It's been almost a year since a failure of truly epic proportions brought down the most significant websites of the global jihad, on or about 10 September, 2008. A year before that failure, the same sites were the target of a citizen-based effort to drive them off of the Internet. This 2007 campaign against the jihadi forums had the effect of encouraging the creation of a number of new sites, while other forums (e.g. al-Hanein) loosened their membership requirements. The net result was that the events of 2008 found the web of jihadi sites more resilient in the face of calamity than they might otherwise have been. Here now is my current list of the Top Ten such sites. In this case I have ranked them roughly according to their significance, but the ordering is still somewhat arbitrary: The most active sites are not necessarily the most significant in terms of content, the sites with the most members may have a great many inactive members still on the rolls, the older sites may not be entirely jihadist in nature, and so on.
01. al-Faloja (al-faloja.info)
Not the oldest of the sites here, nor the busiest, but it has the most jihadi street cred. Don't let the name fool you - it's about more than just Iraq.
02. al-Medad (almedad.com)
A site with a contentious admin who has been accused - wrongly I think - of being an agent of some secret service. Previously had a relationship with the reportedly deceased Sheikh Hakaymah and the pro-AQ branch of Egyptian Islamic Jihad.
03. al-Shouaraa (al-shouraa.com)
Began life as elshouraa.ws, was knocked offline for a time, and re-emerged with a new name or two or three or four. Has a certain North African flavor.
04. Ana al-Muslm (muslm.net)
The granddaddy of all Salafi forums, and much more salafi than jihadi, nevertheless it's of significance. Among other things, it *was* used by AQ Central when they needed a meeting place to talk with Zarqawi, back in the day.
05. al-Ma'ark (m3ark.com)
This forum has been building a following slowly and steadily for a couple of years. If you're not a member, you should be.
06. al-Shamukh (shmo5alislam.net)
Successor site to the forum called al-Mohajrun (no relation to the UK organization al-Mohajiroun). Quality stuff - more than just the usual boiler-plate AQ content.
07. as-Ansar (as-ansar.com)
Has it's roots in a previous generation of forums, and features English and German spinoffs that are by invitation only. The latter (ansarnet.info and de.ansar1.net) are favorites among the self-radicalizing, Western jihadis.
08. al-Mujahideen (majahden.com)
Looks to be the project of a Palestinian kid, with a strong contingent of Hamas supporters, but an overall global jihad perspective.
09. al-Hanein (hanein.info)
Features significant amounts of jihadi content, but suffers from a certain amount of not-Islamicly-correct nationalism of various sorts (e.g. Iraqi, Egyptian, Morroccan "patriots")
10. at-Tahaddi (atahadi.com)
It came highly recommended - and I was having a hard time finding a tenth site for this list.
© 2003-2011 society for internet research