In an Internet age, Al Qaeda prizes geek jihadis as much as would-be suicide bombers and gunmen. The terror network is recruiting computer-savvy technicians to produce sophisticated web documentaries and multimedia products aimed at Muslim audiences in the US, Britain and other Western countries.
Already, the terror movement’s al-Sahab production company is turning out high quality material, some of which rivals productions by Western media companies. The documentaries appear regularly on Islamic websites, which Al Qaeda uses to recruit followers and rally its supporters.
That requires people whose skills go beyond planting bombs and ambushing American patrols in Iraq and Afghanistan. “The Al Qaeda men who are coming today are not farmers, illiterate people,” said Qari Mohammed Yusuf, an Afghan and self-declared al-Sahab cameraman. “They are PhDs, professors who know about this technology. Day by day they are coming. Al Qaeda has asked them to come.”
It was impossible to verify Yusuf’s claim, although a former police chief in Yusuf’s home province of Kunduz verified his links to Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Yusuf’s information has proven reliable in the past.