News Stories

Recruiting Girls

As suicide bombers - As well as the potential of cyberattacks that would knock out Western computer networks, terrorists are using their own internet children's websites to recruit suicide bombers, especially among girls, who are faring the worst in these Jihadist battles.

Many terrorist organizations, Hamas, are using their children's websites in order to recruit girls for terrorist activities. This is part of an increasing trend adopted by terrorist organizations and fundamentalist Islamic groups that are using the Internet with a focus on targeting women. Israeli terrorism expert Gabriel Weimann says, "Terrorist organizations' use of female suicide terrorists is on the rise, and it is directly reflected in the constant upsurge in websites dedicated to female terrorists."

This trend began in 2004, when al-Qaeda's online magazine published an edition intended for women, then launched an online magazine intended for women only. At first this sites provided content guiding its readers in administering first aid for family members injured in combat and advice on how to refrain from keeping a husband and children from becoming martyrs, but then it moved on to talking about raising children who will join the Jihad war and in training them to fight. Finally, the site began encouraging women to take an active role in terrorist activities themselves, including martyrdom operations. Such encouragement is given through stories of heroic female suicide terrorists, publishing Islamic laws sanctioning such acts and operative guidance in using different types of weapons.

The Hamas children's website published a story called "A Palestinian Girl's Heroism," describing how a young girl calmly plans and carries out a suicide terrorist attack. The story ends with the girl lying on the grass with a smile on her face, since she has died a martyr for her people. A video clip published on Hamas websites portrays a young girl following her mother's suicide attack and how she plans to follow in her mother's footsteps when she grows up.

Weimann says, "Terrorists are fine-tuning their appeals, sharpening their messages according to narrowly-defined sub-populations. The unmistakable growth in the participation of women in suicide attacks and terrorist activities with the evident growth in persuasive online messages targeting women may provide alarming signals of the narrowcasting tactic's success."

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