Lone wolf jihadists should target white Americans so no one mistakes their terror attacks for hate crimes unrelated to the cause of radical Islam, Al Qaeda writes in the latest edition of its online magazine.
In an article first reported by The Foreign Desk, Al Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) called for more self-directed Muslim terrorists to kill in America. But the article, titled “Inspire guide: Orlando operation,” tells terrorists to “avoid targeting places and crowds where minorities are generally found” because if gays or Latinos appear to be the targets, “the federal government will be the one taking full responsibility.”
In the June 12 attack in Orlando, Omar Mateen killed 49 people and injured 53 inside a gay nightclub. Although Mateen, who was later killed by police, told hostage negotiators he pledged allegiance to ISIS, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch has characterized the attack as a hate crime against gays.
“I cannot tell you definitively that we will ever narrow it down to one motivation,” Lynch told reporters last week. “People often act out of more than one motivation.
“This was clearly an act of terror and an act of hate,” she continued. “We will look at all motivations and hope to come to a conclusion there.”
Although Al Qaeda does not take credit for Mateen’s attack in the online article, it urges more “lone wolves” to take up arms. Jihadists should target “areas where the Anglo-Saxon community is generally concentrated,” it states. “This class of the American community is the majority and it is the one that is in the American leadership.”
Al Qaeda is "very carefully threading a needle" by endorsing the attack while criticizing Mateen's target selection, said Ryan Mauro, national security analyst for Clarion Project, a Washington-based nonprofit that tracks the international terror threat.
"This is Al Qaeda's way of asserting itself above ISIS in the wake of its competitor's success," Mauro said.
Inspire magazine often exploits terror attacks in the West and makes threats against Europe and the United States. While the terror group responsible for 9/11 has been overshadowed by rival ISIS in recent years, it praised Mateen for his monstrous act.
“We stand by and support all Muslims who attack America in their homeland regardless of their affiliation to any group or loyalty,” the guide states, though adding that Mateen could have killed even more if he had used bombs in addition to the guns he carried: a Sig Sauer MCX semi-automatic rifle and a Glock 17 handgun.
"Al Qaeda is talking condescendingly toward ISIS while remaining supportive, like a guru of jihad mentoring a reckless amateur," Mauro said.