Digital Terrorism * 23.07.2003

The Simon Wiesenthal Center has been tracking the dark side of the digital revolution since the first digital hate site was posted in 1995.

Initially used by extremist groups in the U.S. in search of young recruits, financial support, and mainstream exposure and legitimacy, international terrorist groups and their supporters have now tapped into the full potential of the Internet.

These digital trends, from the ‘traditional haters’, like the Klan and neo-Nazi skinheads, to transnational extremists and terrorist groups seeking to impose their theology of hate on the entire world and the targeting of the young, impressionable and uninformed are presented in the Center’s newest CD-ROM, DIGITAL TERRORISM AND HATE 2003.

Digital Terrorism and Hate 2003 is compiled by the research division of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Snider Social Action Institute from some 4,000 problematic worldwide websites and comprises:

• The New War in Cyberspace: From website hacks to steganographic code, terrorists and their apologists now use the Internet to plan and execute actions against their enemies.

• Fundraising for Terrorism: Utilizing the global reach of the Internet, terrorist groups, often under cover of seemingly benign charities, are raising money around the world.

• Suicide Bombers: Terrorist organizations use the Internet to attract and recruit impressionable youngsters for suicide missions.

• Denying History: The manipulation of the Web to distort history proliferates, from promoting the “big lie” that the U.S. and Israel were allegedly behind 9/11, to Holocaust denial, to denigrating the legacy of the late Civil Rights icon, Martin Luther King, Jr.

• Hate Games: Games promoting hate are widely available online, including lynching Blacks, ‘duck shooting’ Jews and gassing Turks. One game teaches “recruits” how to launch a terrorist attack.

• Homegrown Hate: Traditional hate groups in the United States and Europe, from the KKK, to neo-Nazis, to Skinheads, continue to expand their increasingly sophisticated Internet activities.