Friday, April 06, 2007

Islamist Internet Filtering: Part Two

Khaled Abu Toameh of the Jerusalem Post has an update on the wave of attacks against Internet cafes in the Gaza Strip:

Owners of Internet cafes in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday appealed to Palestinian Authority security forces to take tough measures to stop recurring attacks on their businesses.

The appeal was made after unidentified assailants detonated explosive charges inside an Internet cafe in the town of Jabalya in the northern Gaza Strip. No one was hurt in the pre-dawn attack, but the place was completely damaged, witnesses told The Jerusalem Post.

Wednesday's attack was the third of its kind in less than a week and the 48th in the past five months. In addition, a number of shops selling cassettes, DVDs and CDs have been targeted.

PA security sources said the attacks were the work of a radical Islamic group that began operating in the Gaza Strip last year. The group, which calls itself Swords of Islamic Righteousness, is believed to be an offshoot of al-Qaida.

Its members have also claimed responsibility for assaults on women whom they accused of being dressed immodestly.

A local source explains the motivation behind the attacks:

"The word on the street is that they belong to al-Qaida," he said. "They are trying to impose strict Islamic teachings; they want a Taliban-style regime in the Gaza Strip. For them, Hamas and Islamic Jihad are too moderate in their views."

As I noted in my first post on this topic, the bombings are part of an effort to deny Palestinians access to "immoral" music and web content. They reveal the totalitarian impulse and hatred of intellectual freedom that lie at the heart of the Islamist project.


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