Al-Qaeda Calls on Western Muslims of South-Central Asian Origin to Attack 'Blasphemous' Targets

An armed police officer guards the Charlie Hebdo headquarters

The al-Qaeda chapter that hacked an Atlanta man to death and killed a USAID worker the following year issued a message calling on Western Muslims of south-central Asian origin to conduct attacks specifically targeting perceived blasphemous behavior.

The 22-page "Code of Conduct" published last summer by al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent, which operates in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, discussed legitimate targets and stressed "jihad is a communal obligation, and thus the results of personal actions of an individual, or of a single organization are not limited to that individual, or that organization; rather they impact all mujahideen operating in the battlefield, and in fact, the entire Ummah [Muslim community]."

A new message issued in English by al-Qaeda's Global Islamic Media Front declared that "the global war against the followers of Islam is the biggest crusade in history and is continuing" as "the people of infidelity use every malevolent tactic, among which is insulting and besmirching the honour of our Prophet."

"The people of kufr [disbelief] in their hate, and to hide their defeat, use this worst kind of tactic. It is the unending and undying tactic of the West and it is the proof that Islam will be supreme and infidelity will be degraded," AQIS added.

The terror group charged that the West "in their rule and law has given priority and the upper hand to these blasphemous activities and it will be the cause for their destruction and the destruction of their filthy culture."

Defenders of criticism of Islam as free speech have "thus called for death and destruction and have made it clear that the war of the West is not only with what they claim 'terrorists' but it is war is with Allah" and all Muslims, the statement added. "The blasphemous insulters of our Prophet (PBUH) living in the West should realize that the blood spilled in the streets of the east and the west may be forgiven, but to take revenge against the blasphemous insulters of our beloved Prophet (PBUH) is from the pillars of faith that we cannot ignore."

"Oh Muslims living in the West, specifically those who are from Indian subcontinent, it is your duty to stop the governments with whatever you can to stop the blasphemous activities and to kill anyone who indulges in these activities, because to let live these kind is against the norms of humanity," AQIS continued. "To stop the blasphemous activities and to avenge the honour of our Prophet (PBUH) is only by the path of jihad for the sake of Allah. To sell your life and wealth and to use your abilities in jihad is the way to avenge the honour of our Prophet (PBUH)."

Al-Qaeda suggested would-be jihadists emulate Amir Cheema, a Pakistani student who tried to kill Die Welt editor-in-chief Roger Köppel in 2006; Taimur Abdulwahab al-Abdaly, a suicide bomber in Sweden in 2010 who criticized the publication of Muhammad cartoons; and brother Saïd and Chérif Kouachi, who attacked Charlie Hebdo newspaper in Paris in 2015.

In February 2015, Bangladeshi-American secularist blogger Avijit Roy was hacked to death by AQIS on a Dhaka street. Roy was a dual U.S.-Bangladesh citizen who lived in Atlanta and was in Bangladesh for a month. His wife, Rafida Ahmed Bonna, was with him at the time of the attack and was severely wounded, with one of her fingers severed by the pair of machete-wielding attackers.

In April 2016, Xulhaz Mannan, who previously worked for the U.S. Embassy as a protocol officer and also founded Bangladesh's only LGBT magazine, and Mahbub Tonoy, a magazine contributor, were killed by machete-wielding AQIS attackers posing as delivery couriers gained entry to Mannan's building.

The U.S. designated the al-Qaeda chapter as a terrorist organization in June 2016.