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Australian Islamic preacher’s website among three more blocked by state ATS

Another was propagating Al-Qaeda ideology, third originated in island country of Nauru; total blocked sites 97 now

Written by Rashmi Rajput | Mumbai | Published: May 1, 2016 3:10:00 am

A website publishing preachings of influential Australian Islamic preacher Musa Cerantonio, another propagating the ideology of Al-Qaeda and the third originating from a tiny island country of Nauru are some of the prominent webpages blocked by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) recently. With these three new websites, the total number of sites blocked by ATS has increased to 97. a website whose domain is registered in Nauru, located in the North-east side of Australia has now been blocked by the state counter terrorism agency for propagating the ideology of the Islamic State (IS) or Daesh as it is now referred by the Western world. Nauru, formerly known as Pleasant Island, is an island country in Micronesia in the Central Pacific.

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“We have blocked the website as it propagated and tried to influence Indian youth into joining IS. It had some traffic from India because of which we blocked it,” said a senior ATS officer.

According to the officer, another link has also been blocked.

Cerantonio, 30, is an Australian Islamist preacher described by the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR) as one of two English-speaking “spiritual authorities” inspiring foreign fighters in Syria.

While his Twitter and Facebook accounts have been shut down, many of his videos continue to remain on YouTube.

He is currently staying under police surveillance in Australia where he was born and raised. Born Robert Cerantonio to an Irish-Catholic family, Cerantonio converted to Islam when he was 17.

The third link that has been blocked by the ATS is the 12th issue of Inspire Magazine, a mouthpiece of Al-Qaeda. has now been blocked.

“We try and look after issues of magazines belonging to terror outfits that not only propagate their ideologies but try and lure youth from foreign countries,” said the officer.

Magazine Dabiq, the mouthpiece of IS has also met the same fate.

“Dabiq is published using ‘deep web’ (invisible web which are part of the World Wide Web but their content are not indexed by standard search engines) so sometimes monitoring these websites gets difficult. However, we ensure that these issues are not accessed as they are highly radical in nature,” added the official.

In the past, the agency had suspended the Twitter handles suspected to have been operated by one of the four Kalyan youth who fled to Iraq in May 2014 to fight alongside the terrorist organisation the IS.

The four young men identified as Areeb Majid, Fahad Shaikh, Amaan Tandel and Saheem Tanki hail from Kalyan, a satellite town of Mumbai.

On May 25, they left along with 40 others by an Etihad flight to Baghdad on a pilgrimage.

On May 31, they called for a private taxi which dropped them at Mosul. Since then they went missing and were believed to have joined the militant group.

However, Majeed returned to India in November last year. Following which the National Investigating Agency (NIA) booked him and the other three under Section 125 of the IPC (waging war with an Asiatic ally) and certain sections (16, 18, 20) of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA)

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