Major Nidal Malik Hasan, the lone suspect in the terrorist 2009 Fort Hood shooting rampage, which the U.S. government has called workplace violence, released seven pages of handwritten and typed documents to Fox News this week just days before his trial is scheduled to begin. Hasan is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted murder for the November 5, 2009 shooting where he allegedly shot unarmed U.S. soldiers at the Soldier Readiness Processing Center. The center is used for soldiers to receive routine military treatment prior to and on return from deployment to regions such as Afghanistan.
Media reports revealed that Hasan had been in touch with al-Qaeda leader, Anwar al-Awlaki through email prior to the shootings. Al-Awlaki had been the imam at the Dar al-Hijrah Mosque in Falls Church, Virginia when Hasan met him. Seven years later and prior to the shootings, Hasan renewed contact with al-Awlaki through e-mail, and communicated with him eighteen times. Al-Awlaki encouraged Hasan to defend Islam through jihad by sending him a copy of “44 Ways of Supporting Jihad which encourages Muslims to defend Islam through violence. Hasan asked al-Awlaki if he was allowed to kill fellow soldiers. Al-Awlaki did not order Hasan to shoot his fellow soldiers, but Hasan did call al-Awlaki his teacher, mentor and friend.
Al-Awlaki’s document is quite easy to access online. Interestingly, number 29 of the 44 ways is called, “WWW Jihad,” which reads, “The internet has become a great medium for spreading the call of Jihad and following the news of the mujahideen.” Mujahideen are Islamic guerrilla fighters especially in the Middle East. The ways the document suggests Muslims can participate include establishing discussion forums, e-mail lists, posting and emailing Jihad literature and news, and setting up Jihadi websites.
Peter Forster, senior lecturer at Penn State’s College of Information Sciences and Technology, says that online terrorist networks are accelerating the jihad for individuals by allowing potential jihadists to train and receive direction for their activities. He says Major Hasan used the Internet to jump from being a radical to being violent.
In 2009, the Department of Homeland Security released a report regarding the Internet as a terrorist tool. The report revealed that in 1998 there were a total of 12 active terrorist websites. By 2003 there were approximately 2,630 websites, and by January of 2009 there were nearly 7,000 active terrorist websites. This included websites such as Al-Fateh, the Hamas Web Magazine for Children, which portrayed the West as corrupt and an enemy of Islam.
A 2012 report by the United Nations identified social media such as, chat rooms, online message boards, forums, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, RapidShare, and online magazines such as al-Qaeda’s Inspire magazine as being used for terrorist purposes. Online video games are also being used as tools to recruit young people to Jihad. In the game, Special Force 2 released in 2007, players raided Israel to capture soldiers and launch Katyusha rockets at Israeli towns.
Worldwide Internet usage has grown by 566.4% since the year 2000. The biggest percentages of the populations using the Internet are in western nations with 78.6% of North Americans using the Internet, followed by 67.6% of Oceania/Australians, and 63.2% of Europeans. With such a potential audience Jihadis are spreading their message throughout the entire world.
Ask God to continue to expose evil plans and strategies by Islamic terrorist organizations to the proper authorities. Pray those in authority will have wisdom from God and deal with the issues appropriately, protecting the innocent.
Pray that innocent children, Muslim and non-Muslim will be protected and not stumble across websites of Jihadi cartoons and video games and be drawn into this violent ideology.
Ask God to develop and raise up Christian programmers, web designers and others that will boldly proclaim the gospel of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ in a way that will draw those who may otherwise be drawn to terrorist websites.