al qaeda in the arabian peninsula » ADL Blogs
Posts Tagged ‘al qaeda in the arabian peninsula’
March 20, 2014

Arrest Demonstrates Influence of Online Terrorist Materials

Nicholas Teausant

A 20-year-old community college student from Acampo, California, was arrested on March 17th for attempting to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS), a terrorist group formerly affiliated with Al Qaeda. His alleged activities prior to his arrest demonstrate the dangerous influence of English-language online propaganda that is being distributed by terrorist organizations.

The student, Nicholas Teausant, reportedly accessed a variety of online terrorist propaganda including issues of Inspire magazine, an English-language publication produced by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and its companion “Mujahid Pocketbook,” which contains a compilation of articles designed as a “how-to guide for becoming a lone wolf terrorist.”

Teausant also broadcast his views over social media. In a Facebook post dated March 9, 2014, he asserted “the people you call terrorist aren’t really terrorist (sic) they are just doing what your to (sic) afraid to do, the government fears these people and that’s why they are called terrorist.” He also posted messages about carrying concealed weapons in public.

On the photo-sharing service Instagram, Teausant allegedly wrote, “Don’t get me wrong I despise America and want its down fall…I would love to join Allah’s army.”

According to the criminal complaint, Teausant discussed bombing the Los Angeles subway system and purchasing fireworks and explosives prior to his attempt to join ISIS.

Teausant had enlisted in the U.S. army reserves in 2007 – seemingly prior to his attraction to terrorism – but apparently never completed training because he did not meet the academic requirements.

His arrest came the same day as that of Mohammad Hassan Hamdan, a 22-year-old permanent U.S. resident residing in Dearborn, MI, who was arrested for attempting to travel to Syria to join Hezbollah.

Both arrests highlight the continued threat of Americans traveling to join terrorist groups in Syria as the civil war there continues.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

March 18, 2014

New Terror Magazines Highlight Al Qaeda Commitment To Recruitment In U.S.

Inspire 12 back imageAl Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)’s March 15 release of a new issue of its English-language propaganda magazine, Inspire, coupled with Al Qaeda’s March 9 announcement of its new English-language magazine, Resurgence, demonstrates terrorist groups’ persistent commitment to radicalizing a new generation of homegrown Islamic extremists through its online initiatives.

The Spring 2014 issue of Inspire provides detailed instructions on how to build a car bomb, with suggestions of locations to plant them in New York City, Washington, D.C., Northern Virginia, Chicago and Los Angeles, as well as in the UK and France. “Many Feisal Shahzads are residing inside America,” explains the editor referring to the man who attempted to detonate a bomb in Times Square in 2010, “and all they need is the knowledge of how to make car bombs….The American government was unable to protect its citizens from pressure cooker bombs in backpacks [a reference to the Boston marathon bombing], I wonder if they are ready to stop car bombs!”

As in the past, the new issue is replete with anti-Semitic statements and highlights the supposed existence of a “Jewish enemy” to recruit terrorists.

The latest issue of Inspire also refers to several homegrown Islamic extremists that the publication claims to have influenced, including the Tsarnaev brothers who were responsible for the Boston Marathon bombing; Nidal Hasan of the Fort Hood shooting, and Feisal Shahzad, the attempted Times Square bomber.

Shortly before the release of this newest issue of Inspire, As-Sahab, the media arm of Al Qaeda’s central organization, released a slick video promoting a new terrorist magazine called Resurgence on March 9, 2014. The new magazine is likely modeled after Inspire, which has influenced numerous homegrown Islamic extremists since 2010, including the Boston bombers.

The promotional video for Resurgence, created in “kinetic typography” designed for English speaking audiences, includes a voiceover from a Malcolm X speech on violence. Over video footage of the Boston Marathon bombing, the voiceover says: “They only know one language,” alluding to violence. “You can’t ever reach a man,” the voiceover continues, “if you don’t speak his language.”

A new ADL report, Homegrown Islamic Extremism in 2013:The Perils of Online Recruitment & Self-Radicalization analyzes the rise of such online propaganda and its effects and impact on domestic security. In addition, the report looks back at 2013, when 14 American citizens or permanent residents were implicated in the U.S. on terror-related charges, ranging from domestic plots and conspiracies to providing material support to terrorists abroad. Many were directly influenced by propaganda easily accessible online, including the Boston bombers.

As Internet proficiency and the use of social media grow ever more universal, so too do the efforts of terrorist groups to exploit new technology in order to make materials that justify and sanction violence more accessible.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

February 6, 2014

Anwar Al-Awlaki’s Messages Still Resonate On Facebook

Anwar al-Awlaki, who inspired a generation of terrorists in the U.S and abroad through his online propaganda, continues to reach audiences well after his death.generation-awlaki-facebook

A Facebook page called “Generation Awlaki,” which is made up of images of Awlaki and many of his most militant sayings, has attracted 2,676 “likes” from around the world and is attracting more followers every day.

Among the quotes by Awlaki featured on the page are, “Running away from Jihad will not save you from death. You can die as a coward or you can die as a Martyr” and, “If you have the right to slander the Messenger of Allah, we have the right to defend him. If it is part of your freedom of speech to defame Muhammad it is part of our religion to fight you.”

The highlighted quotes also touch on relevant political flashpoints, such as fighting against Israel. “The Palestinian issue should be something we think about day and night,” reads one recently posted quote.

Numerous comments have been left on the page, primarily in English. In fact, many of the followers of the page seem to be from English-speaking countries, including Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States. This attests to Awlaki’s continued appeal to Western audiences, which he worked hard to influence and radicalize during his lifetime.

One comment in response to a quote praising martyrdom reads, “I will die as a martyr” and the page moderator responded “InshaaAllah (God willing).” Another says, “May Allah increase our chances to be mujahideen (martyrs) in sha Allah (God willing).”

“Generation Awlaki” is followed most heavily by 18 to 24 year olds, ages associated with increased receptivity to extremism.generation-awlaki-22

Through his YouTube sermons, articles in Inspire magazine, and other easily available books, Anwar al-Awlaki continues to be an inspiration for terrorists and would be terrorists. Of the 14 American citizens and permanent residents arrested on terror charges in the United States in 2013, at least six reportedly listened to or read Awlaki materials, including Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev of the Boston Marathon bombing and, most recently, Terry Lee Loewen, who attempted to bomb the Wichita Intercontinental Airport in December, 2013

Awlaki, an American-born Muslim cleric, encouraged attacks against America and the West by distributing online lectures to English-speaking audiences for many years. He was killed in a drone strike in Yemen in 2011. 

This sort of page is not unique. Other pages, including those dedicated specifically to Awlaki, abound. The Facebook group Martyr of Da’awa, for example, features quotes, videos and images of Awlaki and has attracted 1,372 ‘likes’ since it was founded in January, 2014.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,