2:00 a.m. Sep. 15, 2001 PDT
TORONTO, Canada -- The Jewish group B'nai Brith Canada is calling for stricter regulation of hate-related material on the Internet following Tuesday's terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.
The executive vice president of B'nai Brith Canada, Frank Dimant, alerted the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) in late August about a posting on a website that originated out of Montreal and invited people to join Afghani terrorist camps linked to Osama bin Laden, according to B'nai Brith Canada.
Now, especially after media reports have suggested that Montreal and Halifax may have been meeting points for a number of the terrorists involved in the attack, B'nai Brith Canada is stepping up its efforts to get legislation passed to ban such Web activity.
"It was a timely alert, wasn't it," said Dimant on Friday, although he stopped short of making a definitive link between the Web posting on islamway.com and Tuesday's attacks. "It's too early and too difficult for us to say that."
Spokespeople from the RCMP and the CSIS declined to comment, saying they would not speak about investigations in process.
However, last year the CSIS issued a report in which it warned that "computers, modems and the Internet are enhancing the operational capabilities of terrorist organizations."
The report cautioned, "Terrorists have improved their use of advanced technologies to protect and expedite lines of communication and funding, both nationally and internationally; this has increased the chances that planning for the next terrorist attack may not be detected."
The posting titled "An invitation to Jihad" on islamway.com's message board told Web surfers "the mujahid brothers will welcome you with open arms and within a period of two weeks you will be given commando training and sent to the front line."
Dimant said: "I think post-World Trade Center, there will be a much greater effort now to monitor effectively the Internet, so that these kinds of things will no longer be allowed. We have cautioned for many years (about) the kind of hate dissemination that has taken place on the Internet."
No one answered the phones at islamway.com's offices in Montreal or Ann Arbor, Michigan. But a notice on the website said the posting was one of over 28,000 on its discussion boards, with more than 34,000 visitors daily and over 4,000 active members.
"Islamway is in no way responsible for the content of postings by private individuals, any more than CNN.com or Yahoo are responsible for the postings found on the discussion boards on their sites," the notice said.
Dimant said that in "in light of the World Trade Center, they would certainly reflect differently today with a frivolous remark that it was just like a Yahoo posting.
"Recruiting for training with the mujahid, the suicide bombers, is almost what happened in the United States. I don't think it should be treated with any sense of levity."
A message at the Islamic Assembly of North America's website, the governing organization of islamway.com, expressed concern that the September 11 acts would lead to further persecution of Muslims.
"Now we fear that our Muslim communities in the U.S. might experience harassment that could exceed what happened during the Oklahoma (bombing) incident."
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