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Al-Qaeda women use websites to entice youth

Saudi ministry sources say al-Qaeda had started a new “invasion,” led by female members targeting websites and forums

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Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Islamic Affairs’ dialogue initiative called “Assakina” has found that female al-Qaeda members are using websites to recruit young people, al-Hayat daily reported on Wednesday.

Their aim is to target young men and women who surf websites, particularly sports and music sites.

Sources at the Assakina campaign confirmed that al-Qaeda had started a new “invasion,” led by second-generation women members, targeting websites and forums.

The aim is to attract a largest number of people in an organized and covert manner, the sources said, adding that these women came to prominence after the first generation dispersed as a result of death, escape or arrest. The sources said they operate from within Saudi Arabia and abroad.

They hinted that female activists in the kingdom who have been campaigning online have decreased, but they still lead various campaigns that aim to recruit new followers and publish articles, statements and films to promote the organization.

Their method is to individually participate on many websites and forums and interact with people.

The sources claimed these women avoid dialogue and discussions that could embarrass their organization or expose its weaknesses, especially since Assakina has achieved much success in engaging them with peaceful discussion.

The sources said that an article, written and posted on al-Qaeda websites by one of these women, reiterates the determination of al-Qaeda supporters to go ahead to achieve their goals.

Rabeebah al-Selah is the nickname of these women used on many al-Qaeda sites.

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on March 20, 2014.