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October 28, 2014

Al Qaeda’s New English Magazine Harnesses Anti-Semitism

On October 19, Al Qaeda Central (AQC) released its much vaunted English-language magazine, Resurgence, which harnesses anti-Semitic and anti-Israel sentiment to urge harm against the U.S. and the West.Al Qaeda Resurgence Magazine

Using formats similar to those of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)’s Inspire magazine, Resurgence also advocates for Al Qaeda as the organization faces competition from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The magazine’s cover story, “Besiege Them: Practical Steps Towards the Liberation of Palestine” draws upon the anti-Semitic canard that Jews control international finance. The article argues that the best means to defeat Israel is to divest from “international trade and finance” and revert to the barter system. The article uses the same strategy found in AQAP’s most recent English-language publication, Palestine: Betrayal of the Guilty Conscience, drawing readers’ attention by claiming to be about Israel, but then arguing that the best way to defeat Israel is to hurt the U.S. and the West (in this case economically), furthering Al Qaeda’s primary goals.The use of anti-Semitic themes is common in Al Qaeda and AQAP publications and messaging.

Unlike AQAP’s English language magazines, Resurgence does not provide suggestions for individual attacks in western countries. It does, however, provide a map of U.S. naval and air force bases in the Middle East and suggest attacks against them and against Western ships traveling through strategically vulnerable water channels.

This attack suggestion appears to support a larger goal of the magazine: Defending Al Qaeda and its ideology in the face of increasing opposition from ISIS.  This is evident throughout the magazine; even the introduction states, “Resurgence is a humble effort to promote a correct understanding of Jihad and explain its relevance to contemporary issues facing Muslims” (emphasis added).

Resurgence’s goal of defending AQC is also clear in its profiling of Al Qaeda affiliates throughout the world. In one article on Syria, the magazine calls on Muslims to “participate in the jihad physically” or support it financially and only referencing ISIS in a call to stop infighting between groups.

A featured quote by high-ranking Al Qaeda member Abu Dujana al Pasha states, “We call for a Caliphate based on justice, mutual consultation, harmony and unity; not a ‘Caliphate’ based on oppression, excommunication of Muslims, killing the upholders of Tauheed (monotheism), and sowing discord in the ranks of the Mujahideen.”

Resurgence magazine was released the same day that Tahrek e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP, or the Pakistani Taliban) released its own English-language magazine. Titled Reviving the Caliphate, the magazine highlights faultlines between pro and anti-ISIS factions of the TTP. Interestingly, it incorporates images taken directly from ISIS propaganda publications and calls for revival of a Caliphate, but does not cite ISIS by name. Reviving the Caliphate also attempts to appeal to Western audiences by highlighting foreign fighters involved in the TTP.


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March 6, 2013

Miami Imam Convicted of Supporting Pakistani Taliban

Hafiz Khan, a Miami imam, was convicted of four charges pertaining to his support of the Pakistani Taliban on Monday.

Khan was arrested, along with two of his sons, in May 2011. They were accused of soliciting funds to be distributed to the Pakistani Taliban, a State Department designated Foreign Terrorist Organization. The charges against one of his sons were thrown out by the judge and charges against the other were withdrawn by the prosecution. 

At trial, Khan maintained that he had sent money to a religious school in Pakistan and to help his family.  He testified that he only voiced support for the Pakistani Taliban in an effort to raise funds from a real Taliban supporter (who turned out to be an informant) that he intended to be used for other purposes. 

The prosecution maintained that “his whole defense is a lie” and that he in fact did support the Pakistani Taliban and intended the funds to reach the terrorist organization.

The Pakistani Taliban, based in the tribal regions along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border and allied with Al Qaeda, seeks to overthrow the Pakistani government, expel Western and allied forces from the region, and establish an Islamic state.  Although the group focuses its attacks primarily in that region, the group claimed responsibility for Faisal Shahzad’s attempted bombing in Times Square in 2010

Khan faces a potential sentence of 15 years in prison for each charge.

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