This is the question that my former colleague, Jacob Amis, and I have analysed in our paper for the latest issue of Hudson’s Current Trends in Islamist Ideology. In the piece, we attempt to provide an overview of the parallel journeys to jihad of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (the so-called “underwear bomber”) and his al-Qaeda mentor, Anwar al-Awlaki.
The Global Islamic Media Front, al-Qaeda’s official media group, has recently released a translation of a speech in support of Anwar al-Awlaki. Originally produced by al-Malahem media, which is the media wing of Yemen’s al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), its target audience is Americans and the West.
It has recently emerged that Mohammad Abdul Aziz, a ‘Senior Muslim Adviser’ to the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) – a department tasked with promoting community cohesion – is an honorary member of the East London Mosque (ELM), an institution that is not uncontroversial.
MEMRI have now made available a transcript of the full length version of an interview with Anwar al-Awlaki that al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) released earlier this year. Extracts were shown on al-Jazeera in February of this year.
Revolution Muslim, a US-based extremist organisation, has issued death threats against Matt Stone and Trey Parker, the makers of animated sitcom ‘South Park’, after their latest episode which satirised the ongoing hysteria about depicting Mohammed. In what is yet another example of the ongoing influence Anwar al-Awlaki has on Western jihadism, the religious justification used by the group for killing Stone and Parker was taken from a 2008 Awlaki lecture ‘The Dust Will Never Settle Down’.
Since 9/11, the CIA’s targeted killings list has had names like Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar on it, and has never included an American citizen. That changed recently, when President Obama authorised the inclusion of Anwar al-Awlaki to the list of targets who should be either captured or killed.
The jihadist theorist with an extensive network of British supporters, Anwar al-Awlaki, is currently on the run in Yemen. Still, that hasn’t stopped him issuing a new audio message.
The al-Qaeda theorist Anwar al-Awlaki has an expansive network of supporters in the United Kingdom. My colleague Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens has produced an authoritative report on the matter for the Centre for Social Cohesion – a think tank that has consistently warned us about Awlaki. I won’t reproduce the report here, but would urge readers of this blog to consult it very closely.