'Inspire' Magazine: How Al-Qaeda is Inspiring Homegrown Terrorism

"High-profile jihadists" is an interesting and intriguing term, to say the least. What does it entirely mean? Does it mean literate, influential jihadists or those who are powerful, well-educated, and moneyed? The online magazine Inspire can perhaps qualify as one place where all the hot shots of Jihad converge and disseminate threatening anti-Western sentiments. Inspire was started out in 2010 by radical Muslim Samir Khan in 2010, its parent organization being al-Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula. Samir Khan was a 25-year-old U.S. national when he started Inspire and its content was in English. Naturally, this magazine was aimed at a Western audience which spoke English. The audience was predominantly narrowed down to Muslims living in the UK and the USA, giving enough space to those people as well who were recent converts to Islam.

The Boston Marathon bombings are a case study, an incident dubbed BBB (Blessed Boston bombings) in the recent issue of the magazine. A glorious textual and graphic celebration is provided of the Boston Marathon bombing. Images of the bombing site were juxtaposed with anti-Western propaganda and splashed across the magazine.

Before this magazine was being used for propaganda, the most common form we saw was in form of the video messages posted by Osama bin Laden. The language used was  Arabic and the footage was aimed at grassroot Muslims who had borne the brunt of Western torture. They were then trained to retaliate, and retaliate they did due to a heightened sense of animosity towards the West. They weren't highly educated or educated at all and came from a low socioeconomic strata. It was easy to inspire some to indulge in senseless violence because they were gullible. However, Inspire aims at the intelligentsia of extremism. It aims at promoting an increased level of home-grown terror. It did help the magazine's editorial ideology that the Tsarnaev brothers, who were responsible for the Marathon Bombing, learned to make pressure cooker bombs from an old issue of the magazine.

The bombing was then succeeded by an attack on a British soldier by a fellow British citizen who had converted to Islam a few years ago, and another attack on a French soldier, also by a recent convert.

But is Inspire truly dangerous? Propaganda machinery in the media has been existent since before the world wars. With a terrorist magazine encouraging violence (and succeeding in it), though, Al-Qaeda has taken propaganda to a whole new level. Internal security of Western nations is now endangered by the threat of elevated domestic terrorist. These agents of terror are your high profile jihadists, who choose to digress from the ideologies of the culture associated with their upbringing by manipulating technology, literature, and knowledge to their own advantage.

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Shiralie Chaturvedi

Enthusiastic, compulsively passionate and opinionated about world politics. Currently pursuing MA in Media Studies from The New School. I sometimes rant on about fashion too!

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