Anwar al-Awlaki Hails Rise of "Western Jihad"

image AP

Anwar al-Awlaki
AP
Anwar al-Awlaki - the U.S.-born Muslim cleric who has been linked to the 9/11 attackers, accused Ft. Hood shooter Nidal Hasan, and accused Christmas Day bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab - released a statement Friday seemingly taunting the West over its inability to stifle "homegrown" radicalism.

"Eight years after 9/11 and the declaration of war against terrorism, Jihad is still reaching the shores of Europe and America," al-Awlaki writes. "Not from the outside, but from within. Jihad is not being imported but is being homegrown."

He continues:

The media around the globe is painting Jihad in the worst possible colors. Day and night the masses are hearing an orchestra of smear against the mujahideen.

In such an inhospitable environment, Jihad is still flourishing, like a blessed tree sprouting through an earth of waste and pollution. The Jihad movement has not only survived but is expanding. Isn't it ironic that the two capitals of the war against Islam, Washington D.C. and London have also become among the centers of Western Jihad? Jihad is becoming as American as apple pie and as British as afternoon tea.

Al-Awlaki is believed to be hiding in Yemen and is being targeted by both the U.S. and Yemeni governments. Together with an audio statement released Thursday=6311270>, the Friday statement appears to be a bid to stay in the news.

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He focuses on several recent events that have captured attention in the media, particularly the arrest of a Pennsylvania woman who called herself "Jihad Jane" and allegedly used the Internet to plot the murder of a Swedish cartoonist and other attacks.

"Men and women in the West who were born in the West, raised in the West, educated in the West, whose culture is that of the West, who have never studied or met with any 'radicalized' Imams, and never attended any radical mosques are embracing the path of Jihad," al-Awlaki writes, describing not only Colleen "Jihad Jane" LaRose but also himself.

Al-Awlaki, a U.S. citizen born in New Mexico to Yemeni parents, has used his personal Web site to encourage Muslims around the world to kill U.S. troops in Iraq. Yemeni security officials say they believe he is hiding in a region of the mountainous nation that has become a refuge for Islamic militants.

He was in regular contact with Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, who is accused of killing 13 people in a rampage at the Fort Hood Army post in Texas. The two had 10 to 20 e-mail exchanges over several months last year.

Al-Awlaki also is believed to have been in touch with Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian who attempted to blow up a passenger airliner in Detroit on Christmas day with explosives concealed in his underwear.

Special Report: The Christmas Day Terror Attack

Al-Awlaki's screed struggles to portray LaRose and Abdulmutallab as part of an unstoppable tide of "Western Jihad," when both are examples of would-be attackers who were, in fact, easily stopped.

"The US has spent billions to protect its airlines but they couldn't prevent Umar Farouk, and the West has been profiling until 'Jihad Jane,' shattered whatever trust was left in the value of profiling. A blond, blue-eyed, small framed, middle-aged female. It couldn't get any further from your typical "terrorist" profile," he writes.

Still, until criminals like LaRose and Abdulmutallab cease to elicit such spectacular hysterics from our political class and media - and cease to be lionized as "terrorists" and "enemy combatants" - it is hard to argue with al-Awlaki's answer to the failed plots - "Even if we fail in an attempt, it is sufficient for us to keep them in a perpetual state of fear and insecurity."

  • Ken Millstone

    Ken Millstone is an assignment editor at CBSNews.com

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