Steal from enemy to fund terror: Al Qaeda

Thursday, January 20, 2011

WASHINGTON - A top Al Qaeda leader has urged extremists to steal from non-Muslims to fund their activities.

A five-page article in online terror magazine Inspire, written by Anwar al-Awlaki, a US-origin Yemeni radical cleric regarded by many as one of Al Qaeda’s most dangerous leaders, gives Islamic justification to rob non-believers to fund jihad or holy war, the Washington Times said.

“Rather than the Muslims financing their jihad from their own pockets, they should finance it from the pockets of their enemies,” Awlaki says in the article, a lengthy recitation of the Islamic jurisprudential debate over “ganimah” or war booty.

“Our jihad cannot depend wholly on donations made by Muslims,” he writes, noting “jihad around the world is in dire need of financial support”.

The 67-page magazine, the fourth edition of Inspire, was published last weekend by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the Yemen-based arm of the global terror group.

Analysts say the article shows that the US and its allies are succeeding in drying up sources of terrorist funding.

“It is significant that he took the time and space to offer this justification now,” Thomas Joscelyn, a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, told The Washington Times.

“It is even more significant because he juxtaposes (stealing funds) to donations.”

In his article, Awlaki draws on the concept in Islamic theology and jurisprudence of “dar al harb”, or “land of war” - those parts of the world where Muslims and non-believers are in a state of conflict - to argue that “Muslims are not bound by the covenants of citizenship”.

“It is the consensus of our scholars that the property of the disbelievers in dar al harb is halal (permissible for believers to use) and is a legitimate target for the mujahedin,” Awlaki says.

The latest edition of Inspire also contains an article urging lone-wolf extremists in the West to blow up buildings using natural gas - a plot thought to have originated almost a decade ago with Sep 11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed.

Analysts linked both these articles to a new emphasis on bottom-up organising by Al Qaeda, in which the terrorist network uses the Internet to radicalise young Muslims and then incites them to commit small-group or lone-wolf attacks.

Using social media is an important part of the bottom-up strategy, and among other websites from which Inspire could be downloaded Tuesday morning was a Facebook page, the Washington Times said.

By the afternoon, the page was unavailable, though the magazine was still accessible through multiple file-sharing sites on the Internet.

Filed under: Terrorism

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