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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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