The Taleban is not the only group that was disturbed by United States President George W. Bush's call to arms that was broadcast repeatedly last week. Hundreds of thousands of people from around the world have turned to the Internet to urge President Bush and other world leaders to avoid war as a response to the recent terrorist attacks. A petition for peace at www.9-11peace.org had logged more than 621,000 signatures by early this week, including two Nobel Peace laureates. The founder of 9-11peace.org, named after the date that saw hijacked planes tear asunder the World Trade Centre and part of the Pentagon, is Web developer Eli Pariser. He was sitting in his office in Massachusetts when he first heard of the disaster. 'As the morning unfolded, I was increasingly horrified, and as my horror turned to sorrow I began to worry that in the name of these people, other innocent civilians would be killed,' Mr Pariser said. He quickly created a simple form that allowed people to e-mail their senators. David Pickering wrote the petition. 'I witnessed the collapse of the towers from an elevated subway platform in Brooklyn. I was horrified and immediately fearful of what the United States might do in retaliation for such a grave offence. It was this fear of an American reaction of even greater proportions that led me to write the petition,' he said. Mr Pariser approached him and proposed a collaboration which turned into the 9-11 Web site. One week after the World Trade Centre disaster, that site was receiving a seventh of the traffic of popular search engine AltaVista, Mr Pariser said. The petition already has been forwarded to President Bush, Nato Secretary-General Lord Robertson, European Commission President Romano Prodi and other world leaders. The petition implores world leaders to use, wherever possible, international judicial institutions and international human rights law to bring to justice those responsible for the attacks, rather than the instruments of war, violence or destruction. It also demands that innocent civilians be guaranteed safety and immunity from military or judicial action taken against the state in which they reside. Mr Pariser was deeply worried by President Bush's address last Friday from Capitol Hill, which seemed to indicate that the US was in for a long ground war that would kill many innocent civilians. But Mr Pariser has found comfort from the response the petition has drawn, including one from a woman in China whose father was in the World Trade Centre at the time of the attack. She rose above her fury and disgust at those responsible to conclude that violent retaliation could cause only more suffering. While there had been some negative responses, they had been outnumbered by messages of thanks by a 3:1 ratio or more, Mr Pariser said. Many of the signers quoted Mahatma Gandhi: 'An eye for an eye leaves everyone blind.' Another petition portal, www.thepetitionsite.com , has spawned more than a dozen similar sites urging a peaceful response to the terrorism. Seven of the portal's top 10 sites fall into this category, including the top-ranked, Call for Peace and Justice! (194,738 signatures), and number four, Beyond Retaliation: A Call for Non-Violence (5,318 signatures). As one signee wrote: 'I don't want anyone to start another war, and if this may help, I'll support it.' Children, too, can let their feelings be known by signing an online condolence book at The Children's Parliament of the World ( www.childrensstate.net/condolence.html ). Those who believe actions speak louder than words can visit www.libertyunites.org , a site that President Bush mentioned in his speech. Six Internet leaders - eBay, Cisco, Amazon, Yahoo!, AOL Time Warner and Microsoft - have created the American Liberty Partnership, where people can support more than 40 of the nation's overwhelmed rescue and relief organisations. It also offers a comprehensive list of ways that people can help, including donating blood, counselling victims and e-mailing politicians with views on how the US should react to the terrorist attacks. It provides a convenient link to congress.org for a list of representatives' e-mail addresses. Money talks, too. By last Friday, donors had contributed more than US$91 million through the Liberty site.