Azan Magazine, produced by the pro-Taliban Abtalul Media Group since March 2013, mirrors the tone and content of other English-language propaganda that has influenced many domestic terrorists over the past few years.
Azan is not only modeled after Inspire Magazine, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s English-language magazine, but may be attempting to fill the gap left by Inspire, which has not published an issue since June.
The Fourth issue of Azan Magazine, 72-pages long and titled “To the Jihadis in the West,” was released this month. Like Inspire, this issue encourages violence in the West, hatred of the United States and is filled with content glorifying a militant Islamist ideology.
And like Inspire, Azan magazine also makes use of colorful, informal pages and articles with different approaches to encouraging extremism, including quotes from religious figures and threats of punishment to those who do not espouse radical Islamist beliefs.
It includes “advertisements,” such as “A come-to-jihad ad” that depicts terrorists in front of a fiery backdrop with a quote from the Quran, and an image of the World Trade Center on 9/11 with an image of and quote by Osama bin Laden with text that reads: “A ‘9-11 We Remember’ Ad.”
The magazine also has a section addressing specific concerns that might otherwise stop would-be extremists from committing terrorist actions, similar to Inspire’s question-and-answer sections addressing concerns about terrorism. It similarly includes an “Around the World” page about terrorism and anti-Western activity worldwide, and pages ridiculing president Obama and criticizing American policies.
Conspicuously absent is a section mirroring Inspire’s infamous “Open Source Jihad” with suggested attack methods and weapons instructions. Instead, Azan features a diagram of an extremist on a motorcycle, noting different items that may be helpful to him, including an Mp3 player “to listen to the Qur’an” and “Rockets/Ammo” that can be “fit into the woolen blanket” that he sits on to provide comfort.
This issue of Azan magazine closes with a solicitation for reader contributions – again, following a trend of encouraging interaction and participation through a variety of mediums. “If you would like to contribute to the magazine or to the global Jihad against the crusader-zionist alliance – or if you would like to carry out Jihad on your home territory, contact us,” it says, further advising readers to look back to their copies of Inspire for instructions on sending encrypted emails.
Also like Inspire, the primary focus of Azan Magazine is domestic extremism and attacks on Western soil. Such encouragement has been downplayed in recent months by foreign terrorist organizations such as Jabhat al-Nusra and al-Shabaab, which have been encouraging Americans and other Westerners to join them abroad. But Azan makes very clear that domestic plots should be prioritized over joining terror groups abroad.
Abtalul Islam likewise released its first English-subtitled video last month urging Westerners to contribute to its cause through a variety of means, including through writing, computer use and actual fighting.