On May 4, Asad al-Jihad2, a popular “Internet Shaykh” posted what was described as a referendum poll with five questions. One should be reminded that this is not a scientific poll and there is a possibility that peer pressure led some to answer certain questions a certain way since it was an open and not closed poll. Therefore, it may not be completely representative of what all grassroots online jihadi activists believe. With that caveat, it still provides some insight, which would be worthwhile to share. As such, below I translated into English the questions and the results as of May 6, 2011 (once the al-Qaeda statement was released the referendum was closed).
1. Do you think it is correct that the power of al-Qaeda will decline with the “martyrdom” of Usamah bin Laden?
Yes: 0; No: 48
2. If the news is true of the martyrdom of the Father Shaykh Usamah bin Laden; Do you expect attacks to stop inside or outside the United States or increase?
Yes, increase: 47; No: 1
3. Do you believe that the Pakistani government was involved in the operation?
Yes: 43; No: 5
4. Do you think the United States will take this event as a moral victory back to its people and the world to withdraw from Afghanistan, instead of declaring defeat at the hands of the Taliban and al-Qaeda, which grows in strength?
Yes: 38; No: 10
5. Do you wish for your children to be like Usamah bin Laden?
Yes: 48; No 0
From the above results one can surmise the following conclusions about how online jihadi grassroots activists felt prior to al-Qaeda confirming the death of Bin Laden:
- al-Qaeda will continue to be a strong organization that will be able to conduct increasingly more attacks against the United States.
- The Pakistani government was involved with the operation to kill Bin Laden
- The United States will use the death of Bin Laden as an excuse to claim victory and withdraw from Afghanistan even though the Taliban and al-Qaeda have defeated United States.
- They all hope that their children grow up to be like Usamah bin Laden
Some of the individuals expanded upon their answers with more detail. Currently, I am too busy to delve deeply into it, but I hope to use it in an expanded article that systematically looks at the grassroots’, Internet Shaykhs’, and jihadi organizations’ responses to the death of Bin Laden pre and post-AQ’s statement.