Conflict & Justice

Holiday reading for terrorists

The summer issue of Inspire promises fascinating reading for budding terrorists, brimming with information of victories on the battlefield and stories about martyrs.

Its cover story, ‘Sadness, Contentment, and Aspiration,’ focuses on Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s (AQAP) ongoing battles in Yemen.

“They obliterated the apostate army,” the article says about its soldiers, “took millions of dollars from them, and were able to obtain enormous heaps of ghanimah [booty].” The magazine’s sixth issue also claims AQAP has seized “everything from tanks, hummers, anti-aircraft weaponry, armored vehicles, and all sorts of heavy and light weapons.”

Less grandiosely, Inspire also deals with the killing by US Special Forces of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, lamenting the “loss of a great leader” and congratulating him for achieving martyrdom. Inspire pledges that his death will have little effect on the future of the organization.

“The news,” writes American citizen, Samir Khan, believed to be the editor of Inspire, “brought us a mixed sentiment of sadness, contentment and aspiration.”

Khan, 24, from North Carolina, was on an FBI watch list when he travelled to Yemen three years ago.

The magazine by AQAP, the group linked to the failed 2009 Christmas Day bombing attempt of a US airliner over Detroit, targets so-called home-grown terrorists not familiar with Arabic, the language most jihadist texts are written in.

Previous issues of Inspire, which first came out in July 2010, have included stories on ‘How to make a bomb in your mom’s kitchen,’ and mass murder in the article ‘The ultimate mowing machine,’ where readers are invited kill people by welding steel blades to the grill of their car and driving up on crowded sidewalks to “mow down the enemies of Allah.”

The magazine also boasts one of AQAP’s stars, Anwar al-Awlaki, acting in a section of the magazine as a kind of jihadist agony aunt, answering emails from concerned jihadists.

In reply to an email about the uprisings in the Middle East Awlaki writes: “It is true that the protesters want jobs, better living conditions, justice in all spheres of life, as any normal person living under tyrannical rule would yearn for such. The analysts’ misapprehension is in what the Shari’ah (the religious law of Islam) offers and what the people want.”

“The call of the protesters for democracy are in actuality calls for basic rights and freedoms, that the Shari'ah provides; it doesn't have much to do with democracy per say,” Awlaki writes.

Though English speaking jihadists might well be interested in reading the on-line magazine for themselves they are likely to be hard pressed to find it on the web, as intelligence agencies are almost as fast at blocking it as jihadists websites are at posting it.