DUBAI: Al-Qaeda has combined the global reach of both the English language and the internet as cyber-terrorism tools to win over non-Arab sympathisers.
The network’s Yemen-based wing released the first edition of an online English-language magazine, Inspire, four months ago that included an article on how to build a bomb.
A second, 74-page edition made it to the World Wide Web last week instructing Muslims in Western countries on how to weld deadly steel blades onto SUV vehicles and then plough into civilian crowds.
With Inspire, edited by ‘al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’, the group hopes to recruit young Westerners to the jihadi cause and to apparently encourage random attacks.
“This is by no doubt a new experiment as it is the first time al-Qaeda issues an English-language publication,” a Paris-based expert on Middle East Islamist groups, Dominique Thomas remarked. “These messages target Muslim communities living” outside the Arab world, he added. Since the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, video, audio and written al Qaeda statements have mushroomed on the internet. Now, the network has a complete web- magazine in English.
Prime contenders for the authors of the new strategy are two al Qaeda-linked US citizens, Anwar al-Awlaqi and Samir Khan, both of whom are believed to be in Yemen.
Awlaqi, a 39-year-old American cleric of Yemeni origin, has been linked to US army Major Nidal Hasan who shot dead 13 people in Texas and to a Nigerian student accused of trying to blow up a US airliner on December 25. Fluent in English, Awlaqi is bent on radicalising fellow US and Western citizens.
The other American believed to be behind the strategy is Samir Khan, a US citizen of Pakistani origin, suspected by US intelligence to be an internet militant who once operated out of his parents’ basement in New York.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 19th, 2010.