Al-Qaeda Invests In Propaganda for Spanish-Speaking Target Audiences

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Al-Qaeda Invests In Propaganda for Spanish-Speaking Target Audiences

As part of al-Qaeda’s constantly expanding propaganda campaign, the organization’s messages are translated into various languages, including Spanish.

On September 8, 2008, Ibn Al-Athir Al-Ansari, a member of the Al-Hesbah [1] online forum since March 2007, posted a Spanish translation of a speech made by Salah Abu Muhammad to the Muslim public in the Maghreb on September 2, 2008. [2] Salah Abu Muhammad is responsible for propaganda for al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

Before the translation, Ibn Al-Athir Al-Ansari provided the following introduction, demonstrating the increasing spread of ideological Jihadi propaganda to a Spanish-speaking target audience:

In the name of Allah the merciful and the compassionate… I am pleased to present before you a translation of the words of the beloved brother Salah Abu Muhammad, in charge of propaganda at Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, titled: Who are Those Murdering Innocents?
I ask the brothers to publish the translation on Spanish-speaking forums, so that the benefit will reach every believer, and the horror – every infidel. In addition, I address the experts in the Spanish language who inspect the translation and ask them to check my translation, in case of mistakes…
Prayer and peace on the seal of prophets, and praise to the Lord… Your brother, Abu Al-Qa’aqe Al-Shami”.

The speech itself is addressed to Muslims in the Maghreb, aimed at convincing them that al-Qaeda is not acting against innocent Muslims, contrary to claims made by the Algerian government and western media. The speech has an apologetic tone and attempts to prove that all al-Qaeda attacks are meticulously planned and aimed only against government and military targets, as well as against the Americans and the French, who provide aid to the Algerian government. Related to this point, the speech also mentions Canadians and Russians as active entities in Algiers and therefore as legitimate targets for attack.

Upon reviewing the Spanish text of the speech, several insights can be drawn:

  1. Exporting ideas, viewpoints, and opinions is an integral part of al-Qaeda’s modus operandi, which is intent on influencing potential target audiences and expanding its circle of “believers.”
  2. As a result, global Jihad activists invest significant resources in translating ideological and propaganda material into foreign languages in order to reach diverse audiences around the world. As the third most spoken language in the world, Spanish is a particular focus of the global jihad movement.
  3. The speech adopts an apologetic tone when referring to harm caused to innocent people by terrorist attacks launched by al-Qaeda-affiliated global jihad organizations. The statement was made in response to increased criticism of such organizations, whose attacks have resulted in the injuries or deaths of innocent Muslims. There is clearly an attempt being made to eran legitimacy and support for the actions of jihadi organizations, in spite of the harm – claimed to be unintentional – caused to innocent people.

Posted messages and the Spanish translation from the Al-Hesbah website:

[1] Al-Hesbah is a leading Islamist websites that serves as a conduit for messages from al-Qaeda and other Jihad organizations.


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