Online propaganda can incite violent attacks

May 10, 2012


Combination between personality disorder and online expressions of right wing extremism can be deadly. Ulf Åsgård, a psychiatrist and expert on criminal profiling, clams that the trial against the suspected serial shooter in Malmö, Peter Mangs, demonstrates this point well. He also warns of more of such crimes to come. “You can only press a button and there it is, a deep culture of hatred. Persons who have a disorder are especially susceptible for the rampant propaganda out there”.


The trial against Peter Mangs begins on Monday and concerns three murders and up to 29 attempt of murder. For the victims and their families the trial is an opportunity to find out, why? Mangs denies the charges and does not talk much about the motive. However, both Ulf Åsgård and Daniel Poohl (chief editor of Expo Magazine – an anti-rasist organization ( are of the opinion that the attacks are marked by racist motives. One such sign is Mangs’ extensive reading of racist newspapers and online propaganda. Daniel Poohl says that “there is a grave risk with such an aggressive argumentative tone where people (e.g. immigrants) are targeted”. He also points out that Mangs’ hate is probably not produced by the strongly conspiratorial and racist sites he visited, but in all likelihood that such sites have only confirmed his beliefs.


Daniel argues that ”in order for someone to get stuck in the extremist ideas it is required that a person experiences an event which confirms his (racist) world view. Mangs told of his negative views of immigrants (started) when he was as young as five, when he was pushed. The websites give a person a pat on the shoulder (for enduring hardships with immigrants) and thereby risk to radicalize individuals who already have that world view”. He further describes the mood on the online right-wing forums as aggressive, uncompromising and inciting.  “When people discuss political opponents or immigrants the tone can be extremely hard and hateful, even with encouragements to murder and abuse. Clearly, the risks are higher of someone taking on the challenge (of doing so)”, he explains.


Ulf Åsgård claims that the hateful tone by itself does not lead to violence; however in combination with empathic personal disorder this can be dangerous. “For instance, even an ordinary individual can have opinions on parts of Islam without having to turn to violence for that. However, this type of perpetrator has particular fragility which makes propaganda easily absorbed”.


Does this mean that there is a risk of more of such deeds being committed the more of the propaganda is spread?


Åsgard answers, ”it is possible that the online propaganda has already caught those who are fragile and who turn to crime. All of them, however, have not committed those criminal acts yet, but they will.


Both Åsgard and Poohl draw parallels between Mangs and the Norwegian terrorist Anders Behring Breivik, who had written a large manuscript drawing heavily from the (extreme-right) online forums.


But there are differences between the two, Poohl argues: “Breivik sees himself as a part of a political struggle, as a soldier. Peter Mangs seems more of a lone wolf who wants to do away with the criminals and immigrants in the city where he lives”.


Signed: Andreas Rolfer

Woodbridge man sentenced to 12 years for terrorist propaganda video

A Woodbridge man was sentenced Friday to 12 years in prison for providing material support to the foreign terrorist organization Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, also known as LeT, according to federal authorities in Virginia.

The 24-year-old Jubair Ahmad, a native of Pakistan, pleaded guilty in December in U.S. District Court in Alexandria to producing a violent jihadist video.

Ahmad admitted that he had communicated with Talha Saeed, the son of Lashkar-e-Tayyiba leader Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, authorities said. Talha Saeed instructed Ahmad to make a propaganda video to include a prayer calling for the support of jihad and Islamic freedom fighters playing in the background.

Deborah Baker’s ‘The Convert’ is the true story of a Jewish girl who converted to Islam

The story of Maryam Jameelah is an extraordinary but painfully confused true tale of a young American woman whose search for moral absolutes and emotional security led her to abandon a middle-class Jewish upbringing in suburban New York in the 1960s for a vastly different existence as an exile and convert to Islam in Pakistan, where she experienced both great intellectual productivity and deep personal conflict. Deborah Baker, who based her account of Jameelah’s life largely on troves of correspondence (which Jameelah gave her permission to use), calls her story a parable of Islam and America. But it is hard to find a clear lesson in a life whose multiple twisted strands have included bouts with mental illness, family conflicts, irreconcilable loyalties to rival faiths and versions of history, and ultimate disillusionment in a search for impossible certainties about life and death.

Her tortured relationship with Judaism, Christianity and the West was a jumble of adolescent rebellion, liberal guilt and a desperate search for elusive moral verities. She was first shocked by photographs of Nazi concentration camps, then by the “Zionist propaganda” and the abuses of Palestinians that followed the creation of Israel. “I no longer consider myself a Jew,” she wrote with cold fury in 1949.


Recruitment of Young Muslims to Fight in Afghanistan at Manchester’s Longsight Market


On Thursday, Manchester Crown Court heard that a group of radical Muslims, led by former Taliban fighter Munir Farooq, tried to recruit young Muslims to fight in a holy war in Afghanistan, starting at Farooq’s bookstall at Longsight Market in Manchester. As part of the group’s efforts, they tried to recruit two undercover police officers, who then infiltrated the group of radicals until November 2009.

Munir Farooq and his son Harris, 27, are accused to have turned their family house into a “production centre for propaganda” for radical Islam. They were supported by two more Muslim men, who worked at the market stall and were also involved in recruiting and radicalising the undercover officers. The four men are charged with disseminating terrorist publications, engaging in the preparation for acts of terrorism and soliciting murder. They deny all charges. The trial continues.

The Memoirs of a German Jihadist

It is a document from the heart of the jihad: Eric Breininger, a German homegrown terrorist recently killed in Pakistan, worked on his memoirs until just days before his death. On Wednesday, the document was posted on the Internet.

Turning to jihad marks the end of a long path from a German youth trying to find his way – one who went to parties, drank alcohol and had a girlfriend. Breininger writes at the beginning of his autobiography, “I lived exactly the kind of life that every young person in the West wants to live. But I couldn’t see any meaning.”

Despite being full of pseudo-religious passages penned primarily for propaganda purposes, Breininger’s memoirs are important for the insight they provide into a world that would otherwise be difficult to understand. But one question remains unanswered: Why the jihad represents an answer to the search for meaning in life.

The Secret Services: Italy exposed to “do-it-yourself terrorists”

In the 2009 Report consigned March 1 to the Parliament, the Italian Secret Services point at the risk of a “next door” Islamic terrorism. They speak of homogrown mujahidin and free lance jihadists. These, are second generation immigrants who live in situations of socio-economic and emotional malaise. They are not directly recruited by al-Qaida but are influenced by on-line propaganda. On internet, in fact, they can find discussion groups and do-it-yourself books. The Secret Services highlight the role played by European converts in the cyberjihad: although they are a minority, they nonetheless represent a real risk. Another interesting aspect that emerges from the Report, is the weak link between illegal immigration and Islamic radicalism. The Report concludes that Italy is a target for three main reasons: 1. It takes part to military missions, 2. Its commitment against international terrorism and 3. It is the symbolic centre of Christianity. Institutional representatives or famous people could be exposed as well. The secret Services recognize the possibility that those who cannot reach Afghanistan or other war scenarios decide to conduct attacks directly in our country.

National Front Party accused of copying Swiss minaret ban propaganda poster

Several commentators have noted the similarity of Jean-Marie Le Pen’s National Front posters against Islamism in France to those in the anti-minaret campaign in Switzerland in November 2009. Please see the article to compare the images.

Copyright for anti-Islam propaganda?

The French party Front National is advertising their rightwing agenda on election posters that very much resemble those of the Swiss People’s Party (SVP) during their campaign against minaret construction. The SVP’s poster showed a Muslim woman, almost completely veiled in black cloth, next to an “army” of minarets, covering the Swiss flag. The poster of the National Front’s youth organization shows a similar lady next to a map of France, which is also pierced by minarets and additionally bears colors and symbols of Islamic countries’ flags.

Apparently there is a copyright even on supremacy, and so the SVP now claims violation of copyright. Front National assert that the poster was their idea and even postulates that the People’s Party are building on the “achievements” of the Front National. Furthermore, the French party claims, there are only a few images that can be employed to depict the “creeping Islamisation” of France.

Quebec man sentenced to life for al-Qaida-linked bomb plot

A rural Quebec man was sentenced to life in prison for his role in an overseas terrorist bomb plot by an Al Qaeda affiliated group. It is just the second time in Canadian legal history that a life sentence has been handed down in a terrorism case, after the one last month to one of the so-called ‘Toronto 18′, Crown prosecutors said.

Said Namouh was found guilty in October 2009 of four terrorism-related charges relating to a loosely planned plot to bomb targets in Germany and Austria. The terror attack was motivated by those countries’ military presence in Afghanistan.

Namouh was involved with the Global Islamic Media Front, an organization recognized by the court as a terrorist group that took part in propaganda and jihad recruitment. Namouh, 37, will have no chance of parole for at least 10 years. Namouh is a permanent resident. Canada has already begun procedures to have him deported to his native Morocco.

Raids conducted in German mosques to confiscate Saudi propaganda

On Wednesday, 30 mosques all over Germany were raided. The police were looking for Saudi Islamist literature that promotes discrimination against women.

The Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons had previously classified passages from the book “Women under the protection of Islam” as “dangerous”. The passages of the chapter “Beating of women” says that physical violence against women is permissible if no other measures were “successful”, and describes in detail how to beat women without leaving any visible bruises.

The book, which is the German translation of a Saudi Arabian publication, first appeared at a lecture of radical preacher Pierre Vogel in 2009. The police confiscated books, data storage media and computers.