BY: Adam Kredo
Twitter and YouTube accounts claiming to be operated by a suspected al Qaeda terrorist who is listed on the FBI’s most wanted list have been disseminating jihadi propaganda, according to terrorism experts.
A user claiming to be Omar Hammami, an American citizen who joined forces with the al Qaeda-aligned al-Shabaab terror group in 2006, has been tweeting about “martyrdom” and U.S.-led operations against terror cells in Africa via his Twitter account, “abu m.”
The 102 users who follow the virtual Hammami, who is also known as Abu Mansoor al-Amriki, have access to an ongoing stream of unfiltered radical thoughts and possible tips about clandestine U.S. operations taking place in Somalia, where al-Shabaab is based.
Hammami’s purported social media presence has raised red flags among terrorism experts who cite both YouTube and Twitter for promoting such radical figures.
“It’s pretty outrageous that someone on the FBI’s most wanted list can communicate on a Twitter page and a YouTube account and no one has removed it,” said Steven Salinsky, executive director of the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
Twitter spokesman Jim Prosser told the Washington Free Beacon that the organization does not “comment on individual accounts for privacy and security reasons.”
He also cautioned “against reporting an account’s ownership with such certainty unless you’ve independently verified it with the supposed owner themselves or they have a Verified account,” meaning that Twitter has confirmed the user’s identity.
Critics of the social media sites said that even if the account in not operated by Hammami, the sites should proactively take steps to remove users who post terror-related material.
“If you look at the words, it’s singular voice of ‘I’ when referring to questions and he has a long history of being on these jihadi forums,” Salinsky said. “He definitely communicates and even if it’s not him, it’s pretending to be a terrorist. So are they afraid to remove the page of someone who says they’re a terrorist, who a few months ago was put on the FBI most wanted list?
“It says a lot about a company when they will close a user account for violating some vague notion of political correctness or criticizing the excesses of militant Islamism, but will open their floodgates to calls for genocide and incitement to mass murder,” said Michael Rubin, a former Pentagon adviser who has written extensively on terrorists.
The Twitter user claiming to be Hammami routinely engages with a wide variety of Twitter users who reach out to him for insights or advice about al-Shabaab and its terrorist activities. He was placed on the FBI’s most wanted list in mid-November.
Al-Shabaab also has an official and highly active Twitter account.
As of Friday afternoon Hammami’s supposed account was still active, with his last tweet being sent out on Monday.
Twitter has long treaded a fine line between free speech and the promotion of terror-related activities.
Read more at Free Beacon
- Alabama: Muslim Student Association Alum Tops FBI ‘Most Wanted Terrorists’ List (creepingsharia.wordpress.com)
- Shabaab rebukes American commander Omar Hammami (longwarjournal.org)