Friday, July 16, 2010

You can't keep San Diego's Holy Men down

San Diego's own Anwar Al-Awlaki has written a glossy call for religious-based violence called "Inspire".  Styling itself as the Summer 2010 newsletter of a group calling itself Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the issue contains a hefty dose of current American culture and of revolution.  There are lists of recommended assassination targets (still those cartoonists), praise for bombers such as Umar al-Faruq (the underwear bomber), and bomb-making instructions (removed from the linked PDF).  And overhanging everything is unquestioning and exclusive religious truth.  There may be some political arguments, but the quickest of perusals shows that religious truth is the main justification and the primary motivator.  The goal is to rid the area (Yemen?  The Arabian Peninsula?  The Middle East?  The world?) of fitnah, disbelief, and establish strict Islamic law as they interpret it.  Pity those who find themselves under such a rule, as even Saudi Arabia is too Westernized for them.  And putting it all together is one of San Diego's holy men.

Born in New Mexico while his parents were here from Yemen, Awlaki obtained a Master's degree in education from SDSU and served as the Imam at a La Mesa mosque from 1996 to 2000.  During that time he had contact with Omar Abdel Rahman, now in prison for the World Trade Center attack of 1993, and was investigated by the FBI who did not turn up enough evidence for an arrest.  After 9/11, authorities began looking at Awlaki again since he had close contact with two of the hijackers at the La Mesa mosque.  An arrest warrant was issued, but the US Attorney's Office in Denver rescinded the warrant, for reasons that are unclear.  The story sounds like a bureaucratic mess-up.  The result is that Awlaki was able to leave the country and now lives in Yemen.

From his base in Yemen, Anwar al-Awlaki continues to advocate for his revealed truth as another San Diegan driven to change the world by, and for, religion.

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