Is Al-Qaeda launching an online magazine in English? 

The web is abuzz with a report from the Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder about how an affiliate of the Islamic terrorist group is purportedly launching an online English magazine called Inspire. He’s got some screenshots of the issue with headlines on such topics as “the way to save the earth” and “open source jihad.”

Ambinder states that the group has been touting the arrival of the ezine for a while but he is not completely sure about the authenticity of the PDF he’s received. I’m a bit doubtful that it’s not a U.S. counterintel fake given that one of the cover story topics is “Make a bomb in the kitchen of your mom.”

Really? What is this jihad for 30-something slackers living in their parents’ basements? If that’s a real article, I think I may have to throw in with Timothy Noah’s contention that terrorists are stupid.

On the other hand, the leaked screenshots may actually just be the product of U.S. counterintelligence trying to hold up Al Qaeda to ridicule.

Whether or not the ezine is real, at least some parts of the Islamic terrorist movement are stepping up their tech game according to the Christian Science Monitor:

But while Al Qaeda central may be stuck on Web 1.0, associated groups appear to have forged ahead into more modern and interactive communication techniques, according to an article in the most recent issue of a counterterrorism journal produced by the Combating Terrorism Center (CTC) at the US Military Academy at West Point.

The growth in Web 2.0 tools such as file-sharing portals and social networking sites has resulted in an explosion of user-generated jihadist content outside the usual sites. Rising stars in the jihadist movement, such as the American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, have celebrated this development and urged followers to engage in more active and creative ways of spreading the word.

“As a result of these varying legitimizing mechanisms, the ‘media jihad’ has gradually gained respectability and has become a legitimate endeavor in itself,” notes the article in the CTC journal Sentinel, which was written by British jihadist expert Dr. Akil Awan.

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