More than a decade ago, the English-language 'Inspire' magazine began to be published by al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula. Issues of the magazine have included exhortations to jihad and tactics for engaging in jihad. Unsurprisingly, the magazine has attracted considerable interest in the world of jihadism analysis.
Similar initiatives continue to emerge in the realm of online jihadist material. One example is the 'Wolves of Manhattan Magazine,' issued by the al-Malahem Electronic Army (aka al-Malahem Cyber Army) that is supportive of al-Qa'ida. Issued in Arabic, French and English, the magazine is described as 'a guide for lone wolves in the Crusaders' land.'
As it happens, I was able to conduct an interview with Abu Bayan al-Maqdisi, the editorial head of the 'Wolves of Manhattan Magazine.' The interview concerns the al-Malahem Electronic Army, the logic of continuing to conduct operations targeting the West, and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Q: When was the al-Malahem Electronic Army established and what are its aims? Do you encourage the mujahideen and their supporters to attack the West in particular? From where does the name of the magazine come?
A: Praise be to God the Lord of the Worlds and prayers and peace be upon al-Duhuk al-Qattal* who strikes the necks of the disbelievers, and oh God be pleased with Abu Bakr the slaughterer of the apostates, and Omar, Othman and Ali, and whoso has followed them with ihsan to the Day of Judgement. As for what follows: the al-Malahem Electronic Army was formed as an independent media platform around a year ago, with the aim of supporting the official media of the Muslims and confronting the Crusader media machine. And the army is active in many fields and has many foundations, like the al-Tabyan Foundation for Media Production, the Voice of al-Qa'ida for Audio Production and others. And the army works in other fields like visual releases and designs of incitement and media expeditions. And among these works that belong to the army is the Wolves of Manhattan Magazine in which we work with the rest of our brothers.
And there is no doubt that we strive, encourage and call on the heroic youth of our Ummah living in the Abode of the Cross to disturb the living of the Crusaders and target them with all we can, through poisons, explosives and silencers, to turn their joys into orphanages. As for the name of the magazine, this is a clear matter: it is taken from the greatest security operation in human history: namely the blessed Manhattan operation, which God inflicted on all the Western peoples.
Q: Today we have seen most of the mujahid groups waging fierce battles against local governments in countries like Mali, Somalia, Yemen etc. And this preoccupies most of their efforts. What is the benefit from targeting the West in this time? Isn't it better to establish Islamic emirates and the Caliphate first then they can think of targeting the West?
A: Firstly there is something from the given points among us and it is of the given points among all the mujahideen as we reckon: namely, whatever causes and aims we have, al-Quds and Palestine remain our first aim, and whatever adversaries and enemies we have, the dogs of the American Romans remain our greatest enemy because through their disappearance, the tyrants of the Arabs will disappear and the tyrants of the non-Arabs will be weakened by the permission of God. This is a matter we want all to understand. As for the issue of the internal battle, the external battle is not separated from the internal battle, and we have seen how our in the case of our mujahideen brothers in Yemen, even as they are in the most difficult circumstances internally, their commando knight Muhammad al-Shamrani (may God accept him) shook the depth of the abode of the Crusaders.
And indeed the external battle can change the results of the internal battle on the ground, for when the Muslims in occupied Madrid roared and lit it up in flames, the Crusader Spanish government withdrew from Iraq. That is, the strikes in the depth of the Crusaders occupies them with themselves away from the Muslims and their aim becomes to defend themselves instead of thinking of attacking our lands. Therefore we will strive, continue, work and toil night and day to find the ways and solutions for our mujahideen heroes in the abode of the Crusaders.
And let the Crusader governments in general and the American and French ones in particular know that we are in wait for them and their peoples many times more than they are in wait for us and our people and our mujahideen brothers. And indeed our project on which we proceed in the Wolves of Manhattan Magazine is merely a completion of the call and directives of our Sheikh Anwar al-Awlaqi (may God accept him), and we still remember our brother the hero Omar Farouq (may God provide him deliverance) when he shouted in the American court: 'Al-Awlaqi has not died.' And days passed until we saw that our Sheikh al-Awlaqi is still living in the two Kouachi brothers (may God accept them both). And we saw that our sheikh is still living in the operation of the brother al-Shamrani (may God accept him). The Crusaders, after God the Blessed and Almighty permitted them, were able to kill our Sheikh Anwar but by this they kept alive his ideas and they will not be able to kill them by the permission of God. So oh Wolves of Manhattan above every land and under every sky, be zealous, be zealous. Make us hear the cries of the bereaved of the Crusaders and show us their tears flowing in the streets just as they made the blood of your people flow in Palestine. Be harsh upon them and inflict massacres upon them and we are behind you supporting you in all we can form plans and ideas and by the permission of God with the coming of the blessed month of Ramadan we will publish the second issue of the 'Wolves of Manhattan Magazine' and there will be in it useful suggestions for you. So prepare yourselves for this day, and indeed the issues of our magazine will be available on the official channel of the army on the Rocket Chat application and in various languages.
Q: What is your opinion on the corona epidemic? Is the virus a torment from God that He has brought down on the idolaters? What is your advice to the Muslims to protect against corona? Do you encourage the Muslims to receive the vaccine for the sake of protection?
A: Indeed the corona epidemic is without a shadow of a doubt a wisdom from our Lord the Blessed and Almighty, in which the believers are tested and in which the disbelievers are eradicated. And indeed we advice the Muslims to take their precaution and pursue the means of protection of which the most important is continuing on invocations of the morning and evening. We also call on our mujahideen heroes to take advantage of the epidemic to increase the pains on the Crusaders and we have made clear some of the paths for this matter. Whoso wants to benefit from them, let him consult the first issue of the Wolves of Manhattan Magazine. As for what concerns the vaccine, man is informed about himself. So let the Muslim assess his situation and let him decide by himself. And in conclusion we swear by God Almighty who raised the heaven without a pillar, America will not dream of security nor will those who live in America dream of it, before we live through it as a reality in Palestine and before all the disbelieving armies leave the land of Muhammad (God's peace and blessings be upon him). And God is greatest and glory be to Islam.
*(Note): referring to the Prophet Muhammad, because he smiled with the believers and fought the disbelievers.