by Chris Lundry
Indonesian Islamist extremist supporters ar Rahmah posted a story today (2-13) on their website and Facebook page about the hacker group Anonymous’ plans for a cyber-attack on Israel. The story (here) links to the Anonymous YouTube video announcing their plans.
While ar Rahmah undoubtedly supports the effort, the article quotes the video as a declaration of a “Crusade” (perang salib) against Israel. The Crusade narrative is the second most frequently invoked among Islamist extremists to describe western actions in Muslim lands, so it is somewhat surprising to see ar Rahmah’s emphasis of the term (although the Crusades targeted Jews as well as Muslims). The most frequently invoked narrative is Nakba (“catastrophe”), which refers to Palestine.
In this case, it appears that for ar Rahmah, the enemy of my enemy is my friend. In the video, Anonymous criticizes Israel for its perceived hypocrisy, claiming to be democratic while “carelessly trampling the liberties of the masses.” While Islamist extremists have no pretensions to support democracy – rule by anything other than clerically mandated sharia is forbidden in their eyes – they have no problems jumping on the criticism of Israel if that’s one of Anonymous’s points. Anonymous’ recent cyber-attacks on the CIA and state of Alabama likely bolsters ar Rahmah’s opinion of the group.
On Facebook, ar Rahmah’s posting of the story had 135 “likes,” 14 “shares,” and eight comments as of Monday afternoon (CST). This isn’t a lot of reaction to the story, but that’s understandable due to ar Rahmah’s limited appeal to Indonesian Muslims. The original YouTube video posted by Anonymous, however, has over 120,000 views and counting, and over 2000 likes and 1000 dislikes. I perused some of the over 7000 comments, and found most of them to be anti-Semitic and anti-Israel ranting, conspiracy theorizing, and some in defense of Israel or against the bigotry.
I suppose a common hatred of Israel and Jews makes for some strange bedfellows, and I shouldn’t find it surprising that groups such as ar Rahmah support this effort by Anonymous. I wonder, however, if and when Anonymous will turn its sights toward Islamist extremists, who have become increasingly sophisticated in their abilities to spread their agenda via the internet. Perhaps that’s just a matter of time.
The democratic argument is an interesting criticism. Is there any information that would assert that the anonymous group believes in democratic principles?
I think what they are trying to imply has more to do with the fact that they believe Israel is not abiding by the rules and ideals that it claims to stand for than the group itself standing for those ideals. As such, if this group says global Islam is the best form of governance for all people, and there is a group or government that says a different form, such as democracy, is better, yet that group is failing to meet the standards of democracy, then it is a very simple and logical reasoning that leads them to inform that group that its shortcomings will not be tolerated.
The problem with the Anonymous group’s statement is their tactic for overcoming their perceived shortcomings of Israel due to the potential punishment (sic. physical harm) that it could cause to individuals since they clearly seek no support from the international judicial system, especially considering the groups support from ra Rahmah.
Basically what I’m saying is this: I don’t think anonymous and ra Rahmah are strange bedmates, I think they’re two peas in a pod.
Thank you for your comment, Ms. Hubl. The question of Anonymous’ commitment to democratic principles is a good one. They certainly profess adherence to them, but their actions have spoken otherwise at times. Remember here that it is ar Rahmah that is praising Anonymous, and not the other way around. It is opportunistic on the part of ar Rahmah, but certainly not reciprocal on the part of Anonymous, which would likely cringe at ar Rahmah’s primary goal: ending all forms of human mandated government, and implementing sharia. That sharia is ultimately decided by a human (i.e. a Muslim cleric) does not seem to be understood as a contradiction among Islamists.
Thanks for the clarification Dr. Lundry.