FANATICS who use the internet as a platform for militant Scrabulism will be hunted down like wild pigs, the Home Office said last night.
Home secretary Jacqui Smith said the government would no longer tolerate this 'twisted interpretation of one of the world's great word games'.
Militant Scrabulism, characterised by its passionate hatred of Western values and harsh treatment of women, is finding hundreds of ready followers, many of them disillusioned young men, brought up on Boggle and Yahtzee.
Scrabulous martyrs are promised 72 heavenly virgins, each of whom conceals a triple word score beneath her flimsy garments.
Scrabulism traces its roots to the fourth century AD, when men would play 'Scra-bel' using a large flat stone and a sack full of small flat stones.
'Scrabble', as it become known, remained unchanged for centuries until the development of a travel version in 1962.
Professor Denys Hatton, of the Institute for Studies, said: "When Scra-bel became mobile, it sent shock waves through Western civilisation that resonate to this day."
Those early fanatics, radicalised by Travel Scrabble and later Countdown, have now given way to a new generation of extremists who use the internet to spread their message of hate.
But Professor Hatton warned against stigmatising the whole Scrabulous community, adding: "There are many liberal, tolerant Scrabulists who are very comfortable with words such as 'cock', 'piss' and 'fanny'."
He added: "There are even a few Scrabulous communities who still stage an annual festival based on the word 'quim'."