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February 6, 2014 0

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.

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December 13, 2013 1

Terry Lee Loewen Planned Airport Bombing For Al Qaeda

A 58-year-old man from Wichita, Kansas, has been arrested for allegedly try­ing to blow up Wichita Mid-Continent Air­port with a car bomb in sup­port of Al Qaeda.tourismairport2.jpg [tourismairport2.jpg]

Terry Lee Loewen is charged with attempt­ing to use a weapon of mass destruc­tion, attempt­ing to dam­age prop­erty and attempt­ing to pro­vide sup­port to Al Qaeda.

Accord­ing to the crim­i­nal com­plaint, Loewen said he was try­ing to sup­port Al Qaeda in the Ara­bian Penin­sula (AQAP), Al Qaeda’s affil­i­ate in Yemen, by com­mit­ting “an act of vio­lent jihad.”

Three Amer­i­can cit­i­zens have attempted to join AQAP in 2013, includ­ing Mar­cos Alonso Zea and Justin Kaliebe of Long Island, and Shel­ton Thomas Bell of Florida.

Loewen, an avion­ics tech­ni­cian who report­edly works at the air­port, allegedly made state­ments online to an under­cover FBI agent about down­load­ing ter­ror­ist pro­pa­ganda online and want­ing to com­mit “vio­lent jihad” against the U.S. Accord­ing to the com­plaint, he also said:

“As time goes on I care less and less about what other peo­ple think of me, or my views of Islam. I have been study­ing sub­jects like jihad, mar­tyr­dom oper­a­tions, and Sharia law. I don’t under­stand how you can read the Qur’an and the sun­nah of the Prophet and not under­stand that jihad and the imple­men­ta­tion of Sharia is absolutely demanded of all the Mus­lim Ummah.”

“One last thing I would like to make clear if I haven’t already — I believe the Mus­lim who is labeled ‘a rad­i­cal fun­da­men­tal­ist’ is closer to Allah than the ones labeled ‘mod­er­ates.’ Just my opin­ion; if I’m off base, please set me straight.”

He also indi­cated that he “con­sid­ered sup­port­ing some of our broth­ers and sis­ters in prison,” and has been send­ing money to the fam­ily of Youn­nus Abdul­lah Muham­mad. Muham­mad is the co-founder of Rev­o­lu­tion Mus­lim, the fringe anti-Semitic Mus­lim orga­ni­za­tion based in New York that jus­ti­fied ter­ror­ist attacks and other forms of vio­lence. The arrest of the Rev­o­lu­tion Mus­lim lead­ers in recent years has led to its demise.

Loewen described Rev­o­lu­tion Mus­lim as “the first web­site that really helped me under­stand what obe­di­ence to Allah was.”

Accord­ing to the crim­i­nal com­plaint, he also expressed his admi­ra­tion of Anwar Al-Awlaki, an American-born Mus­lim cleric who encour­aged attacks against Amer­ica and the West to English-speaking online audi­ences for sev­eral years. Al‐Awlaki was among a grow­ing cho­rus of Amer­i­cans resid­ing abroad who used their online pul­pits to reach and influ­ence audi­ences in the U.S. by repack­ag­ing ide­olo­gies of extreme intol­er­ance and vio­lence into digestible sound bites.

Al-Awlaki’s mate­ri­als have inspired sev­eral Amer­i­can Mus­lim extrem­ists to carry out ter­ror­ist attacks in the U.S. and join ter­ror­ist groups over­seas. He was killed in a drone strike in Yemen on Sep­tem­ber 30, 2011.

Loewen, who also goes by Terry L. Lane, report­edly left a let­ter for his fam­ily dated Decem­ber 11 that said, “By the time you read this I will — if every­thing went as planned — have been mar­tyred in the path of Allah.”

Described by the U.S. gov­ern­ment as “the most active and dan­ger­ous” branch of Al Qaeda, AQAP has attempted to carry out mul­ti­ple attacks against the United States, includ­ing at least three failed attacks involv­ing U.S.-bound aviation.

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July 22, 2013 0

Florida Teen, Shelton Thomas Bell, Latest American To Attempt To Join Al Qaeda

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Shel­ton Thomas bell

The lat­est Amer­i­can cit­i­zen to appar­ently respond to Al Qaeda’s call by attempt­ing to join the ter­ror­ist group is 19-year-old Florid­ian Shel­ton Thomas Bell.

Bell, who accord­ing to pros­e­cu­tors attempted to join Al Qaeda in the Ara­bian Penin­sula (AQAP) in Yemen, has been charged with con­spir­ing and attempt­ing to pro­vide mate­r­ial sup­port to terrorists.

Since 2007, at least 52 Amer­i­can cit­i­zens and per­ma­nent res­i­dents have been arrested or charged for suc­cess­fully trav­el­ing or attempt­ing to travel abroad to reach Al Qaeda affil­i­ate groups. Many joined or attempted to join Al Shabaab in Soma­lia, while oth­ers have received train­ing in Pak­istan. More recently, some Amer­i­cans have been attracted to Jab­hat al-Nusrah in Syria.

Bell, report­edly a Mus­lim con­vert, “devised a plan to travel to the Ara­bian Penin­sula to join Ansar al Sharia (AAS),” an alias for (AQAP), “and par­tic­i­pate in vio­lent armed con­flict that he termed ‘jihad,’” accord­ing to the fed­eral indictment.

Bell and a juve­nile trav­eled to Jor­dan Sep­tem­ber 2012 and made con­tact with some­one who could facil­i­tate their travel to Yemen and intro­duce them to ter­ror­ists, accord­ing to the indictment.

The indict­ment also alleges that between May 2012 and Sep­tem­ber 2012, Bell and oth­ers engaged in phys­i­cal, firearms, and other train­ing in prepa­ra­tion for what Bell described as “the actions of jihad,” includ­ing “a night-time mis­sion” in which they van­dal­ized reli­gious stat­ues at a Jack­sonville cemetery.

Bell allegedly also made video and audio record­ings for the pur­pose of solic­it­ing and recruit­ing oth­ers to par­tic­i­pate in vio­lent jihad.

Lead­ers of the Islamic Cen­ter of North­east Florida in Jack­sonville report­edly noti­fied law enforce­ment about Bell because they were con­cerned about con­ver­sa­tion he was hav­ing about weapons and jihad at their mosque.

AQAP has been described by the U.S. gov­ern­ment as “the most active and dan­ger­ous” branch of Al Qaeda. The growth of AQAP has led Amer­i­can offi­cials to indi­cate that Yemen could become Al Qaeda’s next oper­a­tional and train­ing hub for the group’s mil­i­tants from around the world.

A key com­po­nent of AQAP’s oper­a­tional strat­egy entails reach­ing out to English-speaking audi­ences with its mes­sages and pro­pa­ganda in order to recruit new mem­bers. This mate­r­ial encour­ages West­ern audi­ences to adopt its ide­ol­ogy and carry out attacks against West­ern inter­ests in the Ara­bian Penin­sula and abroad.

The dri­ving forces behind AQAP’s English-language pro­pa­ganda machine were Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born cleric, and Samir Khan, an Amer­i­can blog­ger and pro­pa­gan­dist, both of whom were killed in a Sep­tem­ber 30, 2011 drone strike.

Bell, who worked as a com­puter repair ven­dor at a flea mar­ket in Jack­sonville, is in jail await­ing trial on unre­lated grand theft charges.

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