Al-Qaeda's "Inspire" Magazine Calls for Lone-Wolf Jihad Attacks, Permits Chemical and Biological Weapons
On May 2, 2012, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) released Issues VIII (Fall 2011, 63 pp) and IX, (Winter 2012, 62 pp) of its English-language online magazine Inspire on the main jihadi forums Shumoukh Al-Islam and Al-Fida'. These issues are dedicated to U.S.-born Al-Qaeda leader Anwar Al-Awlaki and to his protégée and fellow American jihadi Samir Khan (killed September 2011 in Yemen in a U.S. drone strike), including writings and statements by them and by others about them.
The issues' release was accompanied by an apparent attempt by Western governments just prior to publication to bring down the forums' websites, but the websites were back up a short time later, with the magazines posted.
In 2010, the British government had attempted to block the release of the summer issue of Inspire by corrupting the file. Since Al-Qaeda is aware of these Western attempts to prevent the distribution of the magazine, it notified readers, on the inside front cover of Issue IX in a notice titled "Media Advice": "Throw the magazine onto forums. Muslim and non-Muslim forums alike. The FBI might be trying to bring down sites that host the magazine, so mailing lists are an important way to get the magazine across."
The main themes in these issues of Inspire are:
A) Instructions and calls for lone-wolf Al-Qaeda followers to carry out attacks in the U.S. This continues the development previously identified by MEMRI – that is, Al-Qaeda is striving to place the responsibility for jihad in America upon the Muslim community in the U.S. This is instead of having mujahideen come from other parts of the world to attack the U.S., and instead of recruiting American Muslims to fight on other jihadi fronts worldwide (see MEMRI Inquiry and Analysis No. 639, "New Trend in Al-Qaeda's Recruitment Efforts: American Muslims Should Carry the Burden of Jihad in U.S.," October 19, 2010, http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/852/4685.htm).
As the Inspire staff wrote in Issue V of the magazine: "[B]ased on your ability, you choose the target [in your home area]. Your pool of targets is large, so make sure to think of all of the available options. An example of something local, easy, and effective is attacking an army recruiting center, nightclub, highway, or busy shopping mall". A much-discussed article in the magazine's first issue said: "Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom." Khan reiterates and underlines this point in his last statement, published in Issue IX, in which he states: "So for Muslims to live in America, it is dangerous since America and the Western world are lands of war, giving Muslims the ability to freely attack them in whatever methods they choose."
Inspire has been translated from English into Spanish, German, French, as well as Arabic, Urdu, Bangladeshi, and Turkish. Indicative of the impact that the magazine has had is that a growing number of lone-wolf jihadis have been arrested throughout the West with copies of the magazine in their possession (see Appendix: Lone Wolf Jihadi Attacks in the West).
B) Justifying the targeting of "populations of countries at war with the Muslims," including non-combatants, and by every means, including with chemical and biological weapons. (...)