The leader of the al-Qaeda chapter deemed by Washington to pose the greatest danger to America appealed to would-be jihadists here with a video telling them to shun nationalism in favor of Islam, “take it easy” and just go out and kill.
The video message from al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula leader Qasim al-Raymi, a 38-year-old Yemeni who’s been in charge of the group for nearly two years, was released in Arabic with English subtitles by AQAP’s al-Malahem Media, which publishes the Inspire magazine used by Western jihadists for operational guidance and step-by-step instructions on making incendiary devices.
The video is labeled as the first in a series of Inspire addresses, and begins with images of the Boston Marathon bomber Tsarnaev brothers followed by a collage of various lone jihadists including Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan.
Al-Raymi’s five-minute lecture, “A Lone Mujahid or an Army by Itself,” emphasizes that the lone jihadist should view himself as a wing of their army and addresses “the patient one living in the Western countries — the lands of kuffar [disbelievers].”
“We do not view you as an individual — even though it is referred to as individual jihad,” he said. “We rather view you as a group, a brigade, or even an army in itself. A single operation that you execute, we wish we had an army that would carry it out. However, you are that army and it is important to view yourself from this angle, that you are part of this Ummah [Muslim community], a part of this body.”
“And you are situated in a place where you can harm our enemy. And so it is upon you to carry out that role.”
Al-Raymi added that “an American Muslim is the same as a Yemeni Muslim and a Yemeni Muslim is the same as an Australian Muslim.”
“We do not believe in nationalism, we believe in Islam,” he said.
“So what is your role when you see our brothers are killed in Palestine? If every operation carried out by the Jews and Israel against our brothers in Palestine or carried out by the Americans in Afghanistan, Iraq, Sham and in the Arabian Peninsula or anywhere else. If every operation against the Muslims were to be retaliated by a single Muslim living in the West and resulting in the killing of many Americans, then what do you think will happen?” he continued. “…This checking and struggling makes the enemy think twice about his actions.”
The AQAP leader lauded Orlando nightclub shooter Omar Mateen; though the terrorist pledged his allegiance to ISIS, the al-Qaeda emphasis on universal jihad has praised all lone jihadists as working in the service of the broader cause regardless of affiliation.
“How many smiles do you think he drew on the faces of the widows, orphans and mujahedin all over … if making a Muslim smile is a charity, then what about drawing a smile upon thousands and millions of Muslims?” al-Raymi said of Mateen, stressing would-be jihadists in the West can rectify “this status of sin, residing amongst the disbelievers… we wish we were in your position, so that we can serve our religion” with homegrown attacks.
“Don’t complicate matters, take it easy and simple, the same as our brother Omar Mateen did, he took an AK-47 and headed toward their gatherings and attacked them.” Mateen used a SIG MCX semi-automatic rifle and a Glock handgun.
“If such operations were to continue whenever there is a tragedy upon Muslims, we will be transferring the tragedy back to them, and it will be an eye for an eye,” the AQAP leader added. “They, sanctifying this worldly life and very afraid of fear — as for us, we view fear as a trial and thus expect reward… we face fear by being patient, but for them they face fear by giving up, panicking and restraining themselves from harming believers.”
CIA Director Mike Pompeo said last month at the Center for Strategic and International Studies that AQAP “represents one of the most serious threats to our country and around the world today.”
“It’s a group that is devoted not only to bringing down civil passenger planes but our way of life as well,” Pompeo said.