YouTube deletes footage inciting violence

HUNDREDS of videos inciting violence, including some linked to the suspected al-Qaida mastermind of the cargo plane terror plot, were removed from YouTube yesterday.

The clips by Anwar al-Awlaki, a high-profile member of the terror group thought to be behind the cargo bomb plot, were deleted from the video sharing site and more were being examined today.

The videos were highlighted after a student in Britain tried to murder a Labour MP after being inspired by clips from the radical cleric.

Roshonara Choudhry, 21, stabbed Stephen Timms twice in the stomach after watching the US-born extremist’s online jihadi sermons and was jailed for life with a minimum term of 15 years.

The removal of the videos follows a private speech in the US by British security minister Baroness Neville-Jones, reported in The Times, in which she called on the White House to “take down this hateful material” in cases where servers were based in the US.

“When you have incitement to murder, when you have people actively calling for the killing of their fellow citizens and when you have the means to stop that person doing so, then I believe we should act,” she said.

“Those websites would categorically not be allowed in the UK. They incite cold-blooded murder and as such are surely contrary to the public good.”

In one sermon, 44 Ways to Support Jihad, al-Awlaki told followers: “Jihad today is obligatory on every capable Muslim.”

A YouTube spokesman said: “YouTube has community guidelines that prohibit dangerous or illegal activities such as bomb-making, hate speech, or incitement to commit specific and serious acts of violence.

“We also remove all videos and terminate any account registered by a member of a designated Foreign Terrorist Organisation (FTO) and used in an official capacity to further the interests of the FTO.

“We have removed a significant number of videos under these policies. We’re now looking into the new videos that have been raised with us and will remove all those which break our rules.”

Last week, US Congressman Anthony Weiner told the New York Daily News he wanted YouTube to pull down more than 700 clips of al-Awlaki.

“There is no reason we should give killers like al-Awlaki access to one of the world’s largest bully pulpits so they can inspire more violent acts within our borders, or anywhere else in the world.”

It is understood YouTube has asked for Weiner’s list of sites as part of its investigation.

A Home Office spokesman said: “We are determined to tackle extremism and always press for the removal of jihadist material on the internet.

“Where sites are hosted abroad our ability to close them down is limited. Nevertheless, we work with our overseas counterparts to encourage them to remove them.”

More in this section

IE_logo_newsletters

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox