Note: This is No. 4 in a series of reports about the second edition of the AQAP’s Inspire magazine
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The second issue of Inspire, the English-language magazine of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which was published October 11, 2010, includes an interview with AQAP’s deputy commander Said Al-Shihri, AKA Abu Sufyan. In the interview, he urges the Muslims, including those living in the West, to wage jihad against America and Saudi Arabia. Al-Shihri calls upon Muslims in the West to carry out attacks modeled on those carried out by the Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Hasan and by the Christmas Day airplane bomber, the Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, whom he calls heroes. He describes in some detail the chain of events that led to his incarceration at Guantanamo, and states that all mankind must fight the Americans, “who are the enemies of the human race.” In addition, Al-Shihri discusses AQAP’s founding principles and strategy, stating that its main enemies are the rulers of Saudi Arabia. He exhorts all Muslims to fight the Saudi government, explaining that if it falls, “the rest of the Muslim lands will be opened.” Al-Shihri explains that AQAP chose Yemen as its base because its leadership is protected there. He claims that the Saudi rehabilitation program for former Guantanamo detainees, and similar programs in other Muslim countries, are nothing but an attempt to promote false religious beliefs that the Americans are trying to force on the Muslim societies. Regarding AQAP’s hostility towards the Shi’ites, Al-Shihri explained that they are polytheists and therefore enemies of Islam. Following is the interview, as it appeared in the second edition of Inspire.
“Al-Malahem (AM): In the beginning we welcome Shaykh Abu Sufyan al-Azdi. We begin by asking about your experience at Guantanamo where you were imprisoned for almost six years. Please tell us about the reasons of your imprisonment and how were you treated.
“Abu Sufyan (AS): All praise is due to Allah who blessed us with the blessing of jihad in His path. The reason behind my imprisonment is supporting Islam and the Muslims in Afghanistan. In the battle of Qandahar Airport, I was injured and taken into Pakistan where I was later arrested by the Pakistani army who then took me to Quetta Military Hospital. The Americans came to interrogate me but I refused to speak to them.
“Then I was visited by interrogators from the government of al-Saud who promised to take me back to the land of the Two Holy Mosques in a specially charted [sic] medical jet but I refused to speak to them too. So the Pakistani government handed me over to the American army in Quetta Airport. The Americans transported me from Quetta Airport to Qandahar and then to Cuba. The treatment of the Americans was the treatment of an enemy to an enemy and this is natural but what I did not expect is to find the Americans to be a people without any principles, whether we are talking about moral principles or general human values. But also that is not unexpected from a nation that is leading the world into a moral decay that makes humans equal to animals. In fact animals have more values than some Americans. It is part of their so-called civilization to turn women into a roaming toilet which could be used casually by men. “One of the things that bothered us in prison was their attempts to seduce us through their women but all praise is due to Allah, we were protected from this human trash. Regarding torture I think that many of my brothers have already spoken extensively about that so there is no need to repeat it here.
“AM: After spending this time in prison and being exposed to this inhumane treatment, did your view of Americans change?
“AS: Yes it changed. Before imprisonment I used to think that there was some bottom-line humanity left in the Americans as is found in human beings in general regardless of the differences in beliefs and the fact that we are enemies. But after I got to deal with them directly, I came to the conclusion that mankind needs to protect its humanity by fighting Americans who are the enemies of the human race.
“AM: After six years of imprisonment you were released without a court proceeding and you were handed over to the Saudi government who held you in prison for seven months. Why did you head towards Yemen even though the Saudi government said that it has subjected the Guantanamo inmates to a rehabilitation program?
“AS: I headed towards Yemen because the mujahidin in Yemen have raised their banner. The Muslims are still being killed, manmade laws are still ruling over our land, the disbelievers are still on the soil of the Arabian Peninsula, and our honor is being violated. All of these are reasons why I cannot put down my arms.
“The rehabilitation program you referred to was basically a set of new religious beliefs imposed by the American tyrants on the Muslim societies and is being enforced by the traitor governments of the Muslim world. Whoever goes against these beliefs is imprisoned or murdered and unfortunately there are some who wear the cloak of scholarship but have sold their religion for a cheap price and they are marketing these false beliefs on behalf of the Americans…
“AM: When you came to Yemen, a unified organization of al Qaeda was announced for the Arabian Peninsula. What were the objectives of this announcement?
“AS: Yes, by the blessings of Allah we were able to correspond with our brothers in Yemen and following that we joined them. After discussing the issue, we decided to announce a joint organization for Yemen and the Land of the Two Sacred Mosques. This step has struck fear into the hearts of the apostates and the Americans and we praise Allah for that. The base of the organization and its leadership need to be in a protected place that is not weak from a security standpoint and this is why we chose Yemen. Also we do not accept these man-made borders between our countries and we consider the Arabian Peninsula to be one country.
“Our leader Abu Baseer, may Allah protect him, is approved by the general leadership of al Qaeda in the land of Khurasan and he is the appropriate person for this responsibility. Working together is an objective for us, and our goal is the establishment of an Islamic state that follows the way of the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم and the righteous Caliphs that followed him. Our objective is not to remove these petty states only to replace them with other petty states, but we intend to unify the Muslim lands under shari’ah and this step of ours has been blessed by our brothers and leaders in Khurasan whom we gave our pledge to, may Allah protect them all…
“AM: You have participated in the jihad against the Crusaders’ war on Afghanistan and then you were imprisoned. Since you had a chance to deal with the Americans close hand, what are your expectations for the future of the area in this war between America and the Muslims?
“AS: I expect, and Allah knows best, that America will withdraw from populated areas and would stay on their bases and keep their presence in the seas surrounding the area. They would try to enflame a sectarian warfare between Iran and the Gulf.
“The Iranian role was critical in the invasion of both Afghanistan and Iraq. In al-Sham, Israel wants to destroy the Mosque and build in its place the Temple of Solomon and they have their plans of establishing a greater Israel. But the ummah is working on lifting the siege on Gaza and the mujahidin would continue their work against Israel…
“AM: What is your advice to the Muslims in the West?
“AS: My advice to the Muslims in the West is to praise Allah for guiding them to īmān and allowing them to practice this great religion. I advise them to learn Islam according to the creed of ahl as-Sunnah and they should beware of those who speak Islam but do not practice it such as the government scholars who give fatwa according to the wills of their governments.
“Second: They should strive to follow the command of the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم who warned Muslims from living amongst non-Muslims. They should either immigrate or fight Jihad in the West by individual Jihad or by communicating with their brothers in the lands of Jihad. “Third: The operations of our brothers, Nidal Hassan and Umar al-Farouk, may Allah grant them steadfastness, are great heroic acts so whoever may add himself to this great list should do so and we ask Allah to grant them success. And all praise is due to Allah.”
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