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June 15, 2016 Off

Anti-Gay Rhetoric in English-Language ISIS and Al Qaeda Magazines

The claim by Orlando shooter Omar Mateen that he acted on behalf of ISIS in per­pe­trat­ing a shoot­ing at a gay club draws atten­tion to the role of anti-gay sen­ti­ment in Islamic extrem­ist ide­ol­ogy and propaganda.

ADL ana­lyzed past issues of Dabiq, ISIS’s Eng­lish lan­guage mag­a­zine, and Inspire mag­a­zine, Al Qaeda in the Ara­bian Penin­sula (AQAP)’s English-language mag­a­zine, to deter­mine the scope of anti-gay rhetoric and threat in those pub­li­ca­tions. While these pub­li­ca­tions are only a lim­ited sam­ple of the over­all field of online English-language pro­pa­ganda dis­trib­uted by for­eign ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions, they serve to demon­strate the issues and lan­guage that these orga­ni­za­tions use when tar­get­ing English-speaking audiences.

Our analy­sis indi­cates that anti-gay rhetoric played a smaller role than may have been expected. Nei­ther group preached hatred of the LGBT pop­u­la­tion nearly as much as it railed against other groups, such as Jews and the U.S., for exam­ple. How­ever,  both mag­a­zines did fea­ture exam­ples of anti-gay rhetoric and used homo­sex­u­al­ity as a syn­onym for sin and immorality.

Cover of the first issue of Dabiq, ISIS's English language magazine

Cover of the first issue of Dabiq magazine

Dabiq (ISIS)

Dabiq, ISIS’s English-language mag­a­zine, was first released in July 2014. Since then, there have been 13 issues, with the most recent released in April 2016.

Dabiq included anti-gay rhetoric with much more fre­quency than Inspire. In addi­tion to using homo­sex­u­al­ity as an exam­ple of sin and immoral­ity, Dabiq also had at least three quotes in which homo­sex­u­al­ity was asso­ci­ated with the death penalty. The increased num­ber of ref­er­ences and the vio­lent nature of the ref­er­ences are con­so­nant with ISIS’s broader pro­pa­ganda, which has been more overt than Al Qaeda pro­pa­ganda in high­light­ing vio­lence against indi­vid­u­als and groups ISIS has tar­geted. This has included images of ISIS mem­bers mur­der­ing men accused of being gay by throw­ing them off of buildings.

Exam­ples of state­ments in Dabiq that link homo­sex­u­al­ity with a pun­ish­ment of death include:

  • “These sons fell into fāhishah (sodomy), lead­ing them into espi­onage (as hap­pened before in Sudan with oth­ers). Their treach­ery led to tens of airstrikes killing many broth­ers.” (Issue 6)
  • Like­wise dur­ing his khilā­fah, Abū Bakr…gathered a num­ber of his advi­sors from amongst the Sahābah and con­sulted them about the case of a man found guilty of com­mit­ting sodomy. The one who had the most severe posi­tion was ‘Alī … who said, “This is a sin that no nation had com­mit­ted before except for one nation, and you know how Allah dealt with them. I view that we should burn him alive.” (Issue 7)
  •  “Know­ing this and that he [a man ISIS is advo­cat­ing should be assas­si­nated] admires the sec­u­lar­ist US Con­sti­tu­tion and does not oppose sodomite mar­riage, it should be easy to grasp that he is noth­ing but another mur­tadd imām of kufr (apos­tate and leader of infi­dels).” (Issue 11)

Exam­ples that include homo­sex­u­al­ity as a gen­eral exam­ple of sin or immoral­ity include:

  • “So the for­ni­ca­tors, the sodomites, the aban­don­ers of jihād, the peo­ple of bid’ah (heresy), and the drunk­ards, these peo­ple and the min­gling with them is harm­ful for the reli­gion of Islam.” (Issue 3)
  • “’Lib­eral’ con­cepts that the kuf­fār (apos­tates) apply across the board for achiev­ing evil, such as polit­i­cal plu­ral­ism, free­dom of reli­gion, and accep­tance of sodomites. (Issue 3)
  • “If one’s chil­dren and grand­chil­dren don’t fall into kufr (apos­tacy), they are under the con­stant threat of for­ni­ca­tion, sodomy, drugs, and alco­hol.” (Issue 3)
  • “They used their enter­tain­ment indus­try to mock and belit­tle those against the sex­u­ally deviant fringe, used their shirk (falsehood)-based par­lia­ments to legal­ize sodomite mar­riage, used their edu­ca­tion sys­tem to cor­rupt their chil­dren right from the kinder­garten level by intro­duc­ing books into the cur­ricu­lum to com­bat “homo­pho­bia,” and used their churches and clergy to bless these sins via ‘revi­sion­ism.’ (Issue 7)
  • …All sin­ful acts are openly com­mit­ted among you and for most of you they have become part of your nature. This includes com­mit­ting shirk with Allah, for­ni­ca­tion, and sodomy (Issue 10)
  • “If the major­ity [in a democ­racy] decide sodomy is legal, it is legal­ized even though it con­tra­dicts Allah’s Sharī’ah.” (Issue 11)
  • “Part of the pagan demo­c­ra­tic reli­gion is what has been labeled (sic) in this era as “human rights,” includ­ing the “right” to com­mit apos­tasy, devil-worship, sodomy, and for­nication.” (Issue 11)
  • “[The Mus­lim] is a stranger amongst Chris­tians and lib­er­als. He is a stranger amongst for­ni­ca­tors and sodomites.” (Issue 12)
  • “So the for­ni­ca­tors, the sodomites, the aban­don­ers of jihād, the peo­ple of bid’ah (heresy), and the drunk­ards, these peo­ple and the min­gling with them is harm­ful for the reli­gion of Islam.” (Issue 13)
Cover of the first issue of Inspire, AQAP's English-language magazine

Cover of the first issue of Inspire magazine

Inspire (AQAP)

Inspire mag­a­zine was first released in July 2010. Since then, there have been 15 issues, with the most recent released in May 2016.

We dis­cov­ered at least three ref­er­ences to homo­sex­u­al­ity in those 15 issues of Inspire.

In the third issue, released in Novem­ber 2010, the mag­a­zine noted that a gay and les­bian syn­a­gogue had been among the loca­tions tar­geted in AQAP’s 2010 cargo plane bomb plot, in which the group attempted to det­o­nate explo­sives in pack­ages with Chicago addresses in a cargo plane. Although the threat appeared to be directed against Jews more than against the LGBT com­mu­nity, it can be seen as a threat specif­i­cally to LGBT Jews as well.

  • “We in al Qaeda of the Ara­bian Penin­sula will never for­get Pales­tine,” it said, “…So we listed the address of the ‘Con­gre­ga­tion Or Chadash,’ a Gay and Les­bian Syn­gaogue on one of our pack­ages. The sec­ond pack­age was sent to ‘Con­gre­ga­tion B’nai Zion.’

In the magazine’s 8th and 10th issues, homo­sex­u­al­ity is listed as an exam­ple of immorality.

  • A quote in the 8th issue stated, “Immoral­ity and cor­rup­tion have seeped deep into the roots of the Pak­istani Army and it is not uncom­mon to find alco­holics, gam­blers, adul­ter­ers, homo­sex­u­als and drug traf­fick­ers amongst its lower and higher ranks.”
  • A quote in the 10th issue con­trasted “The free­dom of liv­ing in peace with ade­quate resources” to “the free­dom of adul­tery, homo­sex­u­al­ity, inter­est and other impurities.”

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May 19, 2016 1

Latest Issue of Inspire Magazine Encourages Small Scale Attacks

Inspire 15 cover image

Inspire 15

The 15th issue of InspireAl Qaeda in the Ara­bian Penin­sula (AQAP)’s Eng­lish lan­guage mag­a­zine, released on May 14, pro­vides read­ers with instruc­tions for mur­der­ing “the intel­li­gentsia, eco­nomic and influ­en­tial per­son­al­i­ties of Amer­ica.” Such attacks, claims the mag­a­zine, are “easy options that do not require huge efforts or man power, but the result is par­al­lel to the big oper­a­tions or even more.”

This incite­ment to kill indi­vid­u­als is the same attack strat­egy that was pro­vided in the 14th issue of Inspire mag­a­zine (released in Sep­tem­ber 2015), but the 15th issue pro­vides addi­tional sug­ges­tions for mak­ing bombs to con­duct the assas­si­na­tions, includ­ing pack­age bombs, small bombs under cars, and bombs that can be attached to a doorframe.

As in pre­vi­ous issues of Inspire, the mag­a­zine uses anti-Semitism and resent­ment of Israel to mobi­lize the anger and sup­port needed to encour­age indi­vid­u­als to sus­tain AQAP and per­pe­trate attacks. ADL pub­lished an updated report on anti-Semitism in Islamic extrem­ist pro­pa­ganda in 2015.

This exploita­tion of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel sen­ti­ment was par­tic­u­larly evi­dent in the arti­cle, “O Knife Rev­o­lu­tion, Head Toward Amer­ica.” In it, AQAP strives to export the cur­rent mode of Pales­tin­ian ter­ror attacks in Israel to the U.S. by ask­ing, “Where are the zeal­ous Mus­lims in Amer­ica, who clearly see their Mus­lim broth­ers in Pales­tine being tor­tured? It is because of this painful tor­ture, that the blessed Knife Upris­ing has sur­faced. Then way is it that you just sit and wait, with your hands tied up?”

That arti­cle fur­ther uti­lizes anti-Semitism to encour­age attacks against the U.S. “It is no secret that the first guardian, sup­porter, and great­est inciter to the Jews are the Amer­i­cans,” it states. It goes on to directly threaten Jews, ask­ing “How many Jews are there in Amer­ica, Europe and other kufr (apos­tate) coun­tries? So take mat­ters in hand and fol­low the advice of your Prophet, if any of you gets hold of a Jew any­where, let him fin­ish him off.”

An article in Inspire 15 Encourages Domestic Attacks

An arti­cle in Inspire 15 encour­ages knife attacks in the U.S. mod­eled after attacks under­taken by Pales­tini­ans in Israel.

Sim­i­larly, the arti­cle, “Let us Unite for Pales­tine,” clearly attempts to trans­fer anger against Israel to attacks against the U.S. by assert­ing “The lib­er­a­tion of Jerusalem…requires…two things: Firstly: Strik­ing the West…. Sec­ondly: Estab­lish­ing a Mus­lim state in Egypt and the Lev­ant.” AQAP is more inter­ested in attack­ing the West and secur­ing a foothold in Egypt and Syria than in attack­ing Israel, so the mag­a­zine tries to con­vince its sup­port­ers that these goals are inher­ently a part of destroy­ing the State of Israel.

Yet another arti­cle, “Inside Obama’s Ratio­nal­ity,” sug­gests a con­spir­acy the­ory of Jew­ish influ­ence in Amer­i­can pol­i­tics: “every­one com­petes in pleas­ing the Jews, even the so-called ratio­nal Pres­i­dents com­pete with each other in prov­ing who is the most biased, irra­tional, par­ti­san pres­i­dent when it comes to sup­port­ing the Jews.”

Other arti­cles directly pro­mote any sort of lone wolf attacks against the U.S., while striv­ing to ensure that Al Qaeda can receive credit for indi­vid­ual actions. The arti­cle “Jihad Upon Clear Insight” states “one can ben­e­fit from the pub­li­ca­tion of As-Sahab foun­da­tion (an Al Qaeda media foundation)…It explains the impor­tance of lone jihad and its impact upon the enemy…. And he can also ben­e­fit from Inspire Mag­a­zine. A Lone Mujahid and oth­ers should know that this knowl­edge is not less impor­tant than the sci­ence of weaponry and how to use them, how to make explo­sives and charges.”

As noted, the cover arti­cle, “Pro­fes­sional Assas­si­na­tions,” pro­vides instruc­tions for sur­veilling influ­en­tial indi­vid­u­als and then build­ing bombs to mur­der them.

Inspire is per­haps the most noto­ri­ous Al Qaeda pro­pa­ganda vehi­cle. It has played a role in the rad­i­cal­iza­tion of mul­ti­ple domes­tic extrem­ists, includ­ing the Tsar­naev broth­ers of the Boston Marathon bomb­ing), Jose Pimentel, who attempted a bomb­ing in New York, and Abdel Daoud, who attempted a bomb­ing in Chicago.

 

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September 21, 2015 Off

New AQAP Inspire Magazine Encourages Lone Wolf Attacks

Issue 14 of AQAP's Inspire Magazine

Issue 14 of AQAP’s Inspire Magazine

The 14th issue of InspireAl Qaeda in the Ara­bian Penin­sula (AQAP)’s Eng­lish lan­guage mag­a­zine, released on Sep­tem­ber 9 to coin­cide with the anniver­sary of the 9/11 attacks, incites Amer­i­cans and oth­ers liv­ing in the West to per­pe­trate lone-wolf attacks.“We at Inspire, and in the cause of the events of 9/11 encour­age the Mus­lims in the West to join the Lone Jihad car­a­van,” reads the Editor’s Let­ter at the start of the mag­a­zine, “the car­a­van that has and always will con­tinue to trou­ble and bring night­mares to the west (sic).”

As in pre­vi­ous issues of Inspire, the mag­a­zine uses anti-Semitism to mobi­lize the anger and sup­port needed to encour­age indi­vid­u­als to sus­tain AQAP and per­pe­trate attacks. ADL recently pub­lished a new report on anti-Semitism in Islamic extrem­ist pro­pa­ganda.

One arti­cle in the new issue states that the 9/11 attack “in con­text [was] a gen­eral defense on our Ummah [Mus­lim com­mu­nity], that has been assaulted by the Jews and sup­ported by Amer­ica.” Sim­i­larly, another arti­cle stated that ter­ror­ism “give[s] joy and hap­pi­ness to…all those hurt by Amer­ica, bearer of evil, oppres­sion and the pro­tec­tor of the Jews.”

A third arti­cle, titled “The Cor­ner,” focused on anti-Israel sen­ti­ments as a means to rile anger against the U.S. The arti­cle began by stat­ing that, “Track­ing AIPAC annual events, one gets a sense of a spir­i­tual bond between Amer­ica and Israel.” It went on to claim that “In all AIPAC meet­ings, America’s tone towards Israel has been of blind sup­port. Reas­sur­ing the Jews that what­ever it takes or what­ever crime they com­mit, Amer­ica will always back them.”

Rehash­ing claims made in an August AQAP video that called for attacks on the U.S., one arti­cle says that “There is no stronger evi­dence than the issue of the Holo­caust in which there is no room for free­dom of expres­sion or ideas,” imply­ing that if West­ern free speech allows for crit­i­cism of Islam, the West must also encour­age dele­git­imiza­tion of the Holo­caust to avoid hypocrisy.

This issue of Inspire also attempted to har­ness pop­u­lar anger about injus­tices against African Amer­i­cans in the U.S., equat­ing “Amer­i­can oppres­sion towards the Blacks today” to “oppression…exercised against the Mus­lims today.” The arti­cle calls on African Amer­i­cans to “review your actions and to take a stand against these crimes” by con­demn­ing the actions of the U.S. and the State of Israel and then sug­gests that they, too, com­mit acts of ter­ror­ism as described in the mag­a­zine: “we at Inspire bring to you mil­i­tary con­sul­ta­tion, one may refer back to the pre­vi­ous issues to find appro­pri­ate mil­i­tary ideas.”

Dur­ing the protests in Fer­gu­son, Mis­souri, ter­ror sup­port­ers (and par­tic­u­larly sup­port­ers of ISIS, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) reg­u­larly shared state­ments online attempt­ing to cap­i­tal­ize on the unrest and pro­mote their ver­sion of Islam as bet­ter than and more equal­ity than Amer­i­can democ­racy. There is no rea­son to believe that mem­bers of the African Amer­i­can com­mu­nity or oth­ers sym­pa­thetic to the injus­tices in the U.S. crim­i­nal sys­tem took those mes­sages seri­ously, as there is no rea­son to believe they will take these mes­sages from AQAP seriously.

Other arti­cles and graph­ics in the mag­a­zine praise the 9/11 attacks, the Boston Marathon bomb­ing and the Char­lie Hebdo attack.

Inspire has been par­tic­u­larly noto­ri­ous for its pro­vi­sion of bomb-making instruc­tions. The 14th   issue pro­vides direc­tions for build­ing home­made pipe-bombs to be used in assas­si­na­tion attempts. Specif­i­cally, the mag­a­zine advises tar­get­ing eco­nom­i­cally influ­en­tial Amer­i­cans includ­ing Ben Shalom Bar­nanek (sic), Robert James Shiller, Bill Gates, War­ren Buf­fet, Larry Joseph, Char­lie and David Koch, Sam Wal­ton, Shel­don Adel­son, and Michael Bloomberg. As if issu­ing a ran­som note, the arti­cle sug­gests that “whoso­ever wants to secure him­self and wealth” should remove their money from U.S. banks, invest their wealth out­side U.S. soil and “declare via media that they are far from Amer­i­can poli­cies towards Mus­lim (sic) and America’s sup­port for Israel.

Inspire is per­haps the most noto­ri­ous Al Qaeda pro­pa­ganda vehi­cle. It has played a role in the rad­i­cal­iza­tion of mul­ti­ple domes­tic extrem­ists, includ­ing the Tsar­naev broth­ers of the Boston Marathon bomb­ing), Jose Pimentel, who attempted a bomb­ing in New York, and Abdel Daoud, who attempted a bomb­ing in Chicago.

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