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Members of Islamist Chat Room Debate U.S. Elections

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Members of militant Islamist Internet forums and chat rooms have been actively discussing the U.S. presidential race today. The feeling amongst supporters of al Qaeda and other militant groups seems to corresponds with the message of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden four years ago, during his surprise video right before the 2004 presidential elections: It doesn't matter who wins.

What forum members are focused on is celebrating the end of the President George W. Bush's term. One member who used the name "Al Helal al Qadem" on Al Hesbah forum said that only a few hours separated the militants from celebrating the end of the Bush era and their victory in Iraq . He predicted that Obama would win, but added that it doesn't really matter who becomes president as long as the days of President Bush are over.

Another member who goes by the name "The Lion of Jihad 2" wrote a 19-page novel called "The U.S. Elections' Play and The Thick Legs," in which he described the Bush era as one where politics were being ruled and steered by the big business tycoons. He imagined this era as a play where the current actors will now be replaced by new ones, but assured that this would not affect the original script, which he expected to end with the victory of Bin laden and the militants.

Meanwhile, there was a debate over who is expected to win in the Paltalk chat room of "The Supporters of Al Mujahideen," with some assuring that the Republican nominee John McCain would win, while others expected the Democratic nominee Barack Obama to become president. One member, who predicted a McCain victory, said it was because "American people are 'racists' and would never elect a non-white president." Those who predicted Obama would win, thought the Republican Party made too many mistakes. One participant envisioned a scenario whereby "Obama would be elected, but assassinated very shortly afterwards...unless the mujaheddin strike in America now, and in that case, McCain will pull it off."

There's been ongoing guessing amongst members of militant Islamist forums about al Qaeda's stance and regarding the U.S. elections whether the terrorist organization would favour one candidate over another. In 2004, days before the U.S. elections, Bin Laden issued his first video in more than a year and talked about the elections. "Your security is not in the hands of Kerry or Bush or al Qaeda. Your security is in your own hands and each state which does not harm our security will remain safe," he had said.

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