Recruiting for Jihad
Marketing organisations need to know their target audience. It is no different with al-Qaeda. Recently I've been reading a recruitment strategy from a Jihadi website. It explains how important it is to get the young involved using group-based activities such as paintballing and the like. As we reported in The Edge of Violence, it is not an uncommon strategy. At the same time, a new publication was released today called "Inspire" which is supposedly the first official English-language al-Qaida magazine. It is the brain child of Anwar al-Awlaki, and is clearly aimed at aspiring young Jihadis in the West - glossy, slick, with absurd features such as "how to make a bomb in your mother's kitchen".
Despite the explosion of media relating to this paper, it could well be a hoax designed to undermine the movement. Either way, I have the document and only 3 pages of the 60 are legible. This could either be because it is indeed a hoax, or perhaps (as some Jihadis are currently saying) it is a plant by intelligence agencies in order to trap people who have downloaded it, which now includes one employee of Demos. More on this as soon as it happens.
However, not all of the global Jihadi movement understands its key demographic - young men - quite so well. As reported on the excellent site Jihadica, Minbar al-Tawhid wa’l-Jihad recently released a fatwa forbidding good Muslims from watching the world cup, because the players are paid according to the number of goals they score, and is therefore a form of gambling, which is forbidden in Islam: “The Prophet (may God bless him and grant him peace) said that money rewards in competitions are only allowed under three circumstances: Horse races, camel races and archery, because these are activities that are useful in war”. As one commentator rightly notes - thank god we are fighting an enemy that doesn't allow any fun.