Al Malahem media, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)’s propaganda wing, released a pamphlet on June 23 that praised the Orlando shooting and provided suggestions for copying it and making additional attacks both more lethal and better suited to AQAP’s propaganda aims.
The four-page PDF pamphlet, which was released on Telegram, was titled “Inspire Guide: Orlando Operation,” and included multiple references to Inspire magazine, AQAP’s English-language propaganda magazine.
The pamphlet indicated that its goal was to “[provide] guidance to the Lone Mujahid (fighter)” and to “follow-up, guide, put right and correct Lone Jihad operations in order to realize the best military and political results that serve the general policy of the Mujahidin (fighters) in our war with America.”
This follows in the path of recent issues of Inspire magazine, which have focused on small scale attacks that can be conducted by individual supporters of AQAP.
The pamphlet praised the fact that the shooting was against a large public gathering in an enclosed area, and that the perpetrator, Omar Mateen, owned his gun and had prior firearms training. It suggested as well that Mateen was able to cause more destruction because, it claimed, “those present in the nightclub were drunk.”
However, the pamphlet suggested that it would be best for future perpetrators not to target specific groups in society, such as Latinos or the LGBT community, because the focus of news coverage would then be on the group targeted, rather than on the overall terrorist element of the attack.
Despite its suggestion to target more heterogeneous groups for strategic purposes, the pamphlet did not shy away from anti-LGBT incitement. Rather, its critique was couched by the statement that “the killing of such people is the most binding duty and closer to human nature, but better than this is to avoid targeting areas where minorities are found.” ADL recently published an analysis of anti-gay rhetoric in Inspire and in ISIS’s English-language magazine, Dabiq.
Interestingly, the pamphlet nods to the fact that Mateen indicated support for ISIS, not Al Qaeda, while conducting the attack, stating, “Lone Jihad is not monopolized by al-Qaida (sic) or any other group, therefore we call upon all active Jihadi groups, to adopt and build upon the idea of Lone Jihad and call towards it.” However, it encourages would-be future perpetrators to refer to bomb-making instructions in past issues of Inspire magazine to make their attacks more deadly. An attack with weapons clearly taken from Inspire magazine’s suggestions would enable AQAP to claim some degree of credit.
To date, the Boston Marathon bombing is the only domestic attack that was fully carried out that utilized directions from Inspire magazine. However, the magazine has played a role in the radicalization of multiple domestic extremists, including the Tsarnaev brothers of the Boston Marathon bombing, Jose Pimentel, who attempted a bombing in New York, and Abdel Daoud, who attempted a bombing in Chicago.