The father of Anwar al Awlaki, the Yemeni American promoter of al-Qaeda who was killed earlier this year by an American drone strike, Nasser al-Awlaki, recently released an audio message to Muslims in the United Kingdom urging them to "spread his [son's] knowledge and keep it alive." In the six minute message, posted below, and amounting to a call for further acts of terrorism against the United States, Nasser al-Awlaki said:
Imam Anwar al Awlaki carried an effective message, a message that was simple and straightforward….Anwar will [Allah willing] continue to be alive by spreading his teaching, sermons, and lectures. It is the precise thing that he lived and died for…It is the job of all of us to spread his knowledge and keep it alive.
As if to underscore the threat, Nasser warned, "My son's blood did not, and will not, go in vain."
The Obama administration has been effective in killing much of al-Qaeda's senior leadership in recent months, but it must now give greater attention to also combating the ideas the global jihad movement has spawned. Practically, this means mobilizing and supporting ordinary Muslims who speak up in favor of free, liberal, and secular values. For the government, it also means rebutting, much more forcefully, the narrative of grievance al-Qaeda has been spreading to attract Muslims in their cause. Without these measures, for all the killing of al-Qaeda leaders that takes place, there will continue to be those wishing to take up the mantle of their fallen comrades.
Spending $200 million simply to see that elections are not fraudulent, as the US has done, is not enough. Without support for the Arabs and Muslims who wish to be free of this ideology, it would be most helpful if the United States and other countries of the free world would please educate and guide members of the Arab Spring how to organize before an election, so that when people go to the polls, there can be the chance fir a true democracy, instead of the threat by organizations better organized and better funded that are trying to seize political power through one man one vote one time.
Awlaki became the target of the drone program after he was linked to a number of terrorist plots. He is known to have been in direct contact with the Fort Hood terrorist, Major Nidal Hasan who killed 13 of his fellow soldiers in 2009. Shortly after the attack, Awlaki stated:
Nidal Hassan is a hero. He is a man of conscience who could not bear living the contradiction of being a Muslim and serving in an army that is fighting against his own people.... Any decent Muslim cannot live, understanding properly his duties towards his Creator and his fellow Muslims, and yet serve as a US soldier. The U.S. is leading the war against terrorism which in reality is a war against Islam.
Awlaki was then also linked to the so-called "underwear bomber," Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, and scores of other plots, including Jose Pimentel, the New Yorker arrested several weeks ago for allegedly planning to kill returning American servicemen from Afghanistan and Iraq. In the United Kingdom Awlaki was also linked to Roshanara Choudhry, who stabbed a Member of Parliament in "revenge" for his support for the Iraq war. Other links are covered in this study, recently published by Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens.
Last year, Nasser worked with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), to sue Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner over the US government's decision to make Anwar al-Awlaki the target of drone attacks. Attempts against his life were unsuccessful but continued until he was eventually killed in September, 2011. The ACLU's deputy legal director, Jameel Jaffer, criticized the decision at the time saying:
We continue to believe that the targeted killing program violates both U.S. and international law. As we've seen today, it's a program under which U.S. citizens far from any battlefield can be executed by their own government without judicial process and on the basis of standards and evidence that are secret.
Nasser al-Awlaki's message, however, demonstrates the ongoing threat posed by clerics such as Anwar al-Awlaki. Widely available across the internet and easily downloaded, Awlaki, along with his English-language magazine, Inspire, still in print, became the primary ideologue for so-called "lone wolves," individuals who radicalized themselves through the internet before committing acts of terrorism. Their isolated and self-starting nature makes it difficult for authorities to identify and stop them.
Possibly even more destabilizing, however, because it is quieter, is "stealth Sharia," or "creeping Sharia," a silent jihad [holy war] accomplished by infiltrating non-Muslim societies and gradually hollowing them out from within. This is the non-violent -- and therefore presumably "moderate"-- method of gradually transforming societies openly preferred by the Muslim Brotherhood. It starts with placing key people in key positions inside the local government and other organizations, such as universities, the military, or the prisons; and then demanding, often by raw intimidation, institutions such as a parallel judicial system of Sharia courts as in the UK; Shariah banking, which siphons funds away from non-Muslim banks in the service of promoting Islam; special privileges, such the removal of whatever might offend them -- whether rioting over cartoons, as in Denmark; or suing a teacher who was teaching about Spanish ham, as in Spain; or insisting on the removal of piggy banks, as in the UK; or threatening a kindergarten teacher with death because her class had named a toy teddy bear Muhammed, as happened in Africa, to name just a few examples.
It might seem easier to acquiesce – especially if these demands are accompanied by the promise of money, jobs or votes – but in the end might well look more like current Egypt, where Copts are being mown down by armored vehicles and their bodies thrown into the Nile, than a place we might like to live.
Full text of Nasser al-Awlaki's speech
When the United States assassinated my beloved son Anwar al-Awlaki, he was far from any battlefield. No one was concerned about justice, even their justice. Anwar was assassinated because of his teachings, as one senior official said bluntly when Anwar was in prison, "we want to shut him up". No evidence was ever presented against him, and no evidence will ever be.
They knew that imam Anwar al Awlaki carried an effective message, a message that was simple and straightforward. Its target was Muslims in the West, they considered a fluent, convincing Muslim preacher as a threat so they tried everything to silence him. First they forced him to leave the United States and tried to obstruct his work there. Then they imprisoned him in Yemen, and finally they killed him after several failed attempts. They were so determined to annihilate his dawah [call/proselytising] that they fired more than half a dozen missiles on his car. Two weeks later the greatest military power on earth has done the same to my 16 year old grandson. When the American missiles came, he was having dinner with his teenage friends in our homeland, Shawba province in Yemen. Abdurrahman was not [a] 21 years old militant as they claimed, he was not an operational figure, and he was not travelling with any high value target, as the Obama administration continues to lie. Not many in America or elsewhere have shown interest in these two cases of murder by a state gone mad. The US administration led by the so-called Nobel Peace Prize laureate continues its hypocrisy and is trying to swipe the entire episode under the carpet. My son's blood did not, and will not, go in vain.
Alhamdullillah [Praise be to God], Anwar and his son are inshallah [God willing] alive in Jannah [paradise], and Anwar will inshallah [God willing] continue to be alive by spreading his teaching, sermons, and lectures. It is the precise thing that he lived and died for. It is the dawah [call/proselytising] to Allah. My son Anwar was intelligent, sharp, eloquent, educated, charismatic, and brave. He had qualities and traits that could have taken him places in this world but he chose this path and gave it his best – the path of Allah. It is the job of all of us to spread his knowledge and keep it alive.
At the end, I would like – and on behalf of my family – to thank you all from the bottom of my heart. I remember how our spirits as a family was raised right after my sons martyrdom when we watched footage of salat al-Janazah [funeral prayers], that you did in the UK, we watched with glee. The students of Anwar, his friends, his brothers and sisters, families and youth, all over, gathering to pray for him.
These are the people that matter the most to Anwar and to us. You are the people that matter the most to Anwar. Please keep the message alive. Was-Salaam.
Dr Nasser al-Awlaki, the father of Anwar al-Awlaki and the grandfather of Abdurrahman al-Awlaki.