Sunday, August 28
Young European Muslim radicals no longer listen to imams. They listen to social media.
Counterterrorism expert Boaz Ganor made the above observation on John Batchelor's August 25 show. See the show schedule page; Hour 3, Block B, for details on Ganor's credentials. Unfortunately I can't locate the discussion on the show podcast page but here are some notes from it on the schedule page:
... [Islamic State] recruitment: how and of whom? Start with Muslim communities in Europe: youngsters, mainly aimed at second- and third-gen Muslim immigrants to Europe, who are much more frustrated than ... parents. For elders, getting European citizenship was the biggest achievement of their lives, whereas their offspring blame the state and their own parents; are deeply frustrated. This is used by terrorist organizations via social networks. "Forget about France and Spain; you’re part of a much greater group, the ummah. ..."However, what caused me to drop my note-taking pen was Dr Ganor's specific remark that the youth are listening to social media rather than imams. Do you realize what this means?
For starters it means that Scott Shane's New York Times report, Saudis and Extremism: "Both the Arsonists and the Firefighters", which I linked to last week, is behind the curve of reality.
The Saudi ruling family created a veritable army of clerics to control the Muslim masses, and the ruling family controlled the imams. The pyramidal arrangement worked well enough that when the masses got too far out of line the Saudis could assure other governments that they were taking steps, via the clerics, to rein in the troublemakers.
But Dr Boaz points to what is happening now. The reality is making a mockery of Saudi attempts at control. When I thought about it I realized his observation had been shouting at the world from numerous news reports since Islamic State began its media blitz, including this report that FARS (Iran's government news agency) scooped up yesterday from a Kuwaiti press outlet:
The Kuwaiti interior ministry has arrested a citizen working for a governmental organization who used his office and computer for hacking the official websites of certain countries and spreading the ISIL thoughts.
"This is not a rare case, rather the ISIL has many of its members inside the Arab countries' governmental bodies and institutions and all of them work for the ISIL in one way or another," Omar Badreddin, an Arab analyst, said on Saturday.
Noting that the ISIL has formed an cyber army using the resources of the Arab and western world, he said that the terrorist group is leading a cyber war against the world nations.
Badreddin said that the Kuwaiti security forces have arrested a person, namely Othman Zain Nayef who used his office and computer to promote ISIL thoughts through the social media, adding that Nayef has admitted that he was a member of the 'Caliphate Cyber Army' and expert in hacking the websites used by other ISIL members.
The problem now for Saudi rulers is there's no master sorcerer to save them from the consequences of their foolish use of religious preceptors to maintain order in the kingdom. That should have been evident to them after the stampede at last year's Hajj. They were unable to control the news getting out that the death toll was much higher than their official announcement. And Muslims the world over who'd lost loved ones in the stampede weren't listening to clerics who told them it was a blessing to die while on the Hajj. They wanted the Saudi rulers held accountable.
The rulers had no intention of being held accountable. Situations like that have helped destroy the authority of the clerics. Their authority is passing to -- what did Nayef call it? A caliphate cyber army.