For immediate release | Monday, November 2, 2020

Extremist Content Online: ISIS Supporters Celebrate Terror Attack In France on RocketChat Communications App

Press Contact:

Media at CEP

(New York, N.Y.) – The Counter Extremism Project (CEP) reports weekly on the methods used by extremists to exploit the Internet and social media platforms to recruit followers and incite violence. Last week, ISIS supporters on RocketChat celebrated the murder of three people in a church in the French city of Nice by a man identified by French law enforcement as Brahim Aioussaoi, and shared photos of Aioussaoi and a video allegedly showing emergency personnel recovering a body. In addition, CEP researchers located a post on a pro-ISIS channel on RocketChat that called for the group’s supporters to renew their bay’ah (pledge of allegiance) to ISIS leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Quraishi. Also, CEP researchers located two identical pro-ISIS websites with WordPress URLs that contained Amaq News reports and propaganda photos, including those showing executions.

Meanwhile, white supremacists on Telegram, Gab, and 8chan successor imageboards celebrated the second anniversary of the murder of eleven people at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue and praised the shooter, Robert Bowers, posting screenshots from his now removed Gab social media account. Also, several white supremacist Telegram channels that have previously called for violence shared information on the 3D printing of firearms. Finally, several white supremacist Telegram channels posted about the 2020 U.S. election, including one prolific white supremacist Telegram channel with approximately 5,000 subscribers advised its audience to be quiet and cautious on Election Day, warning that law enforcement was aware of white supremacist terrorist threats and that individuals should be extra careful.

ISIS Supporters Celebrate Nice, France Attack on RocketChat

On October 29, ISIS supporters on RocketChat celebrated the murder of three people in a church in the southern French city of Nice by a man identified by French law enforcement as Brahim Aioussaoi. Aioussaoi is alleged to have used a knife and attempted to behead one of the victims. French President Emmanuel Macron stated that the murders were an “Islamist terrorist attack.” French law enforcement apprehended Aioussaoi after shooting him. The attack occurred approximately two weeks after the murder of French schoolteacher Samuel Paty by Abdoulakh Anzorov, who was allegedly incensed by Paty showing his students caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.

ISIS supporters on RocketChat praised the attack and shared photos of Aioussaoi and a video allegedly from the aftermath of the assault showing emergency personnel recovering a body. There is no indication that the attacker claimed allegiance to ISIS. The group’s supporters have a history of celebrating terrorist acts that fit their ideology or could potentially have been committed by an ISIS supporter.

ISIS supporters sharing video alleged to be from the aftermath of the October 29 Nice attack on RocketChat

Pro-ISIS RocketChat Channel Calls for ISIS Supporters to Renew Allegiance to ISIS

CEP researchers located a post (made initially on October 23) on a pro-ISIS channel on RocketChat called for the group’s supporters to renew their bay’ah (pledge of allegiance) to ISIS leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Quraishi. The channel stated that video or audio pledges would be published on a Telegram and RocketChat channel, likely to show the group’s strength. The oath of allegiance includes a statement to follow the rulings of ISIS’s leader. Audio or video of pledges will likely be used in future propaganda.

Two Pro-ISIS Websites Found on WordPress

CEP researchers located two identical pro-ISIS websites with WordPress URLs. Both websites contained Amaq News reports and propaganda photos, including those showing executions. The websites also had embedded violent ISIS propaganda videos and audio statements from ISIS leadership.

Neo-Nazis and White Supremacists Celebrate Second Anniversary of Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting

On October 27, white supremacists on Telegram, Gab, and 8chan successor imageboards celebrated the second anniversary of the murder of eleven people at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue. Several Telegram channels praised the shooter, Robert Bowers, and posted screenshots from his now removed Gab social media account, spread propaganda glorifying him, and calling for additional violence against Jews. Users on Gab and an 8chan successor imageboard also praised Bowers and called for anti-Semitic violence.

White Supremacist Telegram Channels Spread Information on 3D Printing of Firearms

The week of October 24 to October 31, several white supremacist Telegram channels that have previously called for violence shared information on the 3D printing of firearms. The same channels have previously posted links to instructions for making 3D firearms. Homemade firearms production, either using partially milled lower receivers or 3D printed components, can allow individuals to get around local or national firearms restrictions or background checks and allows for the existence of unregistered firearms. There is no evidence that the creators of the websites that offer 3D printing firearms plans are white supremacists. However, their content is frequently shared by extremists who encourage acts of violence.

Three men were arrested in mid-October, for “manufacturing and selling hard to obtain firearms and firearm parts in a manner that the ‘government would not know’ the purchasers had them.” According to ABC News, the three had ties to a white supremacist group and were being investigated for possibly creating a hit list. One of the men was recently discharged from the U.S. Marine Corps after he was exposed as a white supremacist.

Prolific White Supremacist Telegram Channels Advise Members to Keep Quiet on Election Day

Several white supremacist Telegram channels have also posted regarding the 2020 U.S. presidential election on November 3. On October 28, a prolific white supremacist Telegram channel with approximately 5,000 subscribers advised its audience to be quiet and cautious on election day. The channel also warned that law enforcement was aware of white supremacist terrorist threats and that individuals should be extra careful. The channel has previously spoken out against the formation of large groups. Several white supremacist accelerationist channels reminded their followers that “there is no political solution,” and that no matter who Americans elect, that their interests would not be respected. Numerous channels alleged that both the Democrats and Republicans are secretly controlled by Jews, while a white supremacist accelerationist channel with over 5,000 subscribers claimed that Democrats would steal the election through voter fraud. A prominent white supremacist channel with over 5,200 members urged their followers to prepare for a dark winter by stockpiling food, clothing, and ammunition, and stated that it was acceptable to steal supplies from others.