Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)’s March 15 release of a new issue of its English-language propaganda magazine, Inspire, coupled with Al Qaeda’s March 9 announcement of its new English-language magazine, Resurgence, demonstrates terrorist groups’ persistent commitment to radicalizing a new generation of homegrown Islamic extremists through its online initiatives.
The Spring 2014 issue of Inspire provides detailed instructions on how to build a car bomb, with suggestions of locations to plant them in New York City, Washington, D.C., Northern Virginia, Chicago and Los Angeles, as well as in the UK and France. “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], I wonder if they are ready to stop car bombs!”
As in the past, the new issue is replete with anti-Semitic statements and highlights the supposed existence of a “Jewish enemy” to recruit terrorists.
The latest issue of Inspire also refers to several homegrown Islamic extremists that the publication claims to have influenced, including the Tsarnaev brothers who were responsible for the Boston Marathon bombing; Nidal Hasan of the Fort Hood shooting, and Feisal Shahzad, the attempted Times Square bomber.
Shortly before the release of this newest issue of Inspire, As-Sahab, the media arm of Al Qaeda’s central organization, released a slick video promoting a new terrorist magazine called Resurgence on March 9, 2014. The new magazine is likely modeled after Inspire, which has influenced numerous homegrown Islamic extremists since 2010, including the Boston bombers.
The promotional video for Resurgence, created in “kinetic typography” designed for English speaking audiences, includes a voiceover from a Malcolm X speech on violence. Over video footage of the Boston Marathon bombing, the voiceover says: “They only know one language,” alluding to violence. “You can’t ever reach a man,” the voiceover continues, “if you don’t speak his language.”
A new ADL report, Homegrown Islamic Extremism in 2013:The Perils of Online Recruitment & Self-Radicalization analyzes the rise of such online propaganda and its effects and impact on domestic security. In addition, the report looks back at 2013, when 14 American citizens or permanent residents were implicated in the U.S. on terror-related charges, ranging from domestic plots and conspiracies to providing material support to terrorists abroad. Many were directly influenced by propaganda easily accessible online, including the Boston bombers.
As Internet proficiency and the use of social media grow ever more universal, so too do the efforts of terrorist groups to exploit new technology in order to make materials that justify and sanction violence more accessible.