Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Anwar al-Awlaki (al-'Awlaqi): American Radical Shaykh: Lecture Series, Part II

*Second post in a series on the lectures and sermons of the American (of Yemeni descent) radical preacher Anwar al-'Awlaqi (Awlaki), intended to provide access to interested readers to primary sources to learn more about his political, religious, and social thought.

See the first post, with links to downloadable mp3s of his influential lecture series commenting on a book penned by a former leader of al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), "Constants on the Path of Jihad," HERE.

The American-raised Anwar al-'Awlaqi (generally transliterated as "Anwar al-Awlaki") is a jihadi ideologue who has become popular with English-speaking jihadi-Salafis over the last several years. Recently, he has been in the news media in the United States because of his connection to Major Nidal Malik Hasan, the U.S. Army officer and psychiatrist who is charged with going on a November 5 shooting rampage at Fort Hood in Texas, murdering 13 people and wounding another 30. Al-'Awlaqi described himself as Hasan's "mentor."

Al-'Awlaqi served as the prayer leader (imam) at several U.S. mosques, including Dar al-Hijrah in Falls Church, Virginia (15 minutes from the town where I grew up in northern Virginia), which is one of the largest mosques and Muslim community centers in the U.S. Several of the September 11, 2001 terrorist-hijackers went to Dar al-Hijrah for a period of time, as did Hasan. The center has been caricatured in some recent news stories as a "radical center." Though some radicals have attended Dar al-Hijrah, this blanket description is, at best, gross overreach. Literally thousands of people attend the center's services (mostly Muslim immigrants and Muslim-Americans who live in the nearby area, which is in a heavily-populated part of the Washington, D.C. suburbs on the Virginia side.

'Abd al-Majid al-Zindani

Born in 1971, al-'Awlaqi was raised primarily in the U.S. He moved permanently from the U.S. to the London in 2002. Two years later, he moved to the Yemeni capital city of San'a, where he is associated with 'Abd al-Majid al-Zindani, Yemen's most famous and influential Salafi religious scholar, and al-Iman University, which was founded by al-Zindani.

Al-Zindani with the late 'Abdullah 'Azzam, a key fundraiser and recruiter of Arab "Afghan" mujahideen ["warriors of faith"] during the 1980s war against the Soviets in Afghanistan. 'Azzam was also a key ideologue of the modern jihadi movement.

Downloadable mp3 Files:

(1) "It's a War against Islam"

(2) "Lessons from Ghazwah al-Uhud," an early battle in Muslim history in which the Prophet Muhammad and his supporters were badly defeated by the Meccans.

(3) "Tolerance: A Hallmark of Muslim Character"

(4) "Battle of the Hearts and Minds"

*For those wary of going to radical web sites, I have uploaded the mp3 files to a "safe" file-sharing site.

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