Florida Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League
This article originally appeared in Florida Sun-Sentinel on June 19, 2013
Since 9-11, approximately 250 American citizens and legal residents motivated by radical interpretations of Islam have been arrested on various terror-related charges, ranging from bomb plots to providing material support to terrorists.
More than a dozen were Florida-based. A core element of the radicalization process for many of these extremists is their exposure to the anti-Semitic and anti-Israel ideologies promoted by terrorist organizations abroad.
Al Qaeda has been particularly focused on exploiting hatred of Jews and resistance to the State of Israel in an effort to connect with, appeal to and ultimately recruit a cadre of would be-jihadists in the U.S. In fact, Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula's online English-language magazine called Inspire, created in 2010, demonstrates how an ideology rooted in the hatred of Jews can be used as an effective tool to attract and radicalize potential recruits.
Specifically designed to engage and recruit sympathizers in the U.S., Inspire is saturated with anti-Jewish and anti-American narratives, employs colloquial Western references, colorful graphics and practical advice in its calls to inflict mass casualties. Al Qaida's ability to link its opposition to America with its animosity toward Jews and Israel has been a staple of its ideology for years, alleging that Jews are the eternal enemy of Muslims and the embodiment of true evil.
These anti-Semitic narratives entrenched in the pages of Inspire are even more alarming when considering the fact that numerous international and domestic extremists have been influenced by the magazine and, in some cases, utilized its bomb making instructions.
According to federal law enforcement officials, the Boston bombers — the Tsarnaev brothers — learned how to make the pressure cooker bombs they detonated during the Boston Marathon on April 15th from the pages of Inspire. Those instructions were published in the first issue of Inspire in a section called "How to Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom." That same issue, released in 2010, also included references to "The Jews and Christians" that "have dishonored the Muslims, desecrated our holy places, and cured the beloved Prophet."
A little closer to home, another set of brothers were reported to have been influenced by Inspire. Raees Alam Qazi and Sheheryar Alam Qazi were arrested in Oakland Park in November, 2012, for allegedly planning an attack against unspecified targets in New York City.
One of the Qazi brothers, who faces charges of conspiring to provide material support to terrorists and conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction, reportedly confessed to reading Inspire magazine. A search of his home found bomb-making components consistent with the instructions outlined in Inspire.
The latest issue of Inspire, released last month, celebrates the Boston bombing, praises the Tsarnaev brothers for what it describes as the "Blessed Boston Bombings (BBB)" and encourages future attacks against the U.S. It also features letters and articles reveling in the death and destruction of Americans. For example, a 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 same issue is replete with anti-Israel and anti-Jewish narratives. An article titled The Inevitable describes the Boston bombing an "absolute success" and quotes Osama bin Laden thusly: "As you kill, you will be killed until you leave our lands and stop supporting Israel." Message to the American Nation
Other issues of Inspire include direct threats against Jews, encouraging attacks against, "Places where Jews are gathered, their leading personalities and institutions in Europe…"
These threats serve as an ominous reminder to the American Jewish community about the need to remain vigilant when it comes to safety and security. When messages of hate can reach audiences around the world via the Internet in seconds, we must remember that the ultimate acts of hate, which manifest as terror and violence, did not begin with tangible weapons like guns and bombs, but began with words.
"Al Qaeda has been particularly focused on exploiting hatred of Jews and resistance to the State of Israel in an effort to connect with, appeal to and ultimately recruit a cadre of would be-jihadists in the U.S."
Al Qaeda's Inspire Magazine