A complete version of the audio statement by Taimor Adbulwahab al-Abdaly has now been released. Although various media agencies have released parts of it, this is the first I have heard of the full audio. Below is the audio and transcript followed by a short analysis.
I’m going to keep this very short and simple.
To Sweden and to [inaudible] in it:
You have Lars Vilks – the pig Lars Vilks – to blame, and yourselves for these actions. Your quietness for the painting and your support for your soldiers, now understand, brought you to this unpleasant situation.
The Islamic state, may Allah protect it, and its people have now begun to fulfil its promises. And do know one thing: we are not – we are not a lie or imagination, we are for real and do now exist among you, Europeans. So stop your drawings and – stop your drawings of our prophet Muhammad [Arabic], withdraw your soldiers from Afghanistan and no more oppression against Islam or Muslims will be tolerated in any way or any means.
And to the Muslims I say: fear Allah, stop your humiliating life and live for the hereafter, support the Muslims with your wealth and souls.
To my wife and family I say: please forgive me and at least try to – I love you all. Please forgive me if I lied to you. It … wouldn’t been possible to tell you who I really was. It wasn’t very easy to live the last four years with the secret of being mujahid or, as you call it, terrorist.
To my love – to my love, to my wife: I love you and this is not a lie. Please forgive me. It wasn’t easy to keep secrets from you. My travels to the Middle East were – wasn’t for business. It was for jihad. Tell the children that I love them and that their dad couldn’t sit back and watch the pigs humiliate our beloved Prophet Muhammad and the Muslims without doing something about it. And I hope … you will be my wife in the hereafter as well.
Please do know one thing: you and the children are the best of what happened to me in this life.
Last but not least, I say to all mujahedeen: please do not forget me in your prayers, may Allah accept me as a martyr and my request from you is to pray janazah [funeral prayer] for me as the Muslims are so humiliated here in Sweden and other places in Europe that they sometimes pray for non-Muslims. And to all hidden mujahedeen in Europe, and especially in Sweden: it’s now the time to strike, even if you only have a knife to strike with, and I do know you that have more than that
[all bold emphasis added]
His mention of the Mohammed cartoons, as I have pointed out elsewhere, suggests he could have been influenced by Anwar al-Awlaki, who has called for the killing of Swedish Motoonist Lars Vilks and his editor at Nerikes Allehande, Ulf Johannson. I would be very surprised if, in the course of the investigation into al-Abdaly, there is no mention of Awlaki.
According to al-Qaeda expert Evan Kholmann, al-Abdaly’s reference to the ‘Islamic State’ is without doubt a direct reference to the Islamic State of Iraq, also known as al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI). Kholmann is rarely, if ever, wrong on these issues, but in this case he may have jumped the gun. The way in which al-Abdaly refers to this state – ‘we are not a lie or imagination, we are for real and do now exist among you’ – suggests that he may instead be referring to the Ummah [worldwide community of believers] in jihadist terms. He also makes no specific mention of Iraq, asking only that soldiers be removed from Afghanistan, though admittedly this is likely to have been an oversight more than anything else. However, al-Abdaly is Iraqi born, and the ‘we’ could indeed by referring to AQI – time will soon tell, and I may well be mistaken on this.
His claims to have been a mujahid over the last four years further cement suspicions that he was radicalised while in Luton, where he lived since 2001. What is unclear as yet is how he defined being a holy warrior. It could mean that he, like many online ‘jihobbyists’, merely considered himself as doing the work of God by preaching jihad (as he did at his local mosque) or disseminating al-Qaeda materials. If, however, his claims to have travelled to the Middle-East for jihad are true, it could also indicate that he had received training from al-Qaeda sometime during or after 2006. The latter suggestion is plausible considering his Iraqi citizenship, but no information has yet been released suggesting this to be the case.
Near the end he calls for the mujahideen in Europe to rise up and strike, ‘even if you only have a knife to strike with’. As well as possibly being a direct hat-tip to Roshonara Choudhary, who stabbed Stephen Timms MP in revenge for his support for the Iraq war, he is also endorsing a strategic shift that al-Qaeda has been suggesting for some time. Earlier this week, I discussed this very issue on BBC World News (video below, 3.04 minutes in), where I suggested that, if al-Abdaly was indeed working alone, he may have been following the instructions for lone-wolf attackers as set out in al-Qaeda’s Inspire magazine.
In one section of the second issue of the magazine (which is produced by al-Qaeda’s Yemeni wing, AQAP), entitled ‘open source jihad’, potential terrorists are told to pursue small scale attacks, using any murderous means at their disposal. Such self-starter and organisationally unconnected attacks are almost undetectable to the security services. Inspire even offers a number of suggestions to avoid unwanted attention, telling them among other things to beware of sting operations of the sort favoured by the FBI, to avoid travelling overseas to ‘join the mujahideen’ and to avoid visiting any jihadi websites.
However, as I also suggested on the BBC, the involvement of explosives in this operation makes it unlikely, though not impossible, that he was acting completely on his own. The complicated nature of constructing such a (albeit poorly assembled) device usually indicates some form of formal training. The Times Square bomber, for example, though acting alone, did receive bomb-making training for the Pakistani Taliban.
Many questions still remain about the most recent al-Qaeda inspired terrorist attack in Europe, the only thing we know for certain is that this will not be the last one.