Al-Qaeda Encourages ‘Lone Jihad’ Attacks, Promises Virgins in Paradise

By Patrick Goodenough | December 29, 2014 | 5:00am EST

Part of the front cover of the latest edition of AQAP's propaganda publication, Inspire. (Image: AQAP/Al-Melahem Media)

( – Urging Muslims to carry out atrocities against the West, including attacks on aircraft, al-Qaeda’s latest propaganda publication also identifies goals of the jihadist, including “inflicting damage” on unbelievers, “attaining Allah’s pleasure” – and the reward of virgins in paradise.

One article in the new edition of Inspire, an organ of the terrorist group’s Yemen-based affiliate al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), highlights the phenomenon of an individual or small group infiltrating the ranks of the enemy, in order to carry out an attack.

Examples it gives of this “immersing oneself deep into enemy lines to inflict damage of attain Shahada [martyrdom]” include that of Nidal Malik Hasan, the U.S. Army major on death row for killing 13 people at Fort Hood, Texas in 2009.

The AQAP article includes a graphic, incorporating a photo identified as an al-Qaeda terrorist who took part in a deadly attack Yemen’s defense ministry, along with a list of goals or motivations for such a jihadist:


--Making the word of Allah to be supreme

--Inflicting damage to the Kuffar [unbelievers] & Murtadin [apostates]

--Attaining Allah’s pleasure

--In defense of the oppressed

--Seeking forgiveness


Hoor is the word used in the Qur’an for beautiful, dark-eyed virgins purportedly awaiting the devout Muslim in paradise. The Qur’an does not number them but several hadiths – the revered sayings or traditions of Mohammed  – refer to martyrs enjoying sensual pleasures with 72 of these women.

The Qur'an refers to virginal, dark-eyed beauties waiting to welcome devout Muslims to paradise. (AP Photo/For representational purposes only)

A highly-regarded hadith by a 9th century scholar named at-Tirmidhi, for instance, lists “good things” the martyr can expect in paradise. Among them, he will enjoy forgiveness, an abode, safety from terror, and he will be “married to seventy-two wives of the maidens with large dark eyes.”

AQAP has been publishing Inspire, a slick, English-language online magazine, since 2010, and the latest is number 13. Other terrorists have followed its example, with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) having produced six editions of its Dabiq since last July, while the new al-Qaeda affiliate in South Asia put out an inaugural edition of Resurgence in October.

While the ISIS publications focus largely on attracting recruits to the violent campaign in Iraq and Syria, the “caliphate,” and attempts to justify atrocities in the region like the beheading of American and British hostages, AQAP’s new magazine deals mostly with carrying out attacks on, and in, America.

In doing so, it urges jihadists everywhere to set aside their differences and join ranks in “fighting America.”

“The nemesis of the West, the hardest blow, is the military tactic of lone jihad,” says one article.

“It’s not necessary to do what Muhammed Atta did,” another item states, referring to the leading 9/11 terrorist. “It’s enough to do what [Fort Hood attacker] Nidal Hassan did.”

“It’s not necessary to travel to the battlefield, it’s enough to kill the enemy back home.”

In another article Nasr bin Ali al-Ansi, an AQAP leader, also extols the lone attacker.

“The Lions of Allah who are all over the globe – some call them ‘lone wolves’ – should know that they are the West’s worst nightmare. They instill fear around the world. So do not belittle your operations …”

The magazine also identifies effective targets for terror attacks in the West, including aircraft operated by U.S. carried American Airlines, Delta and United; British Airways and easyJet in the U.K.: and Air France.

It encourages attacks against high-profile economic figures too, naming Microsoft CEO Bill Gates and former Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke (whose middle name, Shalom, is twice noted, possibly in order to emphasize his Jewish faith.)

Other articles cover step-by-step bomb-making skills, and advice for foiling airport security. (Previous bomb-making articles in earlier Inspire editions included one which according to prosecutors was used by the 2013 Boston Marathon bombers.)

One question-and-answer section provides responses given by Anwar al-Awlaki before the Yemeni-American AQAP propagandist was killed in a 2011 airstrike.

He advised one writer that if he was planning to carry out an attack in the West, to refrain from da’wah (Islamic proselytizing) lest he draw the authorities’ attention.

In answer to another questioner, Awlaki recommended lying to authorities if apprehended, saying it was permissible for a Muslim who is incarcerated to conceal information and to “deceive the disbelievers.”

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