An Islamic Crossword Puzzle for the Aspiring Jihadist

Freelance writing is a financially precarious career – you’ve always got to be on the lookout for new opportunities, or you’re screwed. So when I found out recently about a relatively new online magazine called Inspire, my first thought was: hmm, what can I come up with that they might want to use?

Now – and hey, here’s a tip for you kids looking to move into the fast lane of the media game – the first thing you do in situations like this is to study the publication in question and try to determine its worldview, its style, its tone, its intended audience, and so on. Inspire, as it happens, is published by an organization called al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Not al-Qaeda itself, mind you, but a branch of al-Qaeda with a similar but longer and more geographically specific name. It’s published in English and is apparently aimed at jihadist fanatics and aspiring jihadist fanatics.

A Fox News writer helpfully noted in 2010 that the magazine is “designed to encourage would-be terrorists into acts of violence,” and quoted Bruce Riedel of the Brookings Institution as saying that it’s “clearly intended for the aspiring jihadist in the U.S. or U.K. who may be the next Fort Hood murderer or Times Square bomber.” Useful info for an aspiring contributor! A while back Inspire ran an article titled “I Am Proud to be a Traitor to America” by an author who, not long afterward, was taken out by a U.S. drone in Yemen. For a freelancer, this sort of thing is great news: when a publication’s regular contributors are being systematically decimated in anti-terrorist strikes, it’s more likely that there’s always going to be room for fresh blood.

With that encouraging thought in mind, I set about figuring out exactly how I might get into Inspire. I soon decided to take a relatively humble and unassuming – and, let’s face it, realistic – approach. Given my utter lack of terrorist credentials, it seemed to me less reasonable to submit a potential cover story than to try to break into the back the book and, in time, attempt to move up from there. An astrology page? Too un-Islamic. Music reviews? Ditto. A mixology column? Uh, nope. Finally I hit upon a killer idea (metaphorically speaking): why not try to become Inspire‘s crossword-puzzle guy? Who knows – maybe this could lead to a regular gig with the real al-Qaeda!

So I banged out a crossword, full of the right kind of scriptural material and everything. I was pretty proud of it. But after consulting with a few of my close and trusted advisers, I reluctantly came to the conclusion that it might, after all, be inadvisable to offer my services to Inspire. As my good friend Ali put it, “You filthy, vile, repellent, sodomitic, hell-bound infidel, you should know that anything even remotely suggestive of the pattern of a cross is by its very nature haram, and for the very act of including the name of the most blessed Prophet (pbuh) in such a disgusting and loathsome creation you deserve to be tortured and tormented for all eternity in the severest possible manner that Allah can devise.” I may have misinterpreted him, owing to cultural differences, but that sounded like a thumbs-down.

So there I was, stuck with my crossword puzzle. After pondering the matter for a while, I decided to hand it over to the editors of this site, who after agreeing to a modest payment (I’ve assured them that the check is in the mail) agreed to run it.

Here, then, for your edification, is my crossword puzzle – which was tailor-made for the Inspire reader, but which I hope will be of some interest to you as well.


1 ___ Mandelstam, Russian poet who wrote “Certain mosques are alive / And I can now surmise: / Perhaps we are Hagia Sophia / With countless numbers of eyes”

5 La ___, where Peter von Winter’s opera about the Prophet, based on Voltaire’s Mahomet ou Le fanatisme, debuted in 1817

10 Pre-Islamic Egyptian goddess

13 Poet murdered by the Prophet for mockingly

pointing out the Koran’s plagiarism – sorry, borrowings – from the Bible and elsewhere

14 Coarse tropical grass

15 Bahrain is one

16 “Marry not ___ until they believe” (Koran 2:221)

19 They rule Islamic families

20 Nothing at the Vatican

21 Vietnamese river

22 Italienische ___, travelogue by Goethe

24 “Those who disbelieve and reject Our messages, such are the companions of __” (Koran 5:86)

30 Arabic letter used in Sindhi

31 You can’t do this under Islam

32 Fruit fly protein

33 Islam forbids this – and every other dance, for that matter

35 Vilnius airport

36 He’s been to Mecca

37 Chrétien de Troyes character

38 Montreal Irish Rugby Football Club

40 Pakistani burg

41 “The idolaters have no right to maintain the ___” (Koran 9:17)

45 Muhammed, vis-à-vis the Angel Gabriel

46 Some Muslims perform wudu there

47 Ken ___, Islam apologist and ex-director of the Carter Center

49 American Blackwater contractors were killed, burned, then dragged through its streets by Iraqi terrorists in 2004

54 “Evil is ___” (Koran 3:196)

57 Herb (Danish)

58 Anti-semitic, philo-Turkish Romanian author-politician Nicolae

59 German vehicle

60 Sura 75 of the Koran

61 “If any man use the Scripture…to ___ thee in anything save in Christ, he is a false prophet” (Tyndale)

62 French housing agency


1 Business slang: “one neck to grab”

2 Human-rights network in Pakistan and Bangladesh

3 “What is then your ___ about the Lord of the worlds?” (Koran 37:87)

4 Alwaheed bin Talal, for example

5 A moth

6 Mecca ___, a Muslim beverage

7 Turkish lords or military officers

8 Allah told him not to “commit le

wdness” (Koran 29:28)

9 Algerian political party

10 Query about Front Page contributor Mercer

11 Hawaii acquisition

12 It’s skyrocketed due to immigration

15 Moses might’ve said it, if he spoke Yiddish

17 Pillow Talk star’s group that aids haram beasts

18 In agreement (Norwegian)

22 The relationship of many of the “nicer” Koran passages to the Bible

23 Middle Earth creature

24 Shavian shortening

25 What a sharia judge might say after carrying out a punishment under qisas

26 What Qaradawi does on TV

27 British poet Harold

28 ____ Suleiman Movement, Filipino organization consisting of Islamic converts trained and financed by a terrorist group linked to Al Qaeda

29 “Hell is enough for them; they will burn in it, and ___ is the resort!” (Koran 58:8)

30 “Slay the idolaters, wherever you find ___” (Koran 9:5)

34 “Allah promised you many gains which you will ___” (Koran 48:20)

38 Chinese noodle

39 Women in her profession sure don’t wear hijab

42 Norway’s oldest hotel

43 Loss of load pending

44 No burkas on this Canadian mag’s cover – yet

47 Daze

48 Shorthand preposition

49 Evergreens

50 Muhammed’s divine interlocutor, in France

51 Don’t do this about Islam, or you might be sorry

52 Playing card

53 “We have made ___ a prison for the disbelievers” (Koran 17:8)

Visit PJ Lifestyle next Wednesday, March 27, for the answer key…


images courtesy shutterstock /  Vankad

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