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Authenticity of Al Qaeda magazine questioned

An online magazine bearing the signature of the Al Qaeda has surfaced on the internet, but media reports doubted the authenticity of the publication attributed to the global terror network.

world Updated: Jul 02, 2010 18:23 IST

An online magazine bearing the signature of the Al Qaeda has surfaced on the internet, but media reports doubted the authenticity of the publication attributed to the global terror network.

The first-ever English-language propaganda magazine purportedly written by Al Qaeda leaders, "Inspire", surfaced Thursday. The publication carries the emblem of the Yemen-based Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

With an aim to to recruit Muslims in the US, Canada, Britain and other English-speaking countries, the magazine has the bylines of Al Qaeda founders like Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri and US-born radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki who lives in Yemen.

The magazine is only three pages long and carries a Trojan virus which has apparently corrupted the remaining of its 64 pages, the New York Times said.

The Times said the English "is crude and clunky, almost to the point of being laughable".

Headlines teased the tutorials for would-be terrorists, including instructions to "make a bomb in the kitchen of your mom", an article on "Mujahedeen 101" and a lesson in sending and receiving encrypted messages.

"Our intent is to give the most accurate presentation of Islam," reads a letter from the editor, according to the Times.

But it is not clear who produced the publication, said the Atlantic - a Washington-based online magazine as it raised some reasons to question the authenticity of the document.

Bin Laden and Zawahiri are extremely secretive and issue statements rarely and directly to the media and it would be unusual for them to write for a third-party publication, the magazine said, adding it is possible that the magazine's producers simply copied old statements these leaders had made.

The language of the magazine reflects either a poor command of English or "a light-hearted sense of self-parody". The AQAP, the Atlantic said, "is not known for either".

"Awlaki makes his participation very plausible, is a native, fluent, and very articulate English speaker. His fiery English-language sermons are not funny."

The magazine includes an essay by Abu Mu'sab al-Suri, whose connection to Al Qaeda is uncertain and who is locked up in Guantanamo since 2005.

The Atlantic said some technology experts feel the magazine was either not loaded properly or carries a virus.

"This is unusual because Al Qaeda and AQAP have produced and disseminated such PDF publications many times without such problems."

It remains unclear who has produced the magzine. "But the most likely culprit could simply be mischievous, if knowledgeable, pranksters in the US who wanted to disseminate a trojan virus among jihadi forum visitors," said the Atlantic.

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