000 was estimated to have caused Yahoo alone a loss of $500,000 due a decrease in hits during the attack. [36]

In conclusion, electronic jihad, in its current state of development, is capable of causing some moderate damage to Western economy, but there is no indication that it constitutes an immediate threat to more sensitive interests such as defense systems and other crucial infrastructure. Nevertheless, in light of the rapid evolvement of this phenomenon, especially during the recent months, the Western countries should monitor it closely in order to track the changes in its modes of operation and the steady increase in its sophistication.

*Dr. Alshech is the Director of the Jihad and Terrorism Studies Project.

[1] For early examples of coordinated attacks, see www.3asfh.net/vb/showthread.php?t=18162. See also the following IslamOnline.net article from 2002 about a coordinated attack carried out by mujahideen against a Hebrew newspaper www.islamonline.net/Arabic/science/200205/Article01.shtml. I am indebted to Y. Yehoshua for these references.

[2] Some electronic Jihad groups, such as http://groups.msn.com/falastinhorra , are no longer active.

[3] http://www.hacker-boy.150m.com/.

[4] http://www.al-ansar.150m.com/.

[5] The Islamist website Al-Firdaws announced the establishment of this group (http://www.alfirdaws.org/vb/showthread.php?t=9944 ) but, to our knowledge, it has not launched its own website.

[6] http://www.al-jinan.org. The group’s self-proclaimed title is “Jihad Electroni: The Group Which Specializes in Attacking Israeli Websites and [Websites] Harmful to Islam.”

[7] http://www.mslamh.jeeran.com/.

[8] Electronic jihad groups also use the general Islamist forums to recruit participants for their enterprises.

[9] The name “Hilf Al-Muhajirin” is presumably derived from the name of the forum which launched the initiative (www.mohajroon.com ) and/or from the historical “Hilf Al-Muhajirin” pact which, according to Muslim tradition, was undertaken by the people who migrated with the Prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Medina in 622 CE.

[10] It is noteworthy that the wording of the pledge of allegiance to the leader bears a strong resemblance to the wording that appears in various versions of the historical pledge of allegiance between the early Muslims and the Prophet Muhammad.

[11] http://www.al-jinan.org/jihad.htm.

[12] http://alfirdaws.org/vb/showthread.php?t=9944.

[13] This participant cited expatriate Syrian Salafi sheikh Abu Basir Al-Tartusi, who holds that, unlike a Muslim who invades the abode of unbelievers, a Muslim who dwells there and is granted protection (aman) by unbelievers must not steal property from the non-Muslims dwelling in this abode.

See http://www.altartosi.com/book/book03/index.html.

[14] http://www.al-jinan.org.

[15] http://www.al-ansar.150m.com/8.htm.

[16] http://www.al-jinan.org/jihad.htm ; see also http://www.al-ekhlaas.net/forum/showthread.php?t=35424 .

[17] E.g., www.meca-me.org ; http://www.mecalove4all.com/main.php, http://www.islameyat.com/.

[18] See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 1330, “Islamist Website Calls to Disable German Websites Offensive to Islam,” October 20, 2006, http://memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=subjects&Area=iwmp&ID=SP133006.

See also the forum at http://www.al-boraq.com/showthread.php?t=13896, in which a participant calls upon electronic jihadists to disable a site that defames the Koran in his opinion.

[19] http://www.mohajroon.com/vb/showthread.php?t=38360.

[20] http://www.alnusra.net/vb/showthread.php?t=6946.

[21] http://alfirdaws.org/vb/showthread.php?t=21318 .

[22] For examples of the mujhideen‘s use of viruses, see http://www.mohajroon.com/vb/showthread.php?t=21629 ; http://www.abualbokhary.info/vb3/showthread.php?t=13173.

[23] For the programs most frequently used by the mujahideen, see http://www.al-ansar.150m.com/5.htm.

[24] http://www.mohajroon.com/vb/showthread.php?t=38447.

[25] http://www.al-ansar.150m.com/3.htm.

[26] http://www.al-jinan.org/strategy.htm.

[27] http://alfirdaws.org/vb/showthread.php?t=18266.

[28] See MEMRI Special Report No. 1326, “Islamist Websites Monitor No. 9 – Mujahideen Gather Information on Anchorage International Airport,” October 18, 2006,


[29] For more information on Irhabi 007’s activities and arrest, see: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/03/25/AR2006032500020.html. Note, however, that hacking a database for the sake of corrupting or stealing data requires greater technical expertise than hacking for the sake of uploading files or defacing a website’s front page.

[30] http://www.mohajroon.com/vb/showthread.php?t=42442.

[31] http://www.mohajroon.com/vb/showthread.php?t=38694.

[32] http://www.elshouraa.ws/vb/showthread.php?t=2635.

[33] http://www.abualbokhary.info/vb3/showthread.php?t=13173. For another example of the mujahideen‘s use of virus, see http://www.mohajroon.com/vb/showthread.php?t=21629.

[34] For examples of mujahideen sharing information and expertise on computer hacking, see

http://www.al-ekhlaas.net/forum/showthread.php?t=27154 ;

http://www.al-ekhlaas.net/forum/showthread.php?t=20305 ;

http://www.al-ekhlaas.net/forum/showthread.php?t=3468 ;

http://www.al-ekhlaas.net/forum/showthread.php?t=34679 ; http://www.abualbokhary.info/vb3/showthread.php?t=19813&highlight=%E6%D5%ED%C9.

[35] Gabriel Weimann, Terror on the Internet (Washington, 2006), pp. 156-157.

[36] http://www.cis.udel.edu/~sunshine/courses/F06/CIS664/class12.pdf ; http://archives.cnn.com/2000/TECH/computing/02/09/cyber.attacks.01/index.html.