Check out my new article at Foreign Policy’s AfPak Channel: “The bin Laden aftermath: The Internet jihadis react”
NOTE: The below piece was based on early reactions from the forums between the announcement and ~9AM Central Time in the US. I have continued to cull some newer quotes here. As the day has gone on, there is a lot more skepticism within the grassroots of the online jihādī movement and whether Bin Lāden is actually dead since the US has yet to release any hard proof as well as the fact that they allegedly put his body in the sea quickly. Therefore, many are still holding out to hear from the mujāhidīn instead of “kuffār” sources.
Following President Barack Obama’s announcement yesterday of the operation that killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, the latter’s online grassroots supporters in forums and blogs began quickly to respond. These pronouncements provide key insights into how these activists view Bin Laden as well as their continued commitment to the movement, showing a range of emotions but also the durability of the ideas that bin Laden worked so hard to propagate through propaganda and massive anti-civilian violence.
Below is a taste of the reactions from members of some of the major pro-jihadi forums, including the Ansar Arabic Forum, the English Islamic Awakening Forum, al-Jahad al-‘Alami Arabic Forum, and the Jamia Hafsa Urdu Forum (also in English). Many expressed shock at the news and did not want to believe that he had really been killed. A member of the Ansar Forum wrote, “How sound is the news of the martyrdom of Sheikh Osama bin Laden?” While another responded “O Allah, make this news not true.” Another quipped in a different post “God willing, [this] news is not true. Catastrophic if it is authentic.”
Click here to read the rest.