An Online "University" for JihadIn an interesting new development, the al-Qaeda network is making strides to present itself as a permanent cultural—as well as military—phenomenon. An October 7 posting on the al-Farouq jihadi forum (www.al-farouq.com) by Ahmad al-Wathiq bi-Llah, the "deputy general emir" of the Global Islamic Media Front, announced what it referred to as an "al-Qaeda University of Jihad Studies." The accompanying statement explained that "al-Qaeda is an organization, a state and a university, this is a fact which cannot be denied." Readers, it noted, might be amused by the headline, but the writer simply refers them to the experience of al-Qaeda's origins in Afghanistan: "it began with the Bureau of Services, the Bait al-Ansar and the al-Farouq Training Camp… until it reached the present stage."
The author then reflects on al-Qaeda's achievements made on the Internet, "Since the events of the USS Cole and Manhattan, hundreds of Muslims from all corners of the world have joined this global jihadist university, studying all the sciences, rules and methods of jihad." The method of enrollment may differ, as indeed the methods of instruction and application of training, "but it is a tangible reality for the enemies of the Nation and the Faith; a de-centralized university without geographical borders, present in every place."
The author also points to a phenomenon much under-appreciated by Western observers: that the "affiliation" to jihad and its aims is more than a matter of military training, but involves just as much intensive ideological and morale training. "Graduates" of the university, he explains, are specialists in "electronic jihad, media jihad, spiritual and financial jihad," passing through the "faculties" dedicated to both morale and explosive package technology and exploding cars and trucks." He warns that these graduates of al-Qaeda University are still learning, but "shall wreak slaughter upon the enemy in the coming days" and closes with a call for more students in the cause of striving for the Caliphate (www.al-farouq.com).