October 31, 2012
With many Americans focused on hurricane relief and cleanup efforts, it’s easy to forget that the rest of the world is watching events unfold in the mid-Atlantic region in near-real time, too. This includes people who might wish ill on the United States. Al-Qaeda sympathizers’ online forums in recent days have taken a fascinating turn as posts about the storm and its effects on the United States proliferate. The rhetoric toward America is no less incendiary than usual, but the occasion provides an unusual chance to see how such places on the Internet often work. Twitter user @switch_ddrew my attention to some of what’s being said in these forums:
Curious, I reached out to @switch_d to investigate further, and he/she wrote back with a series of translated posts and some screenshots.
One post on Hanein, an established and well-known pro-Qaeda forum, had over 300 comments as of last night — unusual for most threads. Its title began, “Follow the news of devastating Hurricane Sandy that struck America,” and was created by a user going by the handle “Abu Hussein.” That thread is one of five other Sandy-related forum topics that were then active.