Three years ago today, in a climate-controlled vault sealed with three feet of concrete, located somewhere in the vicinity of the Jefferson Memorial and the Golden Gate Bridge and accessible only by helicopter and bungee rope, I began Jihad Watch. I hoped to raise general awareness of the nature of the jihad ideology, the activities of jihadists around the world, and the ways in which both of these were being obscured by academic apologists and the mainstream media.
It has been a tumultuous three years. The site has grown considerably, such that we now average over 30,000 unique visitors daily, and about 600,000 to a million hits each day. (“Hits,” as far as I understand it, refers to files viewed. If you look at the front page, it’s a hit. If you open an article, it’s a hit. If you go back to the front page and open up another article, that’s two more hits. Hits also multiply if picture files are involved. There are about 20 to 30, or more, hits per person. Some have charged that by noting that we receive about 30 million hits per month, we are claiming 30 million different visitors. That is not in fact the case.)
Largely, I believe, because this site has captured attention, I have spoken about the jihad ideology on the BBC, the VOA, numerous other radio and television outlets, and to audiences all over this country, as well as in Europe and Israel. I’ve spoken at a workshop sponsored by the U.S. State Department and the German Foreign Ministry, given presentations to U.S. Central Command and to a Joint Terrorism Task Force group, and also addressed influential fora that I am not at liberty to name. I’ve given information on jihadist activity to media outlets on which (or in which, as the case may be) I’ve never appeared personally, including ABC News, the Washington Post, and the O’Reilly Factor. And I’ve written two books that made the New York Times Bestseller List. All this is personally gratifying, but it is all much more important as an indication that, increasingly, word is getting out. The truth is getting out.
Much of this I attribute to this site. Hugh Fitzgerald and I, with immense help from Marisol Seibold and others over the last three years, have endeavored to present the facts, no matter how politically incorrect and uncomfortable those facts may be. Although there is the expected drumbeat of calumnies and falsehoods about what we stand for and what we are doing, we have also seen that many people of good will have come to respect this site as a trustworthy and reliable source of information and commentary. We offer rational analysis, while those who tell others to slit the throats of their children lecture us about spreading “hate.”
Of course, the fog of misinformation and propaganda still blankets the West and largely strangles public discourse about the nature of the jihad threat and what can be done about it. And for that reason, Year Four of The Jihad Watch Era hereby begins.