"Jihobbyists" No More: English-Speaking Western Jihadists Coming of Age
By Evan Kohlmann
Perhaps the most ironic aspect of all the media attention in the latest criminal allegations against "Jihad Jane" is that Colleen LaRose of Pennsylvania is only the latest example of this odd emerging trend in homegrown terrorism. Indeed, LaRose is hardly alone in this category, whether we speak of London resident Samina Malik, an active user on jihadi social networking forums who busied herself with transcribing Al-Qaida training manuals into English during spare time at her job working in secure areas of Heathrow Airport--or Canadian citizen Beverly Giesbrecht (a.k.a. Khadija Abdul Qahhar), who was taken hostage by the Taliban during rather suspicious travels through North Waziristan. Both men and women who were once written off as hapless wannabes and mere "jihobbyists" are unexpectedly rising to the occasion, in often quite desperate bids to prove their total commitment to the cause.
These individuals are, more frequently than not, English-speaking with only a cursory knowledge of Arabic or the Middle East. Their pedigree is less than elite, and they lack the traditional connections back to Al-Qaida's central leadership. Yet, even Al-Qaida's senior echelon now openly recognizes the critical value of these potential "lone wolf" operatives. In several prominent publications--including both the latest video from American Al-Qaida spokesman Adam Gadahn and the most recent official magazine from Al-Qaida in Yemen--the terror group has openly broadcast its pleasure and interest in the actions of such independent actors as Ft. Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Malik Hassan and Jordanian webmaster and CIA bomber Humam al-Balawi (a.k.a. Abu Dujanah al-Khorasani). Gadahn specifically pointed to the example of Ft. Hood and urged American Muslims, "it is rapidly becoming clear that this already hot global battle is about to get even hotter. This is a war which knows no international borders and no single battleground, and that’s why I am calling on every honest and vigilant Muslim in the countries of the Zionist-Crusader alliance in general and America, Britain and Israel in particular to prepare to play his due role in responding to and repelling the aggression of the enemies of Islam. This is the golden, once in a lifetime opportunity to reap the rewards of Jihad and martyrdom we have been waiting for, so unsheathe your sharpened sword and rush to take your rightful place among defiant champions of Islam like Mir Aimal Kansi, Muhammad Bouyeri, Nidal Malik Hasan and many others like them... it is for you – like your heroic Mujahid brother Nidal Hasan – to decide how, when and where you discharge this duty."
In this regard, I draw particular emphasis to the words of the "media emir" of the now-infamous Ansar al-Mujahideen web forum, Abu Omar al-Maqdisi:
"We were ordinary members at the al-Ekhlaas forum and we learned a lot from the brothers who took charge of jihadi media work before us—and it is only normal for us to start our own active campaign at the first chance we got. And that’s what we did, so we established this site, and told everyone we knew from the al-Ekhlaas network about this forum…We went outside the usual jihadi media route, but we terrorize in the real world as much as we terrorize online, so whoever wishes to join is welcome, and those who don’t should hold their tongues about us and go away. And although low in number, we are strong in determination, and anyone who joins us will realize that immediately.. say, if any of the brothers at al-Fajr Media wishes to receive assurances about us and if you are in communication with them, then inform them that we would like to meet with them. We ask them to come here and distribute a bulletin outlining the action plan for the al-Ansar network—and we are willing to blow ourselves up near the infidels at any moment, and if they have enough resources to provide us with the necessary financing, then a terrorist is ready."
March 11, 2010 12:07 PM Link