Al-Qaeda is starting an English language magazine as part of a fresh effort to recruit and inspire Western jihadis to launch attacks in their own countries.
UK Telegraph Advertisement for ‘Resurgence’ magazine uses words of Malcolm X in appeal to disaffected Muslims in US and Europe, as it turns focus away from Middle East.
A video posted on YouTube (immediately removed by Youtube) uses the words of Malcolm X to justify violent struggle, before announcing the name of the magazine,Resurgence. It appears to be modelled on Inspire, an online publication produced by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which has carried messages from Osama bin Laden, bomb making directions and tactics for launching “lone wolf” attacks.
However, the new magazine appears to be the first English language magazine from the group’s core leadership and is advertised with a slick video from as-Sahab, its media production house. Analysts believe it marks a shift from al-Qaeda’s recent focus on Syria.
It mixes graphics, images of George W Bush and warplanes launching missiles with a speech by Malcolm X, the African-American Muslim leader, in which he said: “You can’t ever reach a man if you don’t speak his language. If a man speaks the language of brute force, you can’t come to him with peace.”
Magnus Ranstorp, a terrorism expert at Swedish National Defence College, said the choice was significant, playing on polarisation among youths from immigrant communities and using social tension to justify violence.
“Its simplicity appeals in many ways. It focuses on the raw emotions of victimhood in the Muslim world which reinforces the al-Qaeda narrative that the West is aggressively at war with Islam,” he said. The use of English, he said, reinforced the idea it was directed at second and third generation immigrants as well as converts.
And it suggested something of a response to the groups troubles in Syria, where the core leadership has cut ties to its offshoot the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham.
An analysis published by IntelCenter, a counter-terrorism intelligence service, concluded the magazine may signify a shift from the Middle East, Afghanistan and Pakistan – and a slew of messages in Urdu – back to the West.
“The announcement of the Resurgence magazine is a strong indicator that as-Sahab is working to make a major push back into the English language,” it said. “The content and tone of the video indicates that this will likely be along the lines of AQAP’s Inspire magazine with a focus on motivating aspiring jihadists in the West to conduct attacks in their own countries.”