Thursday, March 07, 2013
Western officials are disturbed by the growing use of
English-language recruitment of Islamic extremists online, especially
from the UK to Syria.
They fear the return of new English-speaking
recruits to the EU to plot attacks at home or in the US.
European intelligence sources revealed that up to 60-70 people
have left Britain to join in military factions to fight against the
Syrian government, Reuters reported.
They have also noted an increase in the number of Internet
messages directed at potential English-speaking militants in the UK
to join in the fight against Syria’s government.
Both the US and EU security officials confirm that there has
been a growing number of English-language recruitment videos and
online content, which is proving successful in luring dozens of
English-speaking Muslims from their homes in Europe to travel to
the Middle East and fight in places such as Syria.
Even though the US and EU policy supports anti-Assad forces, the
problem arises when English-speaking recruits join the extreme,
anti-Western Syrian rebel factions, become terrorists and then
return home, stated officials.
The majority of those who already left UK to fight in Syria have
joined the militant anti-Assad faction, known as Al-Nusra, which
the US has named a terrorist group connected with Al-Qaeda in Iraq,
An increase in English-content videos and online messages has
been reported by security officials in the US and the EU.
Last week a jihadist website controlled by an Islamic militant
group based in Somalia, al Shabaab, posted a new video of a man
speaking English and calling himself Abu Ahmed al-Amriki (Arabic
for 'the American'), counterterrorism blog the Long War Journal
In the video Abu Ahmed calls upon all Muslims living in the West
to give up their lives there and join the Islamic holy war in
Somalia, Mali and Afghanistan. The identity of the man in the video
In February another man posted a second of two video messages
calling himself an “American mujahid [holy warrior]” and
praising his involvement with rebels fighting against the Syrian
government, stated a group that monitors militant websites, the
Flashpoint Global Partners.
“Bashar Assad, your days are numbered,” the man speaking
in English with an American accent is quoted as saying, referring
to Syria’s president. “You should just quit now, while you can,
and leave. You are going to die, no matter what. Where you go we
will find you and kill you.”
US officials also noted an increase in English-language online
literature, which calls on wannabe militants to turn to violence
and provides instructions on how to use household items to cause
damage and death.
“We've been monitoring [these developments] and yes, it's
concerning,” Deputy Commissioner and spokesman of the New York
Police Department Paul Browne told Reuters.
This past week, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
released two English-language publications in its ‘Inspire’
magazine targeting aspiring holy warriors.
The first piece is a death list, which names selected Westerners
and includes prominent figures, such as the anti-Islamic Dutch
politician Geert Wilders, and the Koran-burning Florida preacher
The other publication is a rulebook, ‘The Lone Mujahid
Pocketbook’, which explains how to cause traffic accidents, deadly
ambushes, gas leaks, destroy buildings and start forest fires in
your own country.
The publication asks the reader: “Have u been lookin' 4 a way
to join the Mujahideen in frontlines? Well, there's no need to
travel abroad, coz the frontline has come to you... Just read 'n'
apply the contents of this guide.”
Recruitment tactics have also made headway in social media.
The Al-Qaeda-linked Shabaab militia from South Somalia began
tweeting in English and gained more than 20,000 subscribers by the
time Twitter closed its account in January. As the group set-up a
new account, it gained 2,000 followers in a week in February.