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Friday, June 15, 2012

Two E-Mails From Anwar Awlaki

The following two letters from Anwar Awlaki were read aloud in court during the trial of British Airways worker Rajib Karim, who wrote to Awlaki seeking to join him as a fighter in Yemen. Awlaki wrote back in the two emails below encouraging Karim to abandon his plans to emigrate to Yemen and instead plot terrorism against airlines from his position in the U.K. (See previous INTELWIRE story.)

Fox News obtained transcripts from Karim's trial as part of a special report airing tonight on Nidal Hasan, the Fort Hood shooter.  The e-mails were read aloud in court and transcribed by a stenographer without Arabic language skills. As a result, while the emails below are nearly verbatim, some Arabic words were transcribed incomprehensibly. Many thanks to Aaron Zelin of and Humera Khan of Muflehun for deciphering some of the terms. Notes for phonetic and indiscernible are sprinkled throughout.

The letters offer a fascinating look at Awlaki's priorities and tactics in dealing with a new recruit.

January 25, 2010

As-salaam aleikum, 

Dear brother, I pray this e-mail reaches you at the best state of iman and health.

I was introduced to you by your brother, may Allah reward him. When he mentioned to me your profession and that you intended to make Hijra, so your brother mentioned that you work at BA.

I immediately wanted to contact you to tell you that my advice to you is to remain in your current position. Depending on what your role is and the amount of information you can get your hands on, you might be able to provide us with critical and urgent information and may be able to play a crucial role [on behalf of the] ummah.

Whenever we have reluctance in how far are you willing to go for Allah and then choose the choice of sacrifices, Allah rewards us with tranquility and opens up for us doors of good that we did not imagine.

Allah is generous. We ask Allah to guide us to the straight path. Today we need men who are willing to go all the way, to not hold back anything from Allah. The religion of Allah cannot be given victory by part-time service. This is not a weekend religion. The contract is to sell ourselves to Allah. The compensation is paradise. With the human resources that exist in the ummah today, but only a fraction of them follow the path to sacrifices. The [inaudible] would be prepared Khalifa is known no [inaudible].

"But the ummah today has been weakened by virtues of supplication. However, good be praised, our ministry of numbers of sincere men and women here and there who are willing to break through the shackles.

We search for such men and women. I pray you are one of them, dear brother. I was pleased when your brother conveyed from you salaams to myself and was excited by hearing of your profession.

I pray that Allah may grant us a breakthrough through you. Can you please answer these questions in as much elaboration as possible.
  • Can you please specify your role in the airline industry?
  • How much access do you have to airports?
  • What information do you have on the limitations and cracks in present airport security systems?
  • What procedure would travellers from the newly listed countries have to go through?
  • What procedure would a person on a watch list have to go through?
  • Can they prevent a national from a certain country to travelling to this country and like a Brit going back to Britain?
  • What ways can you help us based on what you know of your job and our objective?

For security reasons, I prefer to communicate with you through your brother's account. However, please maintain the other account by keeping it open just in case I need to contact you there.

Awaiting your answer.

As-salaam aleikum, 

Brother Muta

February 12, 2010

As-salaam aleikum, 

Dear brother,

Thanks for your detailed letter. When Rasool Allah [Muhammad] left Ali behind during the battle of [phonetic, undetermined], the hypocrites said that he's leaving him behind because he does not want his company.

When Ali heard this, he told [the Messenger of Allah] about it.  [The Messenger of Allah] said, "Aren't you pleased to be to me what Harun [Aaron] was to Musa [Moses]?" This is because when Musa left for his appointment with Allah, it hinted Harun to stay behind. In other battles,  [the Messenger of Allah] also met other companions in Medina. 

These companions would receive reward equal to those who went out because they weren't tempted to stay behind [inaudible]."

"In your case, you are not asked to stay behind, but, in fact, you are asked to stay [inaudible]. So how much reward would you get? You will receive the Hijra or Hijra full because it's your intention to do so and from this time on, since you have asked [inaudible], to remain at your location. You are receiving this Hijra as ribat. Rasool Allah said the ribbat [fighting on the front lines] of one day is equal to the fasting and trial of a month.

If your intention is to serve the deen of Allah as best as you can, then we expect that Allah, as we are instructed to have good expectations of Allah, to grant you steadfastness and guide you in your corrupt environment.

I want to advise you of the advice Sheikh Abdullah Azzam gave to a brother travelling to America. He said, "I'd find you with four things. Dhikr [remembrance] of Allah. [indiscernible], recitation of Qur'an and to lower your gaze.” May Allah protect you and make you the true soldier and open a door of service to his religion through you.

Regarding some of the points you raised:

* BA internal knowledge. We do not think that it is a good idea for you to cause disruption to the hardware or service if it would expose you. However, is there anything that you could do that would not expose your identity?

* Cabin crew opportunity. You should definitely take this opportunity. The information that you provided could be very useful.

* [Cites hadith source] When he was sent on the special operations mission to assassinate  [indiscernible name] in order to win his precedence, if he was allowed to speak proper to win the confidence of [indiscernible name], it would be allowed to perform acts which are sins.

However, this should be used only to require an example but only as required. An example [inaudible] it is the action of later Muslims is when the soldier [indiscernible] wore Christian clothes and had crosses on their legs and rose on their boots in order to [inaudible].

* Visiting Yemen. All Muslims coming from the west go through scrutiny when visiting Yemen. Therefore, it would pose a security risk for someone like you to come to Yemen at the moment. I understand that this would be a great opportunity for us to meet you and for you to get some training and uplifting too as your environment is anything but supportive. However, if it comes at the risk of compromising your security, I believe you should pass this time.

* The plan. We have our general objectives and we also have ideas for plans, but the plan itself needs to be designed based on what is feasible. So the major part of the planning actually comes from your end. It would take time, et cetera, too and some preparations to come up with a practical plan that would best serve the deen. Therefore, please take utmost precautions in your methods of communication with us.

Our highest priority is the U.S. Anything there, even if on a smaller scale compared with what we may do in the UK, would be our choice. So the question is, with the people you have, is it possible to get a package or a parcel with a package on board a flight heading to the US? If that is not possible, then what ideas do you have to quickly set up for the UK?

By the way, did any of the brothers you mention get training on x-ray machines? I understand their limitations for the time. Is it possible for you to come with ways to make fast reports on security risks or airplanes and airports? Reports that would cause planes to be grounded and airports closed, but do you have ideas on how we could get this done? This doesn't amount to much, [but] it does cause some nuisance and loss. Obviously this is something that you should only get involved in if it's fully safe for you. Otherwise, it's not worth if it the disruption of service is [not] something bigger.

But is there any way that you could do it without being exposed? Also, how large of a disruption are we looking at and do you have any estimates of the amount of financial loss that would result? 

Regarding your [inaudible] at the right time and if you suggest, I could record a short message for them.

May Allah reward you and protect you.


For more about Awlaki and other American jihadists, check out J.M. Berger's new book, Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam, on sale everywhere.

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INTELWIRE is a web site edited by J.M. Berger. a researcher, analyst and consultant covering extremism, with a special focus on extremist activities in the U.S. and extremist use of social media. He is a non-resident fellow with the Brookings Institution, Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World, and author of the critically acclaimed Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam, the only definitive history of the U.S. jihadist movement, and co-author of ISIS: The State of Terror with Jessica Stern.


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