Of 125 Videos Of Al-Qaeda Commander Al-Zawahiri Flagged On YouTube By MEMRI, YouTube Keeps 57 Active
Jihadi Videos On YouTube
Over the past three years, and based on research by the MEMRI Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM) project, we have determined that YouTube has emerged as the leading website for online jihad. It has replaced – and surpassed – websites administered by jihadis themselves, which were previously the leaders in online jihadi efforts. During this time, we have offered our assistance to YouTube in identifying videos that incite violence and terrorist acts for possible removal.
The most recent example of this is a video of Al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri, released on multiple YouTube pages on April 6, 2013, and also released simultaneously on jihadi websites. In the video, Al-Zawahiri calls upon viewers to “exert every effort to make [Syria] a jihad-fighting Islamic state” that will be a step towards “restoring the rightly-guided caliphate.” Addressing the Muslims in these countries, he urged them to support the mujahideen, and expressed his particular hope that the French forces in Mali would face the same difficulties as the U.S. faced in Iraq and Afghanistan. The video, as posted by user “arslan ifriki,” had almost 17,000 views on the first day; viewers were also given links to other users’ postings of the same video.
As documented by previous MEMRI reports, MEMRI met with Google Inc. and YouTube representatives to discuss the issue of jihadi videos. YouTube then committed to introducing a flagging system whereby users could flag videos to alert YouTube that they included content that “promotes terrorism.” Following the introduction of this system, MEMRI flagged jihadi YouTube videos of Osama bin Laden and 9/11-glorification videos, as well as videos by and of the late Yemeni-American Sheikh Anwar Al-Awlaki, the influential jihadi cleric and Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) leader. Of the former, 58 of 100 remained active even after MEMRI’s flagging; of the latter, 111 out of 127 remained active.
Not only has MEMRI identified YouTube as one of the main jihadi vehicles, but this subject is of great concern to counterterrorism experts worldwide. In the U.K., jihadi and terrorist videos on YouTube is so great a problem that it was the focus of a recent inquiry by the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee.
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