Islamabad (Agenzia Fides) – Social networking sites like "Facebook" and "Twitter" are fertile ground where radical Islamic groups roam freely, looking for new friends and recruiting new members. This is what is happening in Pakistan, where militants are increasing their influence in society, especially among the elite, thanks to new information technology tools. Fides received information on the situation from local organizations involved in defending human rights and religious minorities.
“Organizations declared illegal for acts of terrorism they have committed are regularly posting information on social networking sites, inciting hatred and violence against the West and against Christians,” Fides was told by Rizwan Paul, President of the Christian NGO “Life for All.” They are the "new preachers" who are not in mosques but on the web, where "there is no censorship and where they enjoy a 'freedom' that they cannot have in real life," he says. "On the social networks, the groups banned by the authorities have easily found a good audience and an effective means to advance their agenda," said Rizwan Paul, calling for a comprehensive monitoring and intervention of the authorities to stop this flow of hatred and fundamentalism.
Fides sources in Pakistan also note that on Facebook, there are pages operated by Islamic militant groups such as "Sipah Sahaba" and "Jamaat-ud-Dawa,” declared illegal for their terrorist activities. There are also pages that honor the figures of missing militant leaders such as Abdul Rashid Ghazi. A recent post on Twitter – sources say – posted by the illegal organization "Hizb-ut-Tahir," asked all the Muslims of Pakistan to stop supplying logistical support to NATO coalition troops fighting in Afghanistan against the Taliban. "Through the pages on social networks, as well as through SMS messages, they are gaining popularity and spreading propaganda," the sources of Fides note with concern. One of the best-known in this area is Anwar al A-Awlaki, a Muslim leader with dual citizenship, American and Yemeni, known as the "Bin Laden of Internet," who continues to make a name for himself on YouTube and social networks. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 29/09/2010)