al-Qaida on the Arabian Peninsula
Tore Hamming

‘O Mujahideen in the West’: Interview with Hurras al-Tawheed

Within Jihadi propaganda, terrorism in the West against ‘the crusaders’ or ‘the infidels’ features prominently. The AQAP-produced magazine Inspire specialized in calling for action and advising al-Qaida supporters on how to attack in addition to providing religious justification. The latest issue of Inspire was published in summer 2017, and since then a string of new magazines and supporter organizations calling for terrorist attacks has emerged. One such example is the Wolves of Manhattan magazine that has so far published three issues.  In February 2022, another new magazine started to be shared on encrypted platforms carrying the title ‘O Mujahideen in the West’. Until now, the group behind the magazine, Hurras al-Tawheed, has published six issues and a Ramadan special issue. Initially, the magazine did not stand out for its calls for jihad in the West. What really caught my attention was how it positioned itself within the Jihadi current and its way of communicating.

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Fatwa calling for the death of the director, producer, and actors involved in making the film “Innocence of Muslims”

Yesterday, Ahmad ‘Ashush published a fatwa on the jihadist forums where he “decrees and calls on all Muslim youth in America and in Europa to fulfill this inescapable obligation. Namely, to kill the director, producer and the actors and anyone who helped to promote this film.” The fatwa was published by the relatively new al-Bayan media group that has established itself in the jihadist forums since the turmoil in Egypt. The media group acts in parallel to the al-Faruq media battalion, which has in the meantime published several videos showing Egyptian cleric Ahmad ‘Ashush with other renowned jihadist scholars in Tahrir, such as Muhammad al-Zawahiri or Marjan Salim (videos here and here). Ahmad ‘Ashush first surfaced in the al-Shumukh forum a while ago with a lengthy interview talking about the Hizb al-Nur (here) and established himself as an Islamic authority clearly adhering to the “jihadist torrent” while his – as

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Breivik and Al-Qaeda

In his summary of a massive manifesto written by Anders Breivik, the alleged terrorist who carried out Friday’s horrible attacks in Norway, Blake Hounshell observes that although Breivik wants to purge Europe of Islam, he also deeply admires al-Qaeda.  Indeed, Breivik is inspired by the organization’s quest for cultural purity in the Middle East and wishes to do the same in Europe using similar means: “Just like Jihadi warriors are the plum tree of the Ummah, we will be the plum tree for Europe and for Christianity.”  This symmetry is also noted by Spencer Ackerman, who provides a very useful rundown of the intellectual parallels between Breivik and al-Qaeda. Breivik admires few other terrorist groups, listing al-Qaeda as one of only two successful terrorist organizations. The reason for al-Qaeda’s success, he argues, is that it made other Islamists look moderate in comparison, making it easier for them to culturally gobble up

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Alleged Claim for Oslo Attacks

This was posted by Abu Sulayman al-Nasir to the Arabic jihadi forum, Shmukh, around 10:30am EST (thread 118187).  Shmukh is the main forum for Arabic-speaking jihadis who support al-Qaeda.  Since the thread is now inaccessible (either locked or taken down), I am posting it here.  I don’t have time at the moment to translate the whole thing but I translated the most important bits on twitter. Update: Abu Sulayman has now issued a retraction, stating clearly that “Helpers” was not involved in the operation and that his statement was not an official statement. He says those who carried out the attacks “must surely be known to all.” Update2: “Surely known to all” apparently means a right-wing Norwegian extremist who likes World of Warcraft and Dexter. الحمد لله ناصر عباده الموحدين ومذل اهل الشرك والكفر اجمعين والصلاة والسلام على نبينا محمد خاتم النبيين وعلى اله وصحبه اجمعين وبعد قال تعالى :

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Jihadi Encryption

The Wall Street Journal ran a fascinating story on Monday about the encryption methods employed by radical Islamist activists. The details emerged in the ongoing UK trial of Rajib Karim. The article is a reminder that there is more to online jihadism than what we see published on radical websites.

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The Iraq Connection

A key question in the Stockholm investigation is whether Taymour Abdalwahhab was acting on behalf of the al-Qaida linked group “Islamic State in Iraq”. The question matters because if he was, then ISI is targeting Europe and can be expected to send more bombers. First, let me stress that “acting on behalf of” means someting more than simply “training with”. Given Taymour’s Iraqi background, his recent trips to Jordan (and possibly Syria), and his own claim of having been to the Middle East for jihad, we can pretty much assume that he trained with Islamist militants in Iraq. What we are trying to find out is whether he was dispatched by ISI – i.e. whether the plot was initiated, directed and resourced by senior ISI operatives – or whether he simply attended a camp and then acted independently, in a manner comparable to Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad. There is some concrete evidence in favour of Taimour having a close ISI

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Stockholm (2)

Forum readers woke up this morning to find Taimour’s picture on the top banner of Shumukh (the main jihadi forum). The banner advertises a poem by a certain “Sha’ir al-Ansar” (Poet of the Ansar) praising Taimour Abdalwahab. At first sight this might seem like the work of an accomplice, but the poet explicitly states that he did not know Taimour personally. More interesting is the posting of a new audio message by a certain Abu Sulayman al-Nasir titled “Warning to NATO Countries Following the Stockholm Raid.” The message echoes an earlier statement by the same person issued on 20 November. What’s interesting here is not so much the messages as the messenger, because Abu Sulayman al-Nasir is the same person who first mentioned Taimour Abdulwahhab’s name on Shumukh. This obviously raises the possibility that he has some connection to the Stockholm attack. The problem is that the earliest public reference to Taimour’s name was made on 11 December at

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Scandinavia witnessed its first suicide bombing yesterday when a man blew himself up in Stockholm, killing nobody but himself. There is an excellent roundup here (Swedish only, i am afraid).  Key information points: The bomber has been identified as Taimour Abdalwahhab al-Abdaly, a 28-year old man of Iraqi origin who moved to Sweden in 1992. He leaves a wife and three children. See here and here for profiles. The bomber sent an audio statement to a Swedish news agency shortly before the blast. The recording is available here. In the statement the bomber says he recently traveled to the Middle East “for jihad”. His Facebook page reportedly contained recent pictures of him in Jordan. The bomber lived for a while in Luton, UK, a city with a well known community of radical Islamists. The bomber’s facebook page reportedly carried gradually more jihadi videos starting in the spring of 2010 A Swedish explosives expert who examined pictures from the scene described the bomb as amateurish. The jihadi internet forum

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Al-Qaida and Norway

Why would al-Qaida attack Norway? Here are some thoughts by Dominic Tierney and yours truly. I also have other, somewhat less obvious thoughts on the matter, but I will wait to share them until we know more about the facts in the case.

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Homegrown Literature

Since the topic of homegrown militancy is very much in focus these days, I wanted to flag a very interesting series of reports on radicalization in various European countries produced by the Centre for Studies of Islamism and Radicalisation at Aarhus University in Denmark. The Centre’s mission is to bridge the gap between the fields of terrorism studies and Islamism studies, and their reports do that quite nicely.

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