Jeremy Reynalds believes God will protect him from radical Islamists looking to make good on recent death threats
A Christian journalist has been .targeted for murder because of his role in tracking and dismantling a terrorist site that was taken off line just hours before the Iraqi elections.
Jeremy Reynalds, a contributor to Charisma magazine, is known for his work as the founder of Joy Junction (www.joyjunction.org), New Mexico’s largest emergency homeless shelter. But when he’s not ministering to the homeless, Reynalds says he “relaxes” by hunting Islamic terrorist Web sites.
Terrorist groups use these sites the bulk of which are hosted by American companies to issue messages, recruit followers and display the killing of hostages.
Reynalds began tracking such sites in 2002, when a friend told him about a terrorist site hosted by Everyone’s Internet, an American Internet service provider. “It was really sort of horrifying to me,” he said. “What grabbed me was that it was hosted in Houston.”
Reynalds said he contacts the service provider when he finds a terrorist site hosted by a U.S. company. If the host refuses to dismantle the site, he contacts the FBI.
His efforts led to the dismantling of the Al-Ansar Web site, which contained the death threat issued against Reynalds in February. A thread on the site blames him for the demise of another terrorist site, mawsuat.com.
The threat against Reynalds was made after he confronted the owner of the Al-Ansar site and wrote an article describing his role in shutting it down. Posts divulged Reynalds’ home address so that he might be “visited,” cell phone number and a request for further information on him.
A follow-up discussion included Reynalds’ picture and prayers to Allah that he should deliver Reynalds’ “fatty neck” reference to decapitation. Despite three calls from Charisma, Everyone’s Internet could not be reached for comment.
The site eventually moved to Host for Web, a Chicago-based provider that currently hosts more than 50,000 domains. “We don’t monitor our clients’ Web sites because it is technologically not possible,” said Host for Web President Alex Korneyev in an e-mail statement. “In our experience, outside parties were always quick to point out an illegal Web site. Of course, when we ourselves find something illegal hosted on our servers we immediately take it off line and notify the appropriate authorities.”
Korneyev said his company no longer hosts the Al-Ansar site.
American hosting of terrorist sites is “the rule, not the exception,” said Aaron Weisburd, owner of Internet Haganah (www.haganah.org), a Web site that describes itself as a “global open-source intelligence network dedicated to confronting Internet use by Islamist terrorist organizations, their supporters, enablers and apologists.”
“Of the close to 300 jihadist sites that we track, all but one or two are online thanks to the services of one American company or another,” Weisburd said in an e-mail interview.
“The Web sites of the global jihad are like the glue that holds the community of jihadists together,” Weisburd added. “That is why it is important to fight them, and that is why they respond with so much hostility when one does so. These are not just Web sites. They are a window into the dark souls of these people.”
After an undisclosed warning from the FBI, Reynalds said he is taking adequate precautions. “But I will not be intimidated by radical jihadi thugs,” he said.
FBI Special Agent Jeff Lanza said the government is monitoring terrorist sites, but he would not elaborate. “As part of our effort to prevent additional terrorist acts in this country, we do a broad range of things,” Lanza said. “It’s something that is certainly monitored, but at this point [we] are unwilling to talk on record about anything that [we’re] doing in that regard.”
Americans need to be aware, and they need to be involved, Reynalds said. “I really believe that unless all of us make some attempt to get more integrally involved in fighting the radical Islamic terrorists, it is ultimately going to overtake us.”
And by involvement, Reynalds means education, prayer and the monitoring of terrorist sites. What began as a simple hobby has become a passionate ministry, he said.
“I have hopefully given some comfort to those [terrorist victims’] families, hopefully at least drawn some attention to this,” Reynalds said. “The ultimate essence of what I’ve done will probably only be shown in heaven. If I thought the Lord was specifically directing me to not do it, I wouldn’t do it. All I can trust is…He will take care of me.”