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Entries in Middle East Media Research Institute (1)

Monday
Oct112010

U.S. Citizen and Creator of Al Qaeda English-Language Magazine Proud to be a Traitor

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Al Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula has released a second issue of their online English-language magazine called Inspire, which U.S. officials say is designed to incite and recruit Western extremists to undertake terrorist activity and attacks.  The magazine’s second issue includes an article from Samir Khan, an American citizen from North Carolina who left for Yemen last year and is believed by U.S. officials to be the creator of the magazine, which is a collection of articles on conducting attacks and messages from terrorist leaders. 

The latest issue includes articles allegedly penned by Osama Bin Laden and radical Yemeni-American cleric Anwar Al-Awlaki, who has become a prominent member of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the group that has claimed responsibility for the failed Christmas Day bombing of Northwest flight 253.

Khan was born in Saudi Arabia but grew up in New York and eventually moved to North Carolina, where he was known for operating a handful of websites from his parents' basement, including one that had praised Osama Bin Laden and showed footage of attacks against U.S. forces in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Khan’s websites had been shut down at times. 

In an article titled “I Am Proud To Be a Traitor to America," Khan writes about becoming a traitor and leaving the U.S. He writes, “I praise Allah and laugh at the intelligence agencies that were watching me for all those years. Back in North Carolina, the FBI dispatched a spy on me who pretended to convert to Islam.” Khan notes that he is “Al Qaeda to the core…[and] could no longer reside in America as a compliant citizen."

Copies of the second issue of Inspire were first reported and found by researchers with the Washington D.C.- based Middle East Media Research Institute.

The online magazine is another telling example of the vast amount of terrorism-related propaganda that is floating around on the Internet.  Last year, the FBI’s Directorate of Intelligence estimated that there were as many as 15,000 websites and Web forums that were supportive of terrorist activities, and that about 80 percent of those sites existed on U.S.-based computer servers.  U.S. counterterrorism and intelligence analysts remain concerned about the spread of Internet propaganda and its ability to possibly incite violence.

Last month, FBI Director Robert Mueller testified before Congress, “The Internet has expanded as a platform for spreading extremist propaganda, a tool for online recruiting and a medium for social networking with like-minded extremists.  And this has contributed to the threat from homegrown radicalization in the United States.”

The magazine has several news items on the controversy over the placement of an Islamic Center near Ground Zero as well as the controversial Pastor Terry Jones, whose plan to burn Korans on September 11th prompted widespread outrage both in the U.S. and in the Muslim world before he ultimately decided against it. The magazine says the issue of the Islamic center “reveals to us the religious discrimination that exists in America.” Regarding the Jones controversy, the magazine notes, “The Qur’an burning event led by Terry Jones teaches us the crookedness of U.S. laws, specifically the first amendment on the freedom of speech.  It reveals that its law is a crime to billions of people who share the same planet.”

The Department of Homeland Security and the FBI issued an intelligence note after the first issue of Inspire was published online.  DHS and the FBI noted they were concerned “that the sophisticated, colloquial English-language magazine could appeal to certain Western individuals and inspire them to conduct attacks in the United States in the future.”

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“I Am Proud To Be a Traitor to America.”






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