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April 4, 2014

Online Terrorist Propaganda & The Boston Marathon Bombing Anniversary

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Com­mem­o­ra­tive graphic of Boston bomber Tamer­lan Tsar­naev in Inspire magazine

In the year since the Boston Marathon bombing, which resulted in three deaths and over 260 injuries, terrorists groups that justify and sanction violence have intensified their efforts to reach, recruit and motivate homegrown extremists by adapting their messages to new technology.

Terrorist groups and their supporters are not only using social media and other Internet platforms to spread their messages more quickly and effectively than ever before, but also to recruit adherents who live in the communities they seek to target.

A new ADL report, Homegrown Islamic Extremism in 2013: The Perils of Online Recruitment & Self-Radicalization, explores the impact sophisticated terrorist propaganda has had on a new generation of homegrown extremists. Face-to-face interaction with terrorist operatives, the report concludes, is no longer a requirement for radicalization.

Inspire magazine, for example, which is designed to engage and recruit sympathizers in the U.S., has become a staple of domestic terrorism, providing ideological justifications encouraging attacks on U.S. soil as well as various suggested methods of attack. Inspire contained the very bomb-making instructions that were used by the alleged Boston Bombers to construct their bombs in an article called “Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom.”

The newest issue of Inspire, released last month, pro­vides detailed instruc­tions on how to build car bombs and includes sug­ges­ted loca­tions for where to plant them in various U.S. cities. The author notes, “The Amer­i­can gov­ern­ment was unable to pro­tect its cit­i­zens from pres­sure cooker bombs in back­packs, I won­der if they are ready to stop car bombs!”

The ADL report also explores the other American citizens and permanent residents implicated in the U.S. on terror-related charges in 2013 and over the past five years, noting how many were directly influenced by terrorist propaganda easily accessible online.

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October 30, 2013

Is Jewish Voice for Peace Edging Toward a Full Boycott of Israel?

Narrow Bridge Candles screenshot

An image on Narrow Bridge Candles’ website calls for the company’s candles to “fuel flames of resistance.”

The Boston chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace posted a message on its Facebook page on October 28th urging its followers to buy Hanukkah candles from a candle-making project called “Narrow Bridge Candles” that supports the “full Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions.” The company, which is based in Oakland, California, produces different kinds of candles needed for Jewish rituals, including Shabbat, Havadala and Hanukkah, so that Jews who are “in solidarity with Palestine” don’t have to purchase candles from Israel.

On its website, the project claims that Israel has a “monopoly on Judaica.” In fact, many of the Hanukkah candles that are sold in the United States are produced by two Jewish companies in New York, Rite Lite in Brooklyn and Ner Mitzvah in New Square. Another popular brand sold in the U.S. is actually manufactured in China. While we didn’t take the time to investigate the market share for these companies, suffice it to say that Israeli-made Hanukkah candles are not the only ones available for purchase.

Hanukah candles Tel Aviv

Hanukkah candles made in Tel Aviv, Israel

More importantly, JVP Boston’s support for Narrow Bridge Candles demonstrates the inconsistency in JVP’s platform on BDS. In its 2011 statement regarding BDS, JVP-National, which was just named by ADL as a “Top Ten Anti-Israel Group,” stated clearly that the group “focuses our efforts on boycott and divestment campaigns that directly target Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem and its blockade of the Gaza Strip.” This suggests that JVP was restricting its pro-BDS advocacy to products made in Israeli settlements and to multinational companies that profit from the occupation.

 But Narrow Bridge Candles supports a boycott of products made in Israel in general; no mention is made on its website of boycotting candles only made in Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Indeed, two of the most popular candle-making companies in Israel are based in Tel Aviv and Safed, cities that are part of Israel’s pre-1967 borders.

Various members of JVP’s leadership have indicated in the past that the group might consider shifting from targeted BDS to an adoption of the Palestinian call for BDS, which advocates for a complete boycott. In a 2011 interview, both Rebecca Vilkomerson, JVP’s Executive Director, and Brant Rosen, a founder of its Rabbinical Council, indicated that the group might eventually support a full boycott. It remains to be seen if JVP-Boston’s endorsement of Narrow Bridge Candles is a harbinger of that shift or an aberration of JVP’s policy.

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May 30, 2013

Latest Inspire Magazine Celebrates Boston Bombing

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Commemorative graphic of Boston Bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev in latest issue of Inspire

The eleventh issue of Al Qaeda in the Ara­bian Penin­sula’s Inspire mag­a­zine celebrates the April 15 Boston Bombing, praises the Tsar­naev brothers and encourages future attacks against the U.S.

The magazine, recently released online, highlights how the Boston bombers, Tamer­lan and Dzkhokhar Tsar­naev, were aided by previous issues of Inspire. According to federal law enforcement officials, the brothers got bomb-making instruc­tions from the magazine.

This issue features letters and several articles reveling in the death and destruction of Americans. For example, the letter to the editor reads: “Americans, you should understand this simple equation: as you kill you will be killed… Yesterday it was Baghdad, today it is Boston… You should be asking, ‘Where is next?’”

“The peace you enjoyed before September 11 is merely just part of history,” the letter continues. “In other words, you will never enjoy peace until we live it practically in Palestine and all the infidel forces leave the Peninsula of Muhammad and all other Muslim lands.”

Another letter, written by “Jonas the rebel,” encourages American Muslims to engage in lone wolf attacks. “…your belongingness to Islam is enough to classify you as an enemy… The Boston Bombings have uncovered the capabilities of the Muslim Youth, they have revealed the power of the Lone Jihad operation.”

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Inspire Magazine publishes collection of tweets “from the mujahideen in the Arabian Peninsula”

The magazine includes a collection of tweets “from the mujahideen in the Arabian Peninsula” further celebrating the Boston bombing. It even includes a “Newsflash” section lauding the tornado in Oklahoma earlier this month, claiming that “Muslims and others alike celebrated and prayed for more to strike America… This is not from nature, this is from the Lord of nature.”

In an article titled “Message to the American Nation,” Qassim Ar-Reimy writes about America “meddling” in the affairs of Muslims. The article promises that those “standing against your aggression and oppression on humanity” will “damage your economy and terrify your hearts.”

Since it was first published in 2010, numerous inter­na­tional and domes­tic extrem­ists moti­vated by rad­i­cal inter­pre­ta­tions of Islam have been influ­enced by the mag­a­zine and, in some cases, report­edly uti­lized the bomb mak­ing instruc­tions in their attempts to carry out attacks.

Samir Khan, a 24-year-old Amer­i­can known for dis­trib­ut­ing ter­ror­ist pro­pa­ganda mate­r­ial online, was the prin­ci­pal author of Inspire before he was killed by a U.S. drone strike on Sep­tem­ber 30, 2011. This latest issue of the magazine is the fourth to be released since his death.

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