CAIR Chief’s Reflexive Terror Denial Stands Apart

Nihad-AwadIPT News, July 15, 2016

Before the bodies of all the victims had been removed from the streets of Nice, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Executive Director Nihad Awad insisted that religion had nothing to do with the terrorist attack that killed at least 84 people.

A French resident of Tunisian descent rammed a truck into a crowd of revelers gathered to watch fireworks commemorating Bastille Day. The truck traveled as much as two kilometers, leaving twisted bodies in its wake.

French President Francois Hollande described the “undeniable terrorist nature” of the attack, which was further established by the presence of guns and explosives inside the killer’s truck.

“All of France is under the threat of Islamic terrorism,” Hollande said. “Our vigilance must be relentless.”

To Awad, this was reckless and inflammatory.

“French President #Hollande is pouring oil on the fire by describing the #Nice crime as Islamic terrorism and subjects France’s Muslims to danger,” Awadwrote, in Arabic, on Twitter. “What is Islamic about this crime?”

Plenty of analysts have shown exactly how terrorist groups like ISIS are deeply rootedin Islamic theology. As IPT Shillman Senior Fellow Pete Hoekstra noted, Islamist terrorists have been calling for such attacks for years, and al-Qaida specifically suggested this kind of attack in 2010, using a mock Ford-150 ad: “With the right tools and a little effort, the truck can be turned into a killing machine from a Wes Craven horror film,” an article in al-Qaida’s Inspire magazine said.

That seems to be a pretty good description for what happened in Nice.

ISIS spokesman Abū Muhammad al Adnānī ash Shāmī made a similar suggestion in a2014 statement: “If you can kill a disbelieving American or European — especially the spiteful and filthy French — or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever from the disbelievers waging war … kill him in any manner or way however it may be … Smash his head with a rock, or slaughter him with a knife, or run him over with your car, or throw him down from a high place, or choke him, or poison him.” [Emphasis added]

Awad’s denial does nothing to discredit these ideas or the Islamic theology underpinning them. In another tweet, he claimed such talk was “blaming all Muslims for the heinous #Nicemurders.#Don‘tCallTerroristsJihadists.”

Compare Awad’s reaction with other Muslim voices. He doesn’t win points for courage.

Writing in the Telegraph, former Islamist Maajid Nawaz begged Muslims and non-Muslims alike to stop pushing the counter-productive “nothing to do with Islam” message. “Your good intentions towards us Muslims are only making the problem worse,” he wrote.

Terrorist groups like ISIS successfully recruit new members in part because “we have allowed hardline Islamism to permeate our communities and mobilise the vulnerable,” Nawaz wrote. “To stop it we have to make it less attractive, and that is a long-term struggle, similar to those against racism, homophobia and anti-Semitism.”

He could have been speaking directly to Awad when he added, “please stop denying the nature of jihadism. Please stop ignoring the narratives which drive these attacks. Instead of aiding extremists who insist Islam today is perfect, perhaps you should aid us beleaguered reformist Muslims who are attempting to address this crisis within Islam against all the odds.”

Nawaz also called out the hypocrisy of critics who don’t think images of the carnage in Nice should be shown.

Speaking on Fox News Channel, American Islamic Forum for Democracy President Zuhdi Jasser explained that “intoxicant of theocratic Islam, the sharia state” must be confronted for the terror to wane. That starts by “looking at the schools of thought of jihadism, Wahabism and Salafism. And the fact that most Americans don’t even know what those terms are is a crime.”

Unable to argue on the merits, Awad and his CAIR colleagues tend to dismiss Jasseras a sellout and simply ignore reformist voices like Nawaz’s.

But even Hamza Yusuf, founder and president of Berkeley’s Zaytunah College, an Islamic institution, acknowledges there is an Islamic root for the recent wave of terrorism. In an essay he titled “The Plague Within” – which he posted after terror attacks in Orlando, Baghdad, Bangladesh and elsewhere that were carried out during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan – Yusuf likened radical interpretations of Islam to “brain-eating amoebas.”

Citing another cleric, Yusuf said the plague is “the bitter harvest of teachings that have emanated from pulpits throughout the Arabian Peninsula, teachings that have permeated all corners of the world, teachings that focus on hatred, exclusivity, provincialism, and xenophobia. These teachings anathematize any Muslim who does not share their simple-minded, literalist, anti-metaphysical, primitive, and impoverished form of Islam, and they reject the immense body of Islamic scholarship from the luminaries of our tradition.”

While Yusuf still seems to balk at the phrase “Islamic radicalization,” he still called for action from scholars and others to counter the ideology driving the terrorism: “What we do not need are more voices that veil the problem with empty, hollow, and vacuous arguments that this militancy has little to do with religion; it has everything to do with religion: misguided, fanatical, ideological, and politicized religion. It is the religion of resentment, envy, powerlessness, and nihilism.” [Emphasis added]

Yusuf has spoken at CAIR fundraisers, and the organization spotlighted a message of his just last year.

These are but a few examples of Muslims who are trying to wage a battle of ideas within Islam in hopes of discrediting the ideology that fuels shooting massacres in Orlando and Paris, bombing massacres in Turkey, Belgium Iraq and Saudi Arabia, and now a vehicle massacre in Nice.

With the possible exception of Maajid Nawaz, none of them has the profile and bully pulpit Awad and his organization enjoy. Reporters quote them all the time and television news airs their views almost every day.

The message so far – don’t talk about religion when religious zealots kill – is a wasted opportunity of immeasurable proportions.

Al Qaeda: Kill White People So the Left Doesn’t Screw Up the Narrative

inspire guideNational Review, By David French — June 28, 2016

This would be hilarious if it didn’t signify how twisted our world has become:

Lone wolf jihadists should target white Americans so no one mistakes their terror attacks for hate crimes unrelated to the cause of radical Islam, Al Qaeda writes in the latest edition of its online magazine.

In an article first reported by The Foreign Desk, Al Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) called for more self-directed Muslim terrorists to kill in America. But the article, titled “Inspire guide: Orlando operation,” tells terrorists to “avoid targeting places and crowds where minorities are generally found” because if gays or Latinos appear to be the targets, “the federal government will be the one taking full responsibility.”

By attacking a gay club, Omar Mateen likely thought he’d chose the perfect target for illustrating his jihadist motivations. After all, ISIS and multiple other jihadist organizations are known for executing gays in particularly vile ways. But when the Left’s narrative collides with ISIS’s, the Left’s narrative wins — so a Muslim Democrat’s attack became an expression of Christian Republican hate. It was the most extraordinary perversion of truth that I’ve ever seen.

Jihadists will keep attacking, but some leftists will keep excusing. It’s a deadly race to the bottom, with each leftist excuse only postponing the day when Americans finally remember what it’s like to fight the enemy, not each other.


Also see:

Jihad: It’s Just This Simple

ORLANDO, FL - JUNE 12: Orlando police officers seen outside of Pulse nightclub after a fatal shooting and hostage situation on June 12, 2016 in Orlando, Florida. The suspect was shot and killed by police after 20 people died and 42 were injured. (Photo by Gerardo Mora/Getty Images)

ORLANDO, FL – JUNE 12: Orlando police officers seen outside of Pulse nightclub after a fatal shooting and hostage situation on June 12, 2016 in Orlando, Florida. The suspect was shot and killed by police after 20 people died and 42 were injured. (Photo by Gerardo Mora/Getty Images)

Unconstrained Analytics, by Stephen Coughlin, June 21, 2016:

In the world of ISIS jihadis, there are no forms to fill out to send in a check to get a membership card. This is not the Sierra Club. When ISIS declared to its target audience of followers in the West that this year’s Ramadan (June 5-July 5, 2016) would be a time of jihad, if they heard the call and agreed with it, under sharia law they had a duty to act. The Orlando shooter heard the call, agreed with it, and therefore had a duty to act, and acted.

It’s just this simple.

Why was the Orlando shooter an ISIS jihadi? Because he said so. He was ISIS because he declared as such when he acted. Why? Because once he agreed with ISIS’s call to jihad, he had a duty to act based on a common understanding of the doctrines of jihad in sharia — Islamic law.  Hence, it was a legal duty.

It is the legal nature of this duty that binds the ISIS call to action to the Orlando shooter’s rampage. It is a simplified and coherent form of command and control that delivers chaos to the target population while defying western predictive and behavioral models of the same. Paris, San Bernardino, and Orlando are sadly just the beginning.

One does not have to argue that all Muslims agree with such doctrines or that such interpretations are correct to demonstrate the truth of the proposition. Certainly groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaeda, and ISIS recognize such duties, they appeal to them all the time. A common thread among these groups is the demand to re-establish Islamic law so that these duties can be given greater legal effect. Not only is this not complicated; it is really quite simple.

Counter-terror analysis that incorporates these duties into their threat analysis arrive at simplified understandings of the threat that delivers clarity and predictability in support of targetable decision-making capable of supporting strategies. Counter-terror analysis of Islamic-based terrorism that fails to recognize these duties is incoherent, incompetent and assures defeat.

When glossing over basic truths by reference to scientized behavioral models, news-cycle experts obscure the issue while diluting our ability to recognize the lethal simplicity of the actual threat. As with the violent extremism narrative generally, the very memes used to discuss Orlando distort the reality of the event being covered. The relationship between duties and jihadi acts was first explained when at CENTCOM in Doha, Qatar in 2005. The goal then was to explain how some Iraqis engaged in jihadi suicide attacks against fellow Muslims in Iraq in ways that distinguished between actors and non-actors in an all-Muslim forum. The explanation is easily transferable to attacks in the West today.

There was clear warning that ISIS would attack. Reviewing recent statements from ISIS and al Qaeda before Memorial Day, I warned of strong indicators of terror attacks. In a speech in May, the ISIS Spokesperson Muhammad declared that “Ramadan has come near, and it is the month of raids and jihad, the month of conquest.” He added that these “raids and jihads” should focus on innocent civilians.

Know that inside the lands of the belligerent crusaders, there is no sanctity of blood and no existence of those called “innocents” … Know that your targeting those who are called “civilians” is more beloved to us and more effective, as it is more harmful, painful, and a greater deterrent to them. So go forth, O muwahhidin everywhere! It might be that you attain great reward or even shahadah during Ramadan.

Wahhabis dislike the term Wahhabi, preferring the term “muwahhidin.” Both al-Qaeda and ISIS are “muwahhidin.” Attaining the “great reward” concerns a declared jihadi being killed in jihad.

Spring 2016 “Inspire” magazine cover

Spring 2016 “Inspire” magazine cover

Also in May, al-Qaeda released its latest issue of Inspire magazine where, in an article on economic warfare, the first example was of Muhammad ordering raids on caravans during Ramadan. Along with a section on bomb making, the Spring 2016 issue of Inspire reiterated al-Qaeda’s preferred strategy of individual jihad for attacks in the West:

Firstly: Definition of Lone Jihãd:

The first is Jihãd: It is to make every effort to strive, and to endure in fighting the enemy.

The second is fardy (Individually): and what is intended by Lone Jihad is that the brother should implement jihad, as we have defined, but individually and independently in the land of the kuffar without having to report to the Mujahideen leadership. And this individualism and independence is the main reason for it (Lone Jihad) to be termed as a Lone Wolf attack.

America is a Kuffar nation. In the definition, Inspire recognizes the weakness of “lone wolf” when pointing out that it separates the individual nature of the actor from the jihadi mission served. As far back as 2005, the West had warning of al-Qaeda/ISIS attacks in 2016 when Der Spiegel published “What al-Qaeda Really Wants” that disclosed al-Qaeda’s operational plan including “Phase 6”, the period when 2016 was identified as the year to initiate “total confrontation.” As important, al-Qaeda first announced that its Western strategy would be based on individual jihad in its first release of Inspire magazine back in 2010. For six years al-Qaeda has openly been priming the pump on individual jihad in America.

Written in English, Inspire is directed at prospects already in the West. It hardly matters to the individual jihad schema that the only time many of the actors identify with al-Qaeda or ISIS is when they act.

From target sets, to tactics, to timing, there should be no surprise concerning terror attacks like the ones just witnessed in Orlando. We have long since been put on notice.

The difference between understanding Islamic terror and not can be measured by the chasm that exists between individual jihad and lone wolf.

  • Individual jihad has roots reaching back to the time of Muhammad, gives rise to duties, which al Qaeda announced as its principle strategy. Lone Wolf is a constructed term our counter-terror community adopted to avoid using “individual jihad” when pretending to address Islamic terrorism under the rubric of violent extremism.
  • Individual jihad has a historic basis in shariah that is supported by the duty of jihad and has a doctrinal basis. Lone wolf facilitates violent extremism narratives that anticipate idiopathic or sui generis explanations grounded in trendy pop-psychology rationales. “He was crazy, what’s there to investigate?”
  • Pretending to serve as a proxy, lone wolf masks individual jihad.
  • Individual jihad requires analysts to know what they’re talking about while lone wolf simply expects a transient grasp of the narrative. One requires mastery of the subject matter, the other simply calls for the ability to mimic a common list of talking points.

It’s no accident that the counter-terror community adopted lone wolf at about the time al-Qaeda announced its new strategy. When you get down to it, the difference between individual jihad and lone wolf terrorism is the difference between winning and losing this war. In the face individual jihad, the sophistry of lone wolves, self-radicalization, and violent extremism, along with the faux activities it spawns, may best be understood as an entertaining form of disinformation.

First published in the Daily Caller in June 2016


Stephen Coughlin on the Ben Shapiro show –  how the Obama administration has shut down the debate about Islamic terrorism and the role the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) plays in this.

Homeland Security Advisory Council: Covering for the Enemy Threat Doctrine

Terror Trends Bulletin, by Christopher W. Holton

America is at war and we continue to be prevented from identifying and understanding our enemies as a result of influence operations targeting our bureaucratized counterterrorism apparatus.

The latest evidence of this long-standing and, unfortunately, very effective influence campaign comes from the revelation that the “Countering Violent Extremism Subcommittee” of the Homeland Security Advisory Council to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has issued a recommendation that urges rejecting use of Islamic terms such as “jihad” and “shariah” in communications about the threats that we face….

This is nothing new. We have heard CIA director John Brennan reject the term “jihadist” and the State Department under Condoleezza Rice rejected the use of the term as well.

We have covered the damaging efforts by our enemies to prevent the actual correct use of the term “jihad” extensively here on Terror Trends Bulletin in the past…

But the effort to suppress even mere mention of the word “shariah” is actually much more damaging than the suppression of the word “jihad.” That’s because shariah is THE enemy threat doctrine.

To understand our enemies, their motivations, their intentions and their strategy, one must study shariah. Shariah is everything to the jihadists. It is the code that they follow and its full implementation is their goal.

Forbidding the use of the term shariah, much less suppressing study of shariah in the present conflict is the equivalent of forbidding intelligence agencies from studying Mein Kampf in World War II or the works and words of Marx, Lenin, Stalin and Mao during the Cold War.

Anyone who would recommend that we avoid studying and talking about shariah simply must have a nefarious purpose.

By way of review, shariah is Islamic law. The terms shariah and Islamic law are completely interchangeable; they refer to exactly the same thing. Shariah is an immutable theo-political-legal-military code derived from the Islamic doctrinal trilogy, made up of the Quran, the Sirah (the biography of the prophet Mohammed) and the Hadith (traditions, sayings and stories compiled about the life of Mohammed).

Every single Jihadist terrorist group in the world–without exception–has as its stated goal the imposition of shariah: the Islamic State, Al Qaeda, HAMAS, Hezbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood, Lashkar e Taiba, Abu Sayyef, Jemaah Islamiyah, Boko Haram, the Taliban, Al Shabaab–all of them.

So, while the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will be carefully avoiding the use of the term shariah, our enemies have been using it quite commonly, frequently and prominently, as if to illustrate the absurdity of the DHS recommendation.

What follows is a compilation of quotes from jihadi leaders and Al Qaeda and Islamic State documents that reveal the central importance of shariah to their movement. This is why Americans must familiarize themselves with shariah.


• The sharia has forbidden us from taking infidels as confidants, inducting them into our secrets.
• The sharia forbids us from appointing infidels to important posts.
• The sharia forbids us from adopting or praising the beliefs and views of the infidels.
• The sharia forbids us from assisting infidels against Muslims; even the one who is coerced has o excuse to fight under the banner of infidels.
• The sharia commands us to battle infidels—both original infidels and apostates, as well as hypocrites. As for waging jihad against the infidels who have usurped the lands of Islam, this is a duty considered second only to faith, by ulemaic consensus.
• The sharia does not accept the excuses made by hypocrites—that they befriend the infidels because they fear the vicissitudes of time.
• We are duty-bound by the sharia to help Muslims overcome the infidels.

Ayman al-Zawahiri
Al Qaeda leader

Osama bin Laden sits with his adviser and purported successor Ayman al-Zawahiri during an interview in Afghanistan, Barack Obama

Democracy is based on the principle of the power of creatures over other creatures, and rejects the principle of God’s absolute power over all creatures; it is also based on the idea the men’s desires, whatever they may be, replace God absolutely, and on the refusal to obey God’s law. In Islam, when there is a disagreement or a difference of opinion, one refers to God, his Prophet, and the commands of sharia.

Ayman al-Zawahiri
Al Qaeda leader

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ISIS and AQ Intention to Act?

isisaqUnconstrained Analytics, By Stephen Coughlin, May 27, 2016:

This message is not being put out to raise alarm bells too loudly but simply to point out unfolding activities that call for heightened awareness.

It is highly relevant that both ISIS and AQ put out messages within days of each – May 20 and 21 –  other that provide possible indicators of near term intention to act. The ISIS broadcast occurred in the context of a Twitter build up that indicates the exercising of a C3 node that focused on Ramadan and/or events leading to Ramadan.

This year, Ramadan begins June 6. Al Qaeda released its most current edition, Issue 15, of Inspire MagazineInspire posted dates suggesting Memorial Day (30 May) or Independence Day (July 4) as possible attack dates. Memorial Day is one week in advance of Ramadan and qualifies as an event leading up to Ramadan.

This timing and closeness of release of these two activities should cause some measure of heightened awareness that something maybe up over the period of the next week starting with Memorial Day and leading through Ramadan. As the form of attacks that we’ve seen by ISIS over the recent past – Paris, Belgium, etc – line up with the types of jihad advocated by al-Qaeda in Inspire should raise awareness of some form of functional crossover.

A brief review is in order. Of note in this discussion, both al-Qeada and ISIS are self-identified Wahhabi entities and use similar language that uniquely identifies them as such. While not wanting to overly raise the alarm bells, I do think we have indicators of possible future activity that warrants increased vigilance.

Read more

Also see:

Al Qaeda’s Inspire Magazine May Answer Metrojet 9268 Questions

Hidden-bomb-article-display-bBy Brian Fairchild, Nov. 6, 2015:

There is currently much speculation as to whether Metrojet Flight 9268, downed over the Sinai Peninsula on October 31, 2015, was the victim of Islamic State terrorism, and if so, how the attack was conducted.  The Islamic State has claimed credit for the attack, and the US and UK governments report that there is reason to believe that the plane was destroyed by an on-board explosion.  The investigation appears to be focusing on the usual suspects, such as baggage handlers, catering company employees, or other back-room personnel.  Ironically, the Islamic State’s nemesis, al Qaeda, may well have provided the answer to these questions approximately 10 months ago when it published the thirteenth issue of Inspire magazine.

That issue, which went to press on Christmas day in 2014, provided step-by-step instructions on how to destroy passenger airliners by making a simple, yet powerful bomb in a private residence using readily available products from commercial stores.

All the products needed to build the bomb were painstakingly listed, and the authors provided detailed instructions, aided by photographs, text, and graphs, on how to extract the explosive chemicals from the commercial products, and then how to cobble them together to construct the main charge, the detonator, the quick burning fuse, and the explosive starter.

The section of the magazine dealing with the bomb was titled The Hidden Bomb, because the authors intended the device to be fashioned into a brassier, underwear, or hidden in male and/or female body cavities.  The device contains no metal parts and was specifically designed to defeat airport metal detectors, scent detectors (including dogs), and pat-downs by airport personnel.   The authors advised, however, that the bomb could be detected by body-imaging machines, and so warned jihadists to avoid airports that utilized this technology.

The al Qaeda bomb makers also advised jihadists to destroy the plane at the highest altitude, and to maximize the explosive properties of the bomb by detonating their devices over the wings where the gas tanks are located, or in the rear of the plane in order to destroy the tail section and the ability of the plane to be steered.

Thus far, the technical investigation of the incident indicates that the plane was destroyed at 31,000 feet in a sudden and catastrophic event.

Brian Fairchild was a career officer in CIA’s Clandestine Service.  He has served in Asia, Southeast Asia, Europe, the Arabian Peninsula, and Afghanistan.  Mr. Fairchild writes periodic intelligence analyses on topics of strategic importance.

The Terrorist Attack in Australia: Coming to a Theater Near You

by Steven Emerson
IPT News
December 15, 2014

1102This article originally was published by

The violent conclusion to the Australian hostage taking terrorist siege was inevitable. The terrorist  was killed as the Sydney police swat team stormed the café. Even though two hostages were killed, the Sydney police had no choice but to act. After a siege lasting nearly 17 hours, police had good reason to believe that the self-anointed “Sheik” Haron Monis was going to make good on his threat to detonate the bombs he claimed to have unless his demands were met.

There had been an open line between a police hostage negotiator with the terrorist for much of that time but with up to 10 hostages remaining captive, it was feared that the terrorist was going to become a suicide bomber and thus kill everyone in the café. The Sydney police are now involved in investigating and reconstructing the time line of entire incident. But there is no doubt that the Australian police saved the lives of many more hostages.

There should be no doubt that this was a pure act of Islamic terrorism despite ludicrous assertions by some commentators that his “motivations” were unknown. We will see all sorts of “explanations” that because his rap sheet included indictments for sexual assault and murder, he was not really an Islamic terrorist but someone who was simply mentally unstable. Well, the same rationale could be said for all terrorists. After all, who in their right mind would want to kill innocent civilians because of their religious beliefs?

Islamic extremists do. And to deny their radical Islamic motivation—as our own government has done repeatedly in refusing to classify Islamic terrorist attacks as such as in the case of the massacre carried out by Major Nidal Hassan—is a guarantee that such acts will continue to be perpetuated especially by lone wolf terrorists. Australian police are investigating to determine if Monis acted alone or whether he acted in concert with other Islamic extremists or even at the behest of ISIS itself.

Last month, Monis pledged his allegiance to ISIS and renounced his Shiite heritage in an online posting that since has been taken down. Our organization, the Investigative Project on Terrorism, retrieved the page and translated it. Monis wrote:

“Pledge of allegiance [to ISIS] of Sheikh Haron”

“Allegiance with Allah and His Messenger, and the Commander of the Faithful – I pledge allegiance to Allah and His Messenger and the Caliph of the Muslims”

“Praise be to Allah and prayers and peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family and all his companions, and those who follow them and peace be upon the Commander of the Faithful, the Caliph of the Muslims, the Imam of our current era, and praise be to Allah, who made for us a Caliph of the Earth and an imam who summons us to Islam and holds fast to the Rope of Allah Almighty and praise be to Allah that I have had the honor to pledge allegiance to the Imam of our time. Those who swear allegiance to the Caliph of the Muslims are just swearing allegiance to Allah and His Messenger….”

His website also contained rants against the Australian government for their involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Australian intelligence was aware of Monis early on and had an extensive file on him based on his prior radical Islamic activities in Australia and electronic surveillance of his communications with Islamic terrorists overseas.

The terrorist incident in Sydney certainly indicates parallels with the calls for individually driven terrorist attacks by Islamic radicals throughout the West. These calls grew in prominence with Inspire magazine, put out by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) led by Anwar Al-Awlaki until he was killed by a U.S. drone. In calling for Muslims living in western countries to carry out lone wolf terrorist attacks, ISIS has copied the same playbook as AQAP in calling for local attacks whenever and where ever possible. These attacks are happening all over the world now, especially fueled beyond the Internet by the rise of social media which has pushed the message of Islamic terrorism virtually as fast as the speed of light. In the past two years alone, there have been more than 100 attempted or successful ISIS inspired Islamic terrorist attacks in Europe and the United State From Belgium to France to Oklahoma City, no place is immune from Islamic terrorism, whether it be from returning ISIS veterans or just those radical Muslims living in the West who are motivated to carry out attacks.

Moreover, it is a lethal mistake for western leaders to differentiate ISIS from other Islamic terrorist groups such as Hamas, Hizballah, Boko Haram, or Al Shabaab. Those Islamic terrorist groups are motivated by the same underlying motivations behind ISIS: to kill as many of their infidel enemies as possible and impose Islamic supremacy. The only difference is that ISIS has declared itself to be a global caliphate; the other groups are focused on becoming regional caliphates. But their genocidal agenda and tactics are no different than those of ISIS. The only reason Hamas has not been as successful as ISIS in killing its infidel enemies is that Israel has been able to stop Hamas from carrying out acts of mass murder, even though Hamas tried this past summer when it launched more than 6,000 rockets and missiles at Israel in an effort to kill as many civilians as possible. Nigeria on the other hand has been unable to stop the horrific successful attacks by Boko Haram in which more than 300 Nigerians have been slaughtered in the past year alone.

Australian intelligence agencies probably had the best handle on the domestic threat by Islamic extremists as evidenced by their successful interruption of major plots in the past year. Those plots included a plan to behead Australian civilians and a conspiracy to bomb Australian targets. But those were plots planned by conspiracies of multiple extremists. Today’s incident, however, shows the difficulties of stopping lone wolf attacks. What we are witnessing is not the rise of radical Islam. It is only an extension of the rise of radical Islam unleashed by the 9/11 attacks. The difference is that this phase is not directed by centralized organizations. Islamic terrorism has now become decentralized, creating a new challenge for western intelligence agencies. It creates extraordinary pressure to come up with new methods to monitor internal threats which are also a technical challenge as it means monitoring meta data of social media. But the most dangerous and counterproductive act would be to deny that Islamic terrorist attacks are what they are: Islamic terrorist attacks.

Steven Emerson is executive director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism and the executive producer of a new documentary about the Muslim Brotherhood in America “Jihad in America: the Grand Deception.”

MET: Readers of Radical Islamist Sites Could Be Prosecuted

New_Scotland_YardBreitbart, By Nick Hallet:

The Metropolitan Police have warned that people who seek out and read radical Islamist websites could face prosecution under anti-terrorism laws.

RT reports that a Metropolitan Police spokesman told Press Association: “The MPS Counter Terrorism Command is aware of the websites and appropriate steps have been put in place, including providing security advice where relevant.

“The public is reminded that viewing downloading or disseminating extremist material within the UK may constitute an offence under Section 1 and 2 of the Terrorism Act 2006.

“As part of our continued work, we regularly work with, and support, industry, the organisers of sporting events and companies overseeing crowded places with a variety of briefings and advice.”

The advice was issued after the latest issue of ‘Inspire’, a magazine published by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, told readers to blow up famous spots and crowded places in the UK and abroad, such as the Savoy hotel.

The magazine also contained articles on making a car bomb, and a piece by a deceased Al Qaeda leader encouraging readers to target civilians.

The first issue of the magazine, which contained the article “How to make a bomb in the kitchen of your mom” is said to have inspired the Boston bombers.

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula releases 12th issue of Inspire magazine

Inspire-AQAP-Spring-2014-edition-thumb-275x356-2923By THOMAS JOSCELYN:

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has released the 12th issue of Inspire magazine. The Long War Journal has obtained a copy of the magazine, which is published as a pdf file online.

The cover story of the magazine, “Shattered: A Story About Change,” argues that the 9/11 attacks were a “turning point” in American history. The author, Abu Abdullah Almoravid, conflates a series of unrelated issues into a single narrative that portrays the US as a crumbling empire.

In uneven English, Almoravid references everything from America’s economic woes to the elementary school shootings in Sandy Hook, Connecticut. Clumsy propaganda pieces such as “Shattered” are a regular feature in al Qaeda’s propaganda.

On a more serious note, the magazine devotes a lengthy section to what AQAP calls “Open Source Jihad.” As in past editions of Inspire, AQAP seeks to motivate and educate aspiring lone wolf jihadists who do not have the ability to receive more formal training.

In this edition, AQAP shows jihadists how to plan a car bomb attack on their own.

In the letter from the editor, Yahya Ibrahim refers to past operations, such as Faisal Shahzad’s attempted May 2010 car bombing in Times Square and the attacks on the Boston Marathon in April 2013. Shahzad was trained and dispatched by the Pakistani Taliban, but AQAP wants jihadists to emulate Shahzad’s actions on their own.

Ibrahim taunts American counterterrorism officials, saying the US government was unable to stop the Boston Marathon bombings, which utilized backpacks filled with pressure cooker bombs. Ibrahim adds, “I wonder if they are ready to stop car bombs!”

Ibrahim claims there are “many” Shahzads “residing inside America, and all they need is the knowledge of how to make car bombs” to “fulfill their duty of jihad.”

Over several pages in Inspire, AQAP offers what it says are the instructions to make a car bomb similar to Shahzad’s.

The author, dubbed the “AQ Chef,” explains how a shrapnel bomb can be assembled from common household items, including cooking gas cylinders and nails. The device can be set off by a “martyrdom bomber,” by a timer, or with a remote detonator. In the last instance, AQAP suggests a “toy-car remote, alarm remote, garage remote or any other,” as long as the bomb maker tests the remote first.

Inspire offers advice on how to avoid being detected by authorities. “It is better to start preparing the car bomb [a] few hours before the operation, because the security forces (if they come into your work place/house) cannot accuse you of preparing a bomb, especially if you distribute the ingredients in your house well,” the magazine reads.

The “AQ Chef” also offers what he calls “field data” on the types of targets that should be attacked. “This type of car bomb is used to kill individuals and NOT to destroy buildings,” he says. “Therefore, look for a dense crowd.”

The author advises jihadists that they should target places “flooded with individuals, e.g. sports events in which tens of thousands attend, election campaigns, festivals and other gathering [sic]. The important thing is that you target people and not buildings.”

Read more at Long War Journal

California Convert Arrested Trying to Join Syrian Terrorists


times-square-bomb-plot-APby :

The latest issue of Al-Qaeda’s Inspire magazine contains an article about using car bombs in U.S. cities as well as abroad during election seasons, both presidential and congressional, as well as on Christmas and New Years Eve.

The cities and areas listed in the piece include Washington, D.C., New York, Northern Virginia, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

America is our first target, followed by United Kingdom, France and other crusader countries.

As for the field target for the car-bomb, you have places flooded with individuals, e.g. sports events in which tens of thousands attend, election campaigns, festivals and other gathering. The important thing is that you target people and not buildings:

Washington DC and New York:

Washington is the capital, and New York is the former capital. Both have symbolic importance to the American people and government. Moreover, White House is in Washington, and DC has about 347,000 federal govern ment employees and many important figures in the government live there. As for New York, it is known for its status as a financial, cultural, transportation, and manufacturing center, it is the leading center of banking, finance and communication in the United States.

Northern Virginia:

It has a big military presence, almost all the military bases are based in this state, apart from the Air Force which is based in Chicago. There are federal agencies in Northern Virginia, including the headquarters of the Department of Defense and CIA; and military facilities in Hampton Roads, the site of the region’s main seaport. Virginia in general attracts a load of tourists.


It is in the mid of the US, hence it is a major transportation hub. It is an important component in global distribution, as it is the third largest inter-modal port in the world. It is also an important worldwide center of commerce. The city has the second largest financial center in the United States. Among its most important financial structures:

1. Sears Tower, a 108-story skyscraper, it held the title tallest building in the world for about 25 years.

2. The Chicago Board of Trade Building.

Los Angeles:

The most populous city in the state of California, and the second most populous in the United States. It is also the largest manufacturing center in the western United States. It is also the home base of Hollywood. Areas and Restaurants with high profile personalities – Usually these people visit the restaurants during the weekend:



Restaurants and Bars in the M street, Washington.

Tennis stadiums; they are visited by thousands of people, and high profile people, especially the US Open.

The piece includes interviews with islamist and Al-Qaeda recruiter Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in 2011, and Samir Khan, who was killed in the same air strike. Khan served as editor and publisher of Inspire up to that point. A photo of New York City is shown at the end of the piece.

Read more at Breitbart


How Inspire Magazine Uniquely Motivates Acts of Terrorism

Note: Massive thanks to Dr. Jarret Brachman for his guidance and support in putting together this post. He’s one of the best out there studying violent extremism, and we recommend that you check out his book ”Global Jihadism: Theory and Practice“ and follow him on Twitter.

The Boston bombing investigation continues to reveal new information on the two primary suspects, but quietly reported last Friday was the discovery of jihadi propaganda Inspire Magazine – produced by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) – on a computer belonging to the elder Tsarnaev brother’s widow. The publication, particularly its first issue containing instructions for building a pressure cooker bomb, was spotlighted as a possible resource immediately after the bombings.

The news the Tsarnaevs possessed Inspire, whether it directly influenced their actions or not, serves as evidence of the AQAP magazine’s reach and visibility in the jihadist community.

Now, Max Fisher at the Washington Post rightly pointed out Inspire is not the only place to find such information; so, why exclusively call out and analyze Inspire?

What makes the magazine so intriguing from a counter terrorism perspective is its seemingly unique ability to spur people into action.

There are many places where you can learn to build a destructive device; there are far fewer that emotionally instigate actual mass killing operations. As communication scholars at Arizona State University have explained, some of al-Qaida’s most effective pied pipers have been able to link widely accepted collections of stories or “master narratives” (“insult to Islam” or “support of Israel”) to challenges being faced in specific geographic locations “local narratives” to calls for individual-level action, such as using pressure cookers, knives on trucks, etc.

Narrative as the Hook

Instructions for IEDs are typically uninteresting when disconnected from incentive. Where Inspire has proven competent is living up to its name and making an act of terrorism accessible to the radicalized malcontent without an army. Take the following excerpts from Inspire #2 and Inspire #10 respectively:

Inspire #2 (October 2010): This idea could be implemented in countries like Israel, the U.S., Britain, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Denmark, Holland and other countries where the government and public sentiment is in support of the Israeli occupation of Palestine, the American invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq or countries that had a prominent role in the defamation of Muhammad. In such countries we may strike at the public at large. As long as they target our noncombatants, we will target theirs. This is one of many ways to implement this idea. You may modify it and add or subtract to it according to what is suitable for your particular conditions.


Inspire # 10 (March 2013): The French crusade on Mali is certainly connected to the historic crusades, and definitely its result won’t defer from its predecessors. So, why is France so thick in learning from its past mistakes? Is it leaving Paris undefended once again to engage in a war away from home? Woe upon you from tens of Muhammad Merah!

As you can see, there’s a heavy dose of “why” one should be willing to carry out a attack in the name of Islam. Providing a narrative, whether it be insult of Muhammad, occupation of Palestine, or American wars, loads the rest of the instructions with emotion. Next in the process is localizing the capacity for an attack.

Localizing a Mission


The above map created using Recorded Future details all of the countries mentioned in the ten issues of Inspire Magazine. As you can see, there are very specific actions tied to distinct locations following the explanation and rationalization for an attack.

Read more at Analysis Intelligence

11th Issue Of Inspire Magazine Praises And Takes Credit For Motivating Boston Bombing

images (64)MEMRI:

On May 30, 2013, jihad supporters on Twitter disseminated the eleventh issue of Inspire, the English-language jihadi magazine produced by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). In the issue, which includes threats to the American people by the group’s military commander Qassem Al-Rimi, AQAP makes an effort to capitalize on the Boston and London attacks to incite further attacks.

For the first time, the link to this latest issue – unlike the previous ones, which were published on Al-Qaeda affiliated jihadi forums – was released via Twitter. The first downloadable link was posted on a Twitter account belonging to “Muhammad Al-Shammary,” who said he had received an email with English and Arabic copies of the magazine. Al-Shammary, who uses the handle @muhammad115599 and about whom very little is known, then posted the password needed to unlock the link. Prior to Al-Shammary’s tweets, Yemeni journalist ‘Abd Al-Razzaq Al-Jamal, who is associated with the group, had posted links to the two copies; however, they did not in fact contain the magazine. Al-Jamal was the first to break the news about the magazine’s release, when he posted excerpts and pictures from the latest issue onto his Facebook page. He attributed his failed attempts to release the entire magazine to power outages in Yemen, where he lives.

The relatively small size of the issue as compared to previous ones, and the sloppy translation and editing, indicate that AQAP has not found an adequate replacement for magazine founders Anwar Al-Awlaki, the American-born cleric, and Samir Khan, another American.

Most of the articles in this issue focus on the Boston Marathon bombing. Inspire‘s publishers clearly believe that they deserve credit for providing the perpetrators with the motivation and operational know-how for the attack. More importantly, AQAP uses the current issue to incite Muslims in the West to carry out similar attacks, by emulating the Tsarnaev brothers and the Woolwich attackers. Thus, one prominent feature in the issue is a message from AQAP’s military commander, Qassem Al-Rimi, who warns the American people that such attacks will continue, and that their government is unable to stop them.

MEMRI will be sending out a full review and analysis of the 11th issue of Inspire magazine. The following are the first reports that MEMRI is releasing on Inspire’s 11th issue:

Online Jihadi Publications Luring Teens

The cover of the spring 2013 edition Al-Qaeda's slick, English online 'Inspire' magazine.

The cover of the spring 2013 edition Al-Qaeda’s slick, English online ‘Inspire’ magazine.

The Clarion Project:

Radical Islamists around the world have been reacting online to the bomb attacks that struck the Boston Marathon last month.

Since America intensified its counterterrorism efforts against al-Qaeda over the last several years, the terrorist group’s leaders have called on their followers in the United States to carry out smaller-scale attacks while at the same time providing online education and teach them how to carry them out.

According to Shiraz Maher of the International Center for the Study of Radicalization, the bombings at the Boston Marathon not only caught U.S. intelligence services by surprise, but debate raged onjihadist websites over the motivations and its implications.

“In the most generic and broadest sense, there was a sense of celebration on the jihadi forums. These guys are committed jihadists. They hate the United States and the West,” Maher said.

Terror analyst Raffaello Pantucci of the Royal United Services Institute says al-Qaeda cells are encouraging radicalized individuals in the West through the internet. Al-Qaeda has developed a new tactic which essentially teaches that even if it cannot take lives directly, it wants to inflict economic and financial losses on the United States and the West generally.

This is “Open-source jihad as they call it, in which individuals are very much empowered or the emphasis is on them to launch attacks where they can on targets that they specifically identify using materials on hand,” Pantucci said.

Read more

Stephen Coughlin: The Boston Attack and Doctrines of “Individual Jihad”


Center For Security Policy:

In this video lecture, Center for Security Policy senior fellow Stephen Coughlin explains doctrinal and historical background for the recent jihadist attack in Boston. Beginning with media reports willfully confused about the motivations of the Chechen Mulsim Tsarnaev brothers, Coughlin deconstructs the lineage of the ‘individual jihad’ vs ‘jihad by bands’ or secret, foreign-controlled cells.


Key Points:

1. The government and media’s ‘reality dislocation’ in false narratives for Boston jihadists’ motivations.

Political or ideological considerations are promoted ahead of actual analysis. Placing motivation on idiosyncratic psychological factors constitutes a lack of understanding that, at some point, could be understood as a campaign of  disinformation.

2. In one of the final pronouncements of the Ottoman Caliphate during WWI, the concept of “individual jihad” was outlined alongside other types of jihad.

The statement included a  Koranic proof putting “individual jihad” into context. The major schools of Islamic law agree that a “call to jihad” is binding, especially when issued from the seat of the Caliph. Another type of jihad described by the statement is “jihad by bands” (also known as brigands); “the most profitable of [jihad by bands] is that which makes the use of ‘secret formations’”– otherwise known today as terrorist cells.

3. Any analysis of the Boston bombing– especially considering the use of pressure cooker bombs– should have began with an awareness of al Qaeda’s 2010 change in strategy.

In it’s first edition of the English-language Inspire Magazine, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula outlined its change of strategy in its conflict with the West: it would move from an emphasis on ‘secret formations/organizations’ and ‘overt fronts and open confrontation’ to “individual jihad,” known as “lone-wolf terrorism.”

4. “How to Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom.”

Inspire Magazine included a recipe for pressure cooker bombs in its first edition and, crucially, reprised that article in its most recent edition on “the Lone Mujahid” (the individual jihadist). Interestingly, the issue– which was released in Spring 2013, just in advance of the Boston attack– featured a photograph of Times Square on its cover. Note the next target of the Tsarnaev brothers was reported to be Times Square.

5. Convergence of al Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood stages.

The inaugural edition of Inspire Magazine included a notice to da’wah-oriented Islamist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood; the message was that events on the ground in the Muslim world were primed for proceeding from ‘Mecca’ stage to the ‘Media’ stage, as according to the Milestones Process and the concept of Abrogation in Islamic law. Essentially, it is a call to go to war. In late 2010, the Muslim Brotherhood reoriented itself under new leadership and seemed to embrace the transition to the more militant phase, also putting emphasis on “individual acts of sacrifice” or jihad/martyrdom operations.[For more analysis of the Islamist convergence, see ‘Part 4: The Muslim Brotherhood, Arab Spring & the Milestones Process‘]

6. The winter 2012 issue of Inspire Magazine outlines what is meant by ‘Individual jihad’– with consideration to attacking large sporting events, of which the Boston Marathon was certainly one.

Inspire point out, also, that the lone jihadist should avoid killing foreigners from countries with which the Islamic ummah is not at war. In line with that guidance, the Tsarnaev brothers waited until most foreign nationals had finished the race and set off the bombs during the time when average Americans, for the most part, were in the blast radius.

7. What al Qaeda Really Wants, circa 2005.

Investigative reporting in Der Spiegel with remarkable access to and insight from al Qaeda strategists points to AQ goals and– surprisingly– how closely their milestones have been met. The “Fourth Phase” predicts the collapse of the relatively secular Arabic governments (in Egypt, Libya, Syria, Tunisia, etc), to be followed by the overthrow of the kingdoms. The Fifth Phase describes the rise of the Caliphate and the Sixth is “total confrontation” with the west. For a group that the Obama administration calls, “on the ropes,” they are well into their multi-phase plan.

8. “Against them Make Ready” and Convergence.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s motto as a da’wah organization, taken from the first words of Koran 8:60, is “Against them make ready.” The following phrase– “…and prepare against them to the utmost of your power” appears on the cover of the Spring 2013 Inspire Magazine special Lone Mujahid Pocketbook. Also in the same issue, al Qaeda re-published the pressure cooker bomb recipe. (Did they have any operational awareness?)

9. The Explanatory Memorandum’s “Process of Settlement.”

Analyzing the Muslim Brotherhood in America’s strategic document, as entered into evidence in America’s largest terrorism funding trial, US vs. Holy Land Foundation. From the Memorandum: “The process of settlement is a ‘Civilization-Jihadist Process’ with all the word means. The Ihkwan must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.” In other words, the Muslim Brotherhood defines “settlement” as “a jihadist process.”

10. “Islamic Center of…” / Islamic Society of…”

Both phrases can be seen as “brands” indicating involvement of the Muslim Brotherhood at the leadership or foundational level. The Explanatory Memorandum goes on to describe how “The Islamic Center in every city… achieves the goal of the Process of Settlement” [defined earlier as a ‘Civilization-Jihadist Process’]: “The Islamic Center [is] in action not in words.. a seed ‘for a small Islamic society’ which is a reflection and a mirror to our central organizations.” In other words, Muslim Brotherhood-established and administered mosques in the United States should be assessed according to this mission. This is especially true for mosques with strong ties to MB entities like the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), both unindicted co-consprirators in the Holy Land Foundation trial.

11. The Islamic Centers’ mission is to “supply our battalions.”

The Explanatory Memorandum further defines the goals and strategic uses for its Islamic Centers: it “should be the same as the mosque’s role during the time of God’s prophet… when he marched to ‘settle’ the Da’wah in its first generation in Medina, from the mosque…” This makes clear the Muslim Brotherhood’s future vision; in the first generation of Islam, Mohammed used mosques in the Medina period as staging areas for attacks on non-Muslim tribes in Arabia. The military implications of this phrase are clear and important to understand.

12. “Islamic Society of…” Boston.

Founded by Abdulrahman Alamoudi, a long-time Muslim Brother who was convicted of attempted murder of a foreign dignitary with al Qaeda involvement. Similarly, Anwar al Awlaki was a popular and powerful voice of “moderate Islam” before revealing himself as the head of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. The lesson is, when dealing with Muslim Brotherhood, there are no sharp dividing lines between the that and more well-known “militant jihadist” groups.

13. The Purge of Counterterror Training.

About Stephen Coughlin

Over more than a decade following 9/11, MAJ Stephen Coughlin was one of the US government’s most astute and objective analysts, and an expert in the connections between Islamic law, terrorism and the jihadist movement around the globe. Through knowledge of published Islamic law, MAJ Coughlin had an demonstrated ability to forecast events both in the Middle East and domestically and to accurately assess the future threat posture of jihadist entities before they happen. He has briefed at the Pentagon, for national and state law enforcement and intelligence agencies, and on Capitol Hill for Members of Congress. With this series of presentations, the general public has access to a professional standard of intelligence training in order to better understand the jihadist threat.


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