Fear not: radical Islam on the Internet is still alive and well.
Just days after positive signs emerged that the spread of radical Islamist hate speech on the web was to be curbed in part, the blocked content has made its way back online.
On Nov. 3, YouTube—the popular online video-sharing site—announced that it would begin pulling videos of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) cleric, Anwar al-Awlaki, spewing hateful rhetoric against the West and in support of violence. While this effort appeared promising on the surface, Google Inc.—YouTube's owner—has found it much more difficult to deliver than originally thought. Scores of videos by Awlaki, and others featuring the words of the radical cleric, still show up from a quick search on the website.
To combat the rapid proliferation of al-Qaida propaganda on its servers, YouTube has announced that it is hiring additional staff to vet posted videos.
But for now, the videos remain.
On another front, a New York-based radical Islamist group's website was pulled from cyberspace last week by its blog host after British authorities complained of a threat posted on the site's homepage implicitly suggesting Muslims kill British MPs.
Within days though, the group, RevolutionMuslim (RM), re-launched itself on another Google Blogger-hosted site, IslamPolicy.com. The site also redirects from revolutionmuslim.info, as well as RM's former blog [which previously hadn't been updated since April] revolutionmuslimdaily.blogspot.com.
RevolutionMuslim did not just arrive on the scene with last week's threat of British parliamentarians. Last year, the radical group posted a video on its site defaming American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) Executive Director M. Zuhdi Jasser as a "murtad"—or apostate—and defended the actions of Fort Hood shooter, Nidal Malik Hasan. The group has also maintained close ties to another New York-based Islamist group, the Islamic Thinkers Society (ITS).
Recently, an IPT report revealed that members of both groups have made a notable shift from merely spewing hateful rhetoric on the pages of their websites to engaging in actual terror plots.
One such case is that of former RM leading member, Zachary Chesser, aka Abu Talhah al-Amreekee. Last month, Chesser—a longtime advocate for violent jihad against the West and those that allegedly disparage Islam—pled guilty in Alexandria, VA federal court to providing material support to Al-Shabaab, an al-Qaida-affiliated terrorist organization.
While Chesser and revolutionmuslim.com may now be out of commission, the radical Islamist PR campaign marches on unabated in cyberspace—and still, with many of the same players.