Osama bin Laden.
Wikipedia Commons

The view from jihadi Internet forums is fascinating these days as al Qaeda members and supporters react to the loss of their leader. Until al Qaeda officially confirmed Osama bin Laden’s death on Friday, confusion dominated the forums, with participants sharply divided between those who embraced the news and those who denied it.

The more stoic members were keen to ensure that their supporters did not lose heart. “We were not fighting for Osama,” Salmakh84 wrote on the Ansar forum. “We were fighting for Allah. The Jihad will continue even if the Amir [leader] is Shaheed [martyred]!!” Another user added: “Those who fought for shaykh usaamah know that shaykh usaamah has passed away, but those who fought for Allaah know that Allaah is alive and will never die.”

As forum members waited for al Qaeda to make a statement, one user pleaded, “Please be patient and put aside all

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  • SHIRAZ MAHER is a Senior Fellow at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR) at King’s College London, where he is writing an intellectual history of al Qaeda.
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