Jihad Comes to Facebook

An intrepid operative over at The Jawa Report has posted a revelatory survey of jihadists and jihad sympathizers who’ve established “groups” on the social networking site Facebook.com.

Groups like 14 Shabat, Muslim Brotherhood, and even some al Qaeda wannabes are featured. . .

A group of Islamist hackers calling themselves “Islamic Force” has only a few members, but many other less specialized groups have memberships numbering in the hundreds.

Group pages offer a selection of boilerplate anti-Israel and anti-American propaganda, complete with videos depicting alleged “atrocities” enacted upon Lebanese, Palestinians, and so on.

The preponderance of Western supporters is arresting. At one pro-Hizballah group page, a commentator left this heart-warming observation (both tellingly un-capitalized and capitalized):

im christian english but all I can say is, my heart my soul and my love are behind you. fight for your freedom because no one else will. I pray God and Allah will destroy your enemies.

The administrator of the group “Support Our Troops!” hails from the University of Arizona; its 128 members come from Texas, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and New York. The troops in this case, however, are not American—they are the terrorists and insurgents of Iraq and Afghanistan.

There’s an additional noteworthy point about these Facebook pages: no faces. The groups’ organizers tend to hide behind Palestinian flags or portraits of terrorists like Hassan Nasrallah. There’s something particularly noxious about the marriage of extremism and the Internet. The absence of regulation, the medium’s ubiquity, and the impressionable nature of the Internet’s demography make for a perfect storm. On the bright side, such flagrant PR and recruitment methods make these groups easy to track.