Alongside military jihad on various battlefields, Islamist organizations are engaged in another type of warfare: jihad on the media front. The media is viewed by Islamist organizations both as an important battlefield and as an effective tool, and they consequently make extensive use of it.
The media platform favored by the Islamist organizations is the Internet, which they prefer for several reasons: firstly, for the anonymity it allows – anyone can enter and post to a site without divulging personal information; secondly, due to the medium’s availability and low cost – all that is required is a PC and an Internet connection; and thirdly, due to the ability to distribute material to a great number of people over a wide geographic area in a matter of seconds.
The organizations use the Internet mainly for propaganda and indoctrination, but also for operational military needs.
This paper will discuss the distinguishing characteristics of the websites of Islamist organizations and their supporters; the various online activities through which terrorist organizations assist the mujahideen on the ground, both militarily and, especially, with propaganda; and the Internet polemics that these organizations conduct vis-à-vis their enemies.