In al-Qaeda’s new magazine: ‘Make a bomb in your kitchen’

Bbbbbut I thought Islam is a Religion of Peace..............

Friday, Jul. 2, 2010

A new magazine purportedly produced by al-Qaeda — which instructs readers on such choice topics as “open-source jihad” and how to build a bomb using common ingredients from their mother’s kitchen — is designed to bolster recruitment efforts in Western countries, experts say.

Several pages from the English-language offering called Inspire made rounds on the Internet this week, providing an apparent glimpse into the latest campaign by al-Qaeda’s Arabian peninsula branch.

On the magazine’s cover, a shadowy militant lurks beneath a banner headline reading: “May our souls be sacrificed for you!” The article is attributed to Anwar al-Awlaki, the U.S.-born, Yemen-based online propagandist believed to have inspired the Fort Hood massacre and the failed Christmas Day underwear bombing on an airliner over Detroit.

“A magazine like this, it really opens up a much larger pool of potential recruits,” said Gregory Johnsen, an expert in Yemeni studies at Princeton University, said Thursday.

Mr. Johnsen noted on Thursday the target audience appears to be disaffected Westerners unable to relate to al-Qaeda’s Arabic-language offerings.

Front-page pointers direct readers to a series of featured articles, including “Make a bomb in the kitchen of your mom” and “What to expect in jihad.”

Though some are questioning the magazine’s authenticity, western governments are taking the document seriously, Mr. Johnsen said. Officials with the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency did not return messages on the topic yesterday.

Only the first three pages of the magazine — including the cover, table of contents and a letter from the editor — have been widely circulated in electronic format; the remainder of the files are reportedly corrupt.

Mr. Johnsen points to a growing contingent of English speakers within the al-Qaeda organization, noting Inspire provides a direct conduit to westerners who may be influenced to carry out attacks in their home countries.

“We’ve seen that there are disgruntled Muslims living in the west amongst us who are looking for a means to carry out mass-casualty killings, so certainly this lends itself to that sort of a person,” noted Brian Williams, a University of Massachusetts expert in international terrorism.

“I think there are a lot of armchair suicide bombers or armchair terrorists who simply need to be mobilized and motivated, and perhaps need some tangible instruction on how to do it,” he said.

Other features in the magazine include an exclusive interview with Abu Basir, the leader of al-Qaeda’s Arabian peninsula faction; a “message to the people of Yemen” from Osama bin Laden’s deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri; and a section on how to send and receive encrypted messages relating to terrorism.

“This Islamic Magazine is geared towards making the Muslim a mujahid in Allah’s path,” states a letter from the editor.

The seemingly tongue-in-cheek nature of articles such as “Make a bomb in the kitchen of your mom” may indicate the magazine is an elaborate parody, suggests Atlantic associate editor Max Fisher.

“The web-based ‘jihadi’ community itself seems suspicious,” he writes in an online article. “The report has received little attention on web forums, especially given its apparent importance.”

Regardless, Mr. Williams says the spread of such electronic propaganda dilutes the significance of physical strikes against extremist groups overseas.

“You don’t need a physical base to train and inspire people to carry out these types of bombings,” he said. “You have a virtual base on the internet, a virtual al-Qaeda.”