al Qaeda virtual communities

al Qaeda virtual communities.

A recent New Yorker article
describes the growth of an al Qaeda virtual community, which supports
terrorists cooperating logistically, spiritually, and informationally:

Internet provides confused young Muslims in Europe with a virtual
community. Those who cannot adapt to their new homes discover on the
Internet a responsive and compassionate forum. “The Internet stands in
for the idea of the ummah, the mythologized Muslim community,” Marc
Sageman, the psychiatrist and former C.I.A. officer, said. “The
Internet makes this ideal community concrete, because one can interact
with it.” He compares this virtual ummah to romantic conceptions of
nationhood, which inspire people not only to love their country but to
die for it. “The Internet is the key issue,” Gilles Kepel, a prominent
Arabist and a professor at the Institut d’Études Politiques, in Paris,
told me recently. “It erases the frontiers between the dar al-Islam and
the dar al-Kufr. It allows the propagation of a universal norm, with an
Internet Sharia and fatwa system.” Kepel was speaking of the Islamic
legal code, which is administered by the clergy. Now one doesn’t have
to be in Saudi Arabia or Egypt to live under the rule of Islamic law.
“Anyone can seek a ruling from his favorite sheikh in Mecca,” Kepel
said. “In the old days, one sought a fatwa from the sheikh who had the
best knowledge. Now it is sought from the one with the best Web site.” [Smart Mobs]

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