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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Oops, My Facebook Friend Just Joined AQ

Some Facebook friends of Al Qaeda member Cabdulaahi Faarax (click for larger image)

Cabdulaahi Ahmed Faarax has a lot of friends on Facebook. More than 400 in fact. So what will those friends -- many of whom live in the United States -- do now that Al Shabab, the Somali militant organization to which Faarax belongs -- has officially merged with Al Qaeda?

It's not like they shouldn't have known already. Al Shabab is, after all, a designated terrorist entity and dozens of Americans have been indicted for various activities on Shabab's behalf. And the organization's leaders already publicly swore allegiance to Osama bin Laden and after him, Ayman Al Zawahiri.

But for all that the brand name has suffered, there is still something special about being a member of "Al Qaeda." And thus, something special about being Facebook friends with an official, no-bones-about-it Al Qaeda member.

Especially if you are, say, one of Faarax's 47 friends living in Minneapolis who list their schools or employers on their Facebook pages, names like Wells Fargo Insurance, IBI Carrier LLC,, Hennepin County Library, HTI Co., Sheridan College, Country Financial, Manchester Unlimited, Normandale Community College, St. Mary's University, Minnesota State, Edison Senior High School, or Roosevelt Senior High School.

And those are just in Minneapolis.

If employers are scouring Facebook pages for pictures of employees doing beer bongs during long-ago college days, it makes you wonder what they would think of an employee who is friends with an Al Qaeda member.

Not to mention companies -- like Facebook and Twitter -- that are currently providing a platform for these newly minted Al Qaeda members. Time to do some weeding, folks.

For more about American jihadists, check out J.M. Berger's new book, Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam, on sale everywhere.

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INTELWIRE is a web site edited by J.M. Berger. a researcher, analyst and consultant covering extremism, with a special focus on extremist activities in the U.S. and extremist use of social media. He is a non-resident fellow with the Brookings Institution, Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World, and author of the critically acclaimed Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam, the only definitive history of the U.S. jihadist movement, and co-author of ISIS: The State of Terror with Jessica Stern.


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