Face of Jihad Ever More Youthful

Teens as young as 15 turn to web to connect with extremists
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 28, 2007 3:03 PM CST
Pakistani masked Islamic students carry spears and bamboo stick as they guard outside Red Mosque in Islamabad, 27 June 2007. (AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images)   (Getty Images)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – They’re young, impressionable, disillusioned, and they’re seeking out al-Qaeda: Muslims as young as 15 are connecting with Islamic extremists over the web and becoming radicalized through jihadist videos and literature, the Christian Science Monitor reports. In Morocco and elsewhere, teenagers reinforce an increasingly decentralized al-Qaeda. They have “no clear links to terrorist groups,” said one anti-terrorism official.

“It makes it that much harder for us to identify them,” the official said. One security specialist said hundreds of sites promote global jihad, while another said of the enlistment process, “Bin Laden doesn't need to send recruiters to North Africa, they just come to him virtually.” Morocco says it’s working to improve housing conditions and rid the country of slums where extremism festers.