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'Wanted dead or alive, preferably dead'

Last updated on: November 19, 2010 13:29 IST

'Wanted dead or alive, preferably dead'

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Vicky Nanjappa
Vicky Nanjappa assesses the global threat named Anwar al-Awlaki, who has been creating Kasabs around the world with his inflamatory speeches

On November 26 two years ago, 10 terrorists wrecked havoc in Mumbai. Ready to give up their lives, one wondered from where these men got their resolve, how many like Kasabs were being manufactured with such precision.

Investigations, which followed, showed that Anwar al-Awlaki was one of the chief inspirations for the large scale attacks being carried out.

At that point of time, he was more of a preacher who the world had on its watch list. However, now a report by the Sunday Times terms him as one of the world's most dangerous cyber rerrorist.

The New York Police Department has termed him as the 'most dangerous man in the world'. Awlaki is 'wanted dead or alive, preferably dead'.

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Image: File photo of Anwar al-Awlaki

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Awlaki has been giving agencies across the world sleepless nights with his provocative speeches.

The Indian Intelligence, which has a dossier on him, says that he is not part of planning or strategy, but he preaches the ideology of every terrorist organisation and the countries that he names as primary enemies of Islam are the US, India and Israel.

Despite warnings, threats from federal agencies, he goes about his job with no fear and swears that he will continue to preach against these countries and will continue to inspire many more youth who want to take up jihad.

The IB goes on to add that his speeches do not speak of mere injustice or atrocities. It incites people to go to war and kill people, which is worrisome and worst of all these speeches have a humongous effect on the youth.



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Awlaki's father, who was a minister with the Yemen government, was quoted in the Sunday Times report as saying that his son had no intention of becoming a cleric.

It all started when during one of the prayer meetings, he was asked to give the sermon since the cleric had failed to turn up. Today, he is the world's most influential speaker at least in terror circles.

Awlaki was born in the US and is an engineer by profession. However, a normal job never interested him, Indian intelligence agencies point out.

He gradually made a shift towards supporting groups, which supported terrorism in the world and he attempted to justify every move of the Al Qaeda and the Lashkar-e-Tayiba, the two outfits, which cover and protect him today.


Image: Video grab of Awlaki's speech from the Internet

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Today, he is the supreme teacher for these two outfits and his preaching is used in every recruitment programme and also when terror strikes are being planned.

The dossier on him suggests that he has prepared the all-important manual on the 44 ways to carry out jihad.

Earlier, this document was on paper. But Awlaki felt that the Internet was the most powerful weapon to reach the rest of the world and hence he started to put up this document on the web.

The dossier points out that this document can be termed as the hate bacteria against India and the US and is supplied to students right from the age of 10 in the madrassas (Islamic schools) in Pakistan.

It is also being promoted in madrassas across the world and it has become compulsory in some of the radical schools to study this document by Awlaki.



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Awlaki has been an inspiration to many. Traces of his preaching were found with the 9/11 and the 26/11 attackers. He was also an inspiration to Shehzad, the New York bomber and also to Umar Farouk Abdulmuttalab, the Nigerian, who tried to blow up a US aircraft over Detroit.

In addition to this investigators have also found his links with Major Nidal Hasan, who carried out an attack at the US military base at Texas.

During the course of the investigation they found that Awlaki had been in touch with Hasan all through the attack right from the planning stages until the execution through e-mail.

Despite several steps being taken to ban his speeches and documents on the web, they continue to resurface in different forms.


Image: Major Nidal Hasan, who shot 13 people dead at a US army base in Texas

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