On March 15, 2014, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) issued the 12th issue of its English-language terrorist propaganda magazine, Inspire.
A new ADL report, Homegrown Islamic Extremism in 2013: The Perils of Online Recruitment & Self-Radicalization, highlights the increasing prevalence and threat of online English language terrorist propaganda.
As in previous iterations of Inspire, the current issue contains a mixture of anti-Semitism and vitriolic rhetoric directed against the United States and the West designed to encourage anger and violence amongst readers. It also provides suggestions for domestic attacks, with a nod toward prior attacks in the U.S. that it claims were made possible and encouraged by previous issues of Inspire.
“Many Feisal Shahzads are residing inside America,” explains the editor, referring to the man who attempted to detonate a bomb in Times Square in 2010, “and all they need is the knowledge of how to make car bombs….The American government was unable to protect its citizens from pressure cooker bombs in backpacks [a reference to the Boston marathon bombing, which used bomb making instructions from the first issue of Inspire], I wonder if they are ready to stop car bombs! And the good news is…you can prepare it in the kitchen of your mom too.”
The magazine goes on to provide step-by-step instructions on how to assemble car bombs, along with tips for where and how to plant them. “America is our first target,” it explains, “followed by United Kingdom, France and other crusader countries.” Terrorists are advised to “target people and not buildings.” The magazine then lists specific potential targets in Washington, D.C., New York City, Northern Virginia, Chicago and Los Angeles, as well as in France and the United Kingdom.
The 12th issue features stories by Americans aligned with AQAP, including articles allegedly by Samir Khan and Anwar al-Awlaki, two of the founders of Inspire who were killed in a drone strike in 2011. Awlaki in particular has been a resounding influence on Western extremists even since his death, with material widely available online. There is even a Facebook page dedicated to sharing some of his most extreme quotes.
Anti-Semitism is also a recurring theme throughout the magazine. It proudly quotes Abraham Foxman, the ADL’s national director, for recognizing the extent to which anti-Semitism pervades Inspire magazine and terrorist ideology in general.
Highlighted text in a recurring article called “Why Did I Choose Al Qaeda” attempts to encourage readers to join the organization by saying that, “Al Qaeda is terrorizing the enemies of Allah; the Jews, the Christians, the apostates and others.”
Israel is cited as a cause for terrorism against the West in an article allegedly by Anwar al-Awlaki. The article argues that if terrorism succeeds, American citizens will question the U.S. government, asking, “Why are we supporting Israel? ... Is it worth the price?”
Similarly, an article allegedly by Samir Khan, titled, “Palestine: Betrayal of Human Conscience,” notes, “We all know that without America’s financial support for Israel, Israel would simply not be in the powerful state that it is in today. ...Ask yourself the question: Who is going to stop the Israeli oppression?”
Another article takes traditional allegations of oversized Jewish power even further, writing, “The truth is ripping through the façade and expose (sic) the real face of falsity and evil hidden by America and the West and the Jewish gangs that rule and dominate both of them.”
Quoting Nidal Hasan, the Fort Hood shooter, it asks, “Don’t you see what they do with our brothers in Palestine using American support? Why don’t we carry out similar [violent] actions, support our brothers like they support the Jews in Palestine?”
The magazine also references the September 2013 attack on the Westgate hotel in Nairobi, Kenya, by Al Shabaab – Al Qaeda’s affiliate group in Somalia. It prominently quotes an Al Shabaab spokesman who said that the mall was targeted because it is a place “where there are Jewish and American shops.”
The 12th issue of Inspire was released only one week after Al Qaeda’s central organization released a promotional video for a new terrorist magazine called Resurgence.