Deleting Online Jihad and the Case of Anwar Al-Awlaki: Nearly Three Million Viewings of Al-Awlaki’s YouTube Videos – Included Would-Be Christmas Airplane Bomber, Fort Hood Shooter, 7/7 London Bomber, and Would-Be Fort Dix Bombers

By: Steven Stalinsky*

December 30, 2009

Introduction

In the world of jihad against America, U.S.-born Imam Anwar Al-Awlaki’s stature has risen significantly in recent days. This is because he is now credited with inspiring – through his online activities – last year’s attempted terrorist attack at Fort Dix, New Jersey; last month’s terrorist attack at Fort Hood, Texas; and this week’s attempted Christmas airplane bombing near Detroit, Michigan. While this week there was speculation that he had been killed in an airstrike in Yemen, more recent reports suggest that he is still alive.

 Al-Awlaki is the Bin Laden of the Internet

One of the most esteemed voices in the Arab media, Al-Arabiya TV director-general Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed, wrote on December 29 in the Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, “Al-Awlaki is an important character … he is the Bin Laden of the Internet.” Al-Rashed went on to say that there is a need “to wage war against extremist websites in general, which have become larger camps than the first camp that gave its name to the ‘Al Qaeda’ organization.”

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