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New Al-Qaida Video Commemorates 9/11 Attacks, Urges Muslim Community to Fight US

The official also said that while al-Qaida still poses a threat to the United States, core al-Qaida has been "decimated," with its leaders preoccupied with internal squabbling

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9/11 Terrorist Attack on World Trade Attack in USA. Image source: youtube.com
  • In the video, Al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri also said that the 9/11 attacks returned the balance between Islam and its enemies
  • In Washington, Many US intelligence officials were aware of the video and disregarded it, saying that their key focus is on ISIL and the war in Syria
  • But some officials from the intelligence community feel that Al-Qaida may still be a threat

Al-Qaida is calling on Muslims to join the terror group’s fight against the United States as it marks the 15th anniversary of the deadly September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

In a video released Friday on the internet titled “The Defiers of Injustice,” al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri said the 9/11 attacks “returned the balance” between Islam and what it called its materialistic Crusader enemies, according to a translation by the SITE Intelligence Group.

Zawahiri said the attacks reminded Muslims of their power and their “potential to deter aggression.” He also noted ongoing racial disparities in the U.S. and urged black Americans to convert to Islam.

U.S. intelligence officials said they were aware of the video, though at least one official sought to downplay the significance, calling Zawahiri a “marginal figure” fighting for relevance.

Source:VOA
FILE – This still image from video obtained Oct. 26, 2012, courtesy of the Site Intelligence Group, shows al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri speaking in a video, from an undisclosed location, released by al-Qaida’s media arm, as-Sahab. Image source: VOA

The official also said that while al-Qaida still poses a threat to the United States, core al-Qaida has been “decimated,” with its leaders preoccupied with internal squabbling.

Threat factor

Other members of the U.S. intelligence community have been less inclined to dismiss the threat from al-Qaida, however, even though it has been overshadowed by the Islamic State terror group.

During testimony before Congress, this past July, National Counterterrorism Center Director Nicholas Rasmussen called al-Qaida and its affiliates “a principle counterterrorism priority.”

“We would not tier our priorities in such a way that downgrades al-Qaida in favor of a greater focus on ISIL,” he said in his written testimony, using an acronym for Islamic State. “When we are looking at the terrorism threats that we face as a nation, including to the homeland, al-Qaida still figures prominently.”

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Some U.S. counterterrorism officials also have voiced concern about al-Qaida’s affiliate in Yemen — al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) — which has taken advantage of 16 months of civil war to solidify safe havens in several provinces.

U.S. Homeland Security officials also have warned that al-Qaida still has its sights set on more 9/11-style attacks, again using commercial airplanes to hit symbolic targets.

U.S. National Counterterrorism Center Director Nicholas Rasmussen, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and FBI Director James Comey (L-R) testify before a House Homeland Security Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, July 14, 2016. Source: VOA
U.S. National Counterterrorism Center Director Nicholas Rasmussen, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and FBI Director James Comey (L-R) testify before a House Homeland Security Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, July 14, 2016.
Source: VOA

“Al-Qaida, in the Arabian Peninsula and ISIL continue to see an attack on aviation as an important part of their strategy,” the undersecretary for intelligence and analysis, Brigadier General Francis Taylor, said last month during a talk in Washington.

“[We] have clear indications that our enemies are trying to perfect ways of introducing explosives and other devices onto aircraft for the purpose of destroying them in midflight,” he added.

Jabhat Fatah al-Sham

Other U.S. intelligence officials also remain concerned about Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, which recently formed out of what used to be known as Jabhat al-Nusra, the key al-Qaida affiliate in Syria.

While the new group has renounced its ties with al-Qaida, some intelligence officials and analysts remain skeptical the move was anything more than a stunt to shift public opinion.

Others point to al-Qaida’s ability to survive the onslaught it faced from Islamic State in Syria and elsewhere as a sign the terror organization is anything but decimated.

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“Al-Qaida has emerged from this having survived the challenge [from IS] definitively,” said Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.

Lingering problem

He also said the new video from al-Qaida leader Zawahiri is neither “a sign of a collapsed organization” nor a sign of a group struggling for relevance.

“It’s the kind of thing you would expect,” said Gartenstein-Ross.

“Underestimating these foes can lead to terrible errors in policy,” he warned. (VOA)

  • Jagpreet Kaur Sandhu

    Such disgust! Its rather painful that some people between us think that causing terror attacks can have religious significance.

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People Use Hate Speech While Searching About Terrorism on Social Media

People post hate speech while seeking answers on terrorism

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Social Media terrorism
People often resort to using hate speech when searching about terrorism on a community group social media platform. Pixabay

People often resort to using hate speech when searching about terrorism on a community group social media platform, say researchers.

According to Snehasish Banerjee, lecturer at the York Management School, University of York, it appears seems that people are really curious to know about terrorists, what terrorists think, their ideas, etc.

“While portrayed as a threat to society and human civilisation by mainstream media, terrorists sell terrorism as freedom fighting via social networking sites and private messaging platforms,” said Banerjee.

“However, the actual workings of terrorism are largely shrouded in secrecy. For the curious, a convenient avenue to turn to is the community question answering sites”.

Community question answering sites (CQAs) are social media platforms where users ask questions, answer those submitted by others, and have the option to evaluate responses. Previous studies have mainly looked at terrorism-related data drawn from Facebook and Twitter, this was the first to examine trends on the CQA site, Yahoo! Answers.

Social Media terrorism
While portrayed as a threat to society and human civilisation by mainstream media, terrorists sell terrorism as freedom fighting via social media platforms. Pixabay

The University of York study explored the use of Yahoo! Answers on the topic of terrorism and looked at a dataset of 300 questions that attracted more than 2,000 answers. The questions reflected the community’s information needs, ranging from the life of extremists to counter-terrorism policies. Sensitive questions outnumbered innocuous ones.

A typical innocuous question was: Who exactly created ISIS?, while a more sensitive question was: Do you agree with Donald Trump that we should ban Muslims coming from countries seized by ISIS, Al Qaeda and other terrorists? According to the findings, sensitive questions were significantly more likely to be submitted anonymously than innocuous ones.

While no significant difference arose with respect to answers, the paper found that identities were seldom recognisable. Using names non-traceable to themselves, the community group users become embolden to use provocative, inflammatory or uncivil language. “We found that answers were laden with negative emotions reflecting hate speech and Islamophobia, making claims that were rarely verifiable,” said Banerjee.

Also Read- Facebook and Twitter Remain Divided due to Bloomberg’s Video

Users who posted sensitive questions and answers generally tended to remain anonymous.

“This paper calls for governments and law enforcement agencies to collaborate with major social media companies, including CQAs, to develop a process for cross-platform blacklisting of users and content, as well as identifying those who are vulnerable,” the authors noted in the Aslib Journal of Information Management. (IANS)