Skip to content

Al-Qaeda’s New Weapon

November 20, 2009


Following Major Nidal Malik Hasan’s shooting rampage in Fort Hood, Texas, last week, pundits advanced all sorts of theories as to how a member of the U.S. armed forces could have possibly been so influenced by al-Qaeda’s image of Islam that he took up arms against fellow soldiers. It soon became known that Hasan received inspiration (and e-mail instructions) from a charismatic al-Qaeda-linked cleric named Anwar al-Awlaki, currently in hiding in Yemen, whose sermons were readily available on militant web sites.

Unlike those terrorists currently in detention in Guantanamo and elsewhere, there are two key points in Hasan’s background that set him apart: 1) Hasan (as far as we know) never left the U.S. to have direct contact with any militant group; and, 2) Hasan does not speak Arabic. It is this second point, which leads us to a troubling development, that will be taken up here.

In the early days following the 9/11 terror attacks, any communications attributed to either Osama bin-Laden, al-Qaeda’s head, or his top lieutenant, Ayman al-Zawahiri, were either grainy video footage or audio tapes sent by foot courier to sympathetic media outlets such as al-Jazeera. Militant websites were amateurish and generally short-lived. What they had in common, however, was that they were all exclusively presented in Arabic. English translations, usually provided as an afterthought by non-native speakers, were crude and unsophisticated.

A cleric’s sermon, delivered in Arabic with the aim of calling the faithful to Jihad would have been useless to somebody like Hasan, as he wouldn’t have been able to understand a word of it. Lately, however, this has changed, and al-Qaeda has begun to utilize a potent new weapon in its efforts at spreading radical Islam’s message to Muslims in the West: the English language.

English has become, according to a report by the Associated Press (AP), the new lingua franca of the terrorist world. In fact, militant websites written primarily in Standard English now outnumber Arabic websites by a huge margin. From the AP report:

“The number of English-language sites sympathetic to al-Qaeda has risen from about 30 seven years ago to more than 200 recently,” said Abdulmanam Almushawah, head of a Saudi government program called Assakeena, which works to combat militant Islamic Web sites. “In contrast, Arabic-language radical sites have dropped to around 50, down from 1,000 seven years ago, because of efforts by governments around the world to shut them down,” he said.

What this means for us now is that potential jihadists in the U.S., who know only English, may still be effectively radicalized.

Al-Awlaki himself is a fluent English speaker with an American accent, and his sermons were made readily available through this increasing network of websites, all without the need for editing or sub-titles. This is a frightening development, as al-Qaeda is now able to get its message out to those people who were formerly out of reach linguistically.

A charismatic cleric’s sermon delivered in idiomatic English reaching the ears of an impressionable and mentally imbalanced Hassan-type zealot can have, as we have seen, deadly results.

  1. Steve permalink
    November 20, 2009 4:17 am

    Of course! Now we will finally understand why the Muslims are attacking the Free World. How stupid of me! Amazing Mumford!

  2. richard permalink
    November 20, 2009 5:37 am

    called ‘a peaceful religion’. just how accurate is this statement?
    the koran is often cited with a take no prisoners philosophy.
    how many muslims are orthodox, and do they take the koran to heart?

  3. Jonathan permalink
    November 20, 2009 6:41 am

    You’re way behind the power curve, Claude. Where have you been for 50 years? The Muslims have been talking to the West in plain language for a long, long time. Just like the Marxists have. But we’ve been to busy pursuing fake lives in the cloistered Dreamworld to know that. What language do you think the Muslims have been speaking to the Europeans?

    I wonder if you are trying to explain away the leftists’ apparent lack of insight or their apparent lack of intelligence to see the real problem. Are you going to tell us next that it appears the left is allied to the Islamofacists against the West?

  4. Jonathan permalink
    November 20, 2009 6:52 am

    You’re nearly seven decades behind the power curve, Claude.

    English-only Muslims become radicalized because the West is filled with mosques staffed by English speaking imams who are a lethal mixture of black nationalist or Marxist or Islamofacist in varying degrees and combinations. There are English copies of the Koran. The Muslims have been talking to the West in plain language for a long, long time. Just like the Marxists have. But we’ve been to busy pursuing fake lives in the cloistered Dreamworld to know that. What language do you think the Muslims have been speaking to the Europeans for 50 years?

    I wonder if you are trying to explain away the West’s general denial of reality. Are you going to tell us next that it appears the left is allied to the Islamofacists against the West?

    Here’s another stunner for you. The Muslims are actively working in America to foment a black suprematist movement whose goal is to destroy white civilization and erase it from the Earth. It bears a curious resemblance to New Marxist movements among blacks and hispanics.

  5. Jonathan permalink
    November 20, 2009 6:57 am

    You’re nearly six decades behind the power curve, Claude.

    The West is now filled with mosques staffed by English speaking imams. In America, a lethal strain of black nationalist, neo-Marxist Islam is taking root. There are English copies of the Koran; the message is the same in English! The Muslims have been talking to the West in plain language for a long, long time. We’ve been to busy pursuing fake lives in the cloistered Dreamworld to notice. What language do you think the Muslims have been speaking to the Europeans for 50 years?

    I wonder if you are trying to explain away the West’s general denial of reality. Are you going to tell us next that it appears the left is allied to the Islamofacists against the West?

  6. Claude Cartaginese permalink
    November 20, 2009 7:32 am

    Each time you posted your comment, you tweaked and refined it just a little bit more until you were satisfied that it conveyed your intended message–just as al-Qaeda’s been doing, don’t you think?

    • Jonathan permalink
      November 20, 2009 8:48 am

      Yep. Sorry about that redundancy. The last version was my intended one. My modem was running slow, I kept stopping the transmit using the x button on my browser, then I would decide to rewrite while I was waiting for the line to clear – twice – not realizing it was really going through. The one immediately above your reply is the “real” one.

    • betty boop permalink
      November 20, 2009 8:50 am

      Excellent article as always. It does appear Al Qaeda, et al, have their marketing strategy worked out well. I can remember in the city many years ago, the Muslim groups appeared drawn from the prison population (now they’ve moved on to the military). They must have been using English to talk with those converts, at least initially. I imagine this has always been their strategy to get a foot into the door of a culture. Find a large captive population of bored young men, and go to work. Seems to be working…. but how do we stop it? Political Correctness will kill us all yet.

  7. November 20, 2009 1:52 pm

    Published the first paper that states not only was Al Queda responsible for shooting, we need to look at Abdul Majeed al-Zindani, the head of AQ in Yemen.

  8. Jon Gunn MSG US Army (Ret) permalink
    November 21, 2009 1:00 pm

    Major Hasan, both an army trained Shrink and a fervent religionist, decides to find a way to tear up the army – to damage the bond of trust between soldier-comrades at the unit level. He shoots about 40-45 people. Six of the dead are people assigned to the unit he is assigned to for duty in Afganhistan.

    Remember the fanatic terrorist named John Brown (a fervent religionist), the one who murdered five people in Kansas; the one who attacked a federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry? The one who was financially supported by (fervent religionists) Northern Abolitionists.

    Brown wanted a Civil War and he got one. Now we have Religionist Carl Levin (Jewish) and Joe Lieberman (Jewish) raising hell about “Terror” from the Muslims.

    There are many, many good soldiers in the army that happeen to be Muslim. Just Who do you think stands to benefit the most if crackpots like you turn this singular event into a religious war between our own soldiers?

  9. Jonathan permalink
    November 21, 2009 1:31 pm

    Out of respect to your rank and service, I’ll refrain from….

    … this isn’t a singular event. And it won’t be the last one.

    Don’t compare this guy to John Brown. That’s ludicrous. He was the same religion as 99.999 percent of the people in the country at the time. It had nothing to do with religion. That’s like saying his white skin had something to do with it. Or his heterosexuality. Stop wasting time with stupid arguments making pointless non-sequitar comparisons. But, since we’re on the case, John Brown was fighting against slavery; what do you think Al-Qaeida is fighting for? It’s not freedom.

    I’m thoroughly pissed off that my tax dollars were supporting this disloyal vermin wearing shoulder boards. It just pisses me off, especially when he was nothing but a problem child from day one. Nothing but. If he had any integrity at all, he would have resigned and moved to Afghanistan to fight like a man. But no. He was a MOLE.

    And YOU have no guarantees at all that there are many more of him out there, waiting. Maybe we have one on a NUCLEAR SUBMARINE somewhere. Maybe we have one flying AIR FORCE ONE one day. Maybe we’ll have one driving a TANK someday.

    If we continue to admit these people to our country, we’ll be in the same shape as Europe one day. Sorry Buddy, I just can’t let my daughter and son live in a world like that. They own half the world. They don’t need this half too; especially the way they treat others in their countries. Screw them.

    • John Davidson permalink
      November 21, 2009 1:57 pm

      It takes a while, but I believe I got the point you are trying to make.

    • Jon permalink
      November 21, 2009 2:16 pm

      You seem to be proposing a religious test for immigration into this country.
      Like the know-nothings of John Brown’s time.

      • Jonathan permalink
        November 21, 2009 3:24 pm

        Seem to be. But, I guess you were too eager to make a clever turn of the phrase to notice that I didn’t propose one.

  10. November 22, 2009 8:45 am

    Please do not overestimate the position of English.

    I live in London and if anyone says to me “everyone speaks English” my answer is “Listen and look around you”. If people in London do not speak English then the whole question of a global language is completely open.

    The promulgation of English as the world’s “lingua franca” is impractical and linguistically undemocratic. I say this as a native English speaker!

    Impractical because communication should be for all and not only for an educational or political elite. That is how English is used internationally at the moment.

    Undemocratic because minority languages are under attack worldwide due to the encroachment of majority ethnic languages. Even Mandarin Chinese is attempting to dominate as well. The long-term solution must be found and a non-national language, which places all ethnic languages on an equal footing is essential.

    As a native English speaker, my vote is for Esperanto 🙂

    Your readers may be interested in seeing Professor Piron was a former translator with the United Nations

    A glimpse of the global language,Esperanto, can be seen at

  11. ExSoldier permalink
    November 22, 2009 2:03 pm

    I’ve been expecting this atrocity ever since the original Sept 11th attacks. I expect such a thing to take place sometime between this upcoming FRIDAY (so called “Black Friday for the start of the holiday shopping season) and probably the first of the new year. This makes all of us SHEEPDOGS. Our population is sheep we are riddled with WOLVES. Traditional sheepdogs: Police, national guard, etc are spread too thin to cover all the targets. That puts the responsibility where it has always been, on US. Remember the preamble to our Constitution? WE THE PEOPLE…. What’s it mean to be a Sheepdog? Here is one powerful essay that changed my life, almost as much as the Holy Bible changed me.

    Not so much a definitive change but rather call it a definition of my life. I’m a sheepdog. I wasn’t always that way, either. I grew into the role. When I was a small kid, I was definitely sheep and I was wolf fodder every day at school. Then something happened and the worm turned for me. I wound up a US Army Infantry Captain at the height of the cold war. Now I teach in an inner city high school, having also done a turn as a State Probation & Parole Officer and I’ve been an NRA Certified Firearms Instructor these last 20 years. I’ve had ccw permits in three different states. That’s the key.

    LAWFULLY Armed citizens! In Florida, especially in my location, Miami Dade County, it’s not a felony to possess a concealed pistol under ccw even in places where business owners expressly forbid carry. Here it’s an infraction of ordinance. Here the ordinance reads: “If you are detected you will be asked to leave the premises. If you return and are again detected, you may be arrested for trespass after warning, a misdemeanor.” Guess what? I’ll break anybody’s silly policy. But if it were a felony like in the state of North Carolina (do I REALLY want to retire there?), I wouldn’t, nor do I so advocate.

    Remember this too, if you step outside your home and you are lawfully allowed to carry a concealed firearm, and you FAIL to do so (barring an express legal reason), just open your mouth and say B-A-A-A-A-A-A-A. Another thing: If you normally shove a mouse-gun in your front pants pocket like a Kel Tec P3AT .380 or some other convenient piece for comfort remember the words of Thunder Ranch owner and chief instructor Clint Smith: “Carrying a firearm is supposed to be comforting, not comfortable.” Ladies and gentlemen (you’d better believe the ladies of America are as important to this effort as anybody), Serious guns/calibers for serious times.

    Put it this way, if you’re in a crowded mall on Christmas Eve and you hear a shout go up from all four corners of ALLAH-HU AKBAR!! and a guy across the room pulls out a 32 snub are you certain enough of his gun and his skills that he’s going to solve the problem and moreover, not hit your wife/husband/significant other or kid? Teach your family how to seek cover and get away. Then be certain of your own skills and concealed carry firearm. You and your gun needs to be capable of hitting a man sized target center of mass at thirty feet every time. Under pressure. A very good way to get some fairly realistic practice at this is to find an IDPA club near you and participate. See

    I also think you should be VERY circumspect about taking action in a situation that does not directly affect you and yours. It might be very easy for a “first responder” to mistake you for a terrorist and cut you down. Always better to be a great witness than a casualty. So I’m not advocating being a vigilante here. Far from it. Also be aware that you run the risk of vilification by a media bent on apologizing to CAIR and the purveyors of terror. You may be targeted by local government or the feds. If you do interrupt what is indeed a Jihadi operation you and your entire family may be targeted for personal destruction by them and that’s an order that would go out globally and be in effect forever. None of these possible “consequences” are things to be taken lightly! I specifically disavow (and I’m sure David Horowitz and his staff will agree) anybody who takes any sort of illegal action for any reason.

    I guess the bottom line her is to be eternally vigilant. We are in a war and I very much fear that this nation is about to learn the lesson that both GT Britain and the rest of the free world in Europe have learned painfully: JIHAD IS FOR REAL AND THEY DON’T TAKE PRISONERS. We have an advantage given to us in the wisdom Founding Fathers and you can read it for yourself in Federalist Paper #46 in relation to the freedoms of both the USA and Europe, to wit: “Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of. Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.


  1. Organizing for America: Palin is ‘dangerous.’ PS: send money. « NewsReal Blog

Comments are closed.