Promoted in Al-Qaida

October 15, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Reid Rosen

Friday Posts 10/15/2010

An NPR article from today sheds light on two Americans who joined Al-Qaida. Not only were are both Americans native to the US and have been active in the terriorist group Al-Qaida, they have been promoted to senior positions. Adam Gadahn from California and Anwar al-Awlaki from New Mexico has given al-Qaida possible media strategies to target American recruits. Both radical leaders have different approaches into how to influence. Each radical leader has a different approach to the how they speak to the public via the internet. Gadahn, grew up on a goat farm in California and had parents who were hippies. Gadahn was homeschooled, but became big into death metal rock. Gadahn when giving his speeches is similar to the music he listens to. Being confrontational, aggressive and speaking directly to the viewer, often pointing at the camera. Awlaki’s story couldn’t be more different, moving to New Mexico with his father who was a Rhode Scholar. Awlaki got his master’s in engineering and shortly after wards became an Imam. But, only after Awlaki was imprisoned in Yemen in 2004 did his message become dark.

This article is interesting yes because the difference between both Islamic leaders. But, I think the other important piece and pertains to what we have discussed in class; the use of social media to attract members into al-Qaida. Apparently Awlaki using Youtube and videos has been able to not only recruit new young Americans; but rather than al-Qaida having to look for the recruits, the recruits look for al-Qaida. I think a topic like this goes into our discussion about media values. I personally think we should take all measures to not allow these videos to be found on the internet. We talked about the freedom of speech in class, but what if that speech is promoting terrorism? The freedom of speech is not such an easy issue.

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