Al Qaeda group plans to release animated cartoon to recruit kids
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July 22nd, 2011
10:46 AM ET

Al Qaeda group plans to release animated cartoon to recruit kids

Editor's Note: The following piece comes from Global Post, which provides excellent coverage of world news.

Terrorists connected to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula said they were creating the animated film to inspire children to join the jihad, but some users on jihadi websites said the characters were too "scary" for kids

An al Qaeda affiliate in Yemen is planning to release an animated film cartoon aimed at recruiting young people to the militant network.

Terrorists connected to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the Yemen-based affiliate, said they were creating the cartoon to inspire children to join the jihad, a posting on an extremist website said, according to the Daily News.

The animated film, titled "Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula," shows young boys dressed in battle fatigues and carrying out raids, killings and terror plots, according to the Associated Press.

The British counter-extremism think tank Quilliam said news of the movie was announced on a password-protected Arabic-language online discussion forum on Sunday by a person who called himself Abu al-Laith al-Yemen, according to Reuters.

Al-Yemen said he and others were finishing up the creation of the cartoon about the al Qaeda affiliate that would educate kids about the history of the group and inspire them to commit acts of terrorism, Quilliam said, according to Reuters:

"The cartoon movie 'Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula' (AQAP) is a very exciting story that tells the facts about who let down the Islamic religion and the Prophet, and how the Arab leaders are agents of the West and other Islamic issues," Quilliam quoted al-Yemen as saying.

Some stills from the cartoon were posted at the website, and they are inspiring some backlash, according to the Telegraph. There was strong criticism of the cartoons on Internet forums for jihadists. Users said they made the scarf-wearing fighters look too "scary" for children. In addition, it's possible that many Muslim parents will see this as an attempt by al Qaeda to cause rifts within families and to undermine parents' authority.

According to the Associated Press:

"It's a Disney-like film aimed at kids that tells stories of the Prophet, stories of holy wars and anti-Western propaganda," said Noman Benotman, a former jihadist with links to al-Qaida who is now an analyst at Quilliam. "But I think it could backfire. Families will be angry that al-Qaida is directing this at their children."

The cartoon doesn't feature any depictions of Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaeda founder who was killed by U.S. forces, or of the current leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. Benotman said the group making the cartoon said it was in its final stages and that they planned to distribute it through websites and on DVDs.

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, made up of mostly Yemeni and Saudi nationals, is waging an armed campaign to topple the Yemeni government and is responsible for several attempted bombings, including a failed 2009 attempt to bring down a plane over Detroit, Reuters reported.

But it has also been active in expanding al Qaeda's use of the Internet by producing sophisticated Arabic-language propaganda and a teen magazine-style online publication called Inspire, which is an English-language product.

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Topics: Middle East

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soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Barry

    If there’s any question about whether these individuals are warped, here’s your proof.

    Recruiting children to do the evil deeds of adults—this is about as cowardly and as low as a human can sink.

    “It would be better to have a large millstone tied around one’s neck and for them to be thrown into the sea, than to cause one of these little children to stumble.” –Jesus

    July 22, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Reply
    • JoeBond

      I wonder where they got the idea of brainwashing children to become killing machines for their nutty causes:

      July 22, 2011 at 10:40 pm | Reply
  2. WTTF08080




    July 22, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Reply
  3. WTTF08080

    \/\/ \/\/ \/\/ ttTTtt FliCK ?

    July 22, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Reply
  4. MyPictureOfMuhammad


    July 22, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Reply
  5. TowelHeadsAreMorons

    Is that a picture of "Daffy Mohammad" on the top of the page?

    July 22, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Reply
  6. IslameIsEvil

    Animated movie of "Daffy Mohammad" beating women, throwing acid on women's faces, poisoning little school girls, raping little girls and boys, and stoning women for just being women. The kids should really get a hoot out of it!

    July 22, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Reply
    • abd

      Finally!!! Christian Terrorism in Norway!!!. How about that???

      July 23, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Reply
      • j. von hettlingen

        It was a bomb attack and a shooting rampage. The acts were probably politically and less religiously motivated. However tragic the incidents were, I'm glad that the islamist extremists are not held accountable for these evil deeds. It would pour furthermore fuel on fire.

        July 23, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  7. sameer.alqubaty

    Corruption, the absence of properly enforced commercial law, poor security and a badly educated population have impeded business for Yemenis, scaring off most foreign investors. Mr Saleh was so preoccupied with securing his political base that he ignored economic development, appointing incompetent stooges rather than qualified technocrats to run projects such as a vaunted free-trade zone in the port of Aden, which has never taken off(Saleh gets paid by the U.A.E. an annual of US$600000000/- to idle the port???) In any event the oil revenues that bolstered the government in the 1990s are disappearing fast, and reserves too. Mr Saleh's patronage network has been torn apart as his power to pay off an increasingly resentful population has dwindled. Aid workers fear that Yemen is too chaotic and geopolitically insignificant for large-scale aid and loans to come its way. For years, it has been clear that Mr Saleh's removal was a prerequisite for economic reform. Now that he is gone (although he may yet try to come back) Yemen is so utterly ruined that the upheaval following his departure is as likely to kill the economy as to cure it.

    July 22, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Reply
  8. j. von hettlingen

    Would al Qaeda's new animated cartoon put Asterix in the shade?

    July 22, 2011 at 5:14 pm | Reply
  9. Onesmallvoice

    Is any of this true or is this just more right-wing propaganda by the right-wing thugs in Washington, trying to scare the public? One cannot believe anything that the politicians in Washington say anymore!!!

    July 22, 2011 at 5:54 pm | Reply
    • Sanity

      Thank you, Onesmallvoice. I couldn't have said it better!

      July 24, 2011 at 6:12 pm | Reply
  10. fernace

    I may not believe DC's version of what's happening, but I think sameer.alqubaty is sincere. I believe it, because it meshes with all I've read so far about what's going on in Yemen after Saleh's "removal"! I'm not surprised Al-Qaeda would "go there" & I'm not surprised kids are afraid, thinking they're going to see a funny cartoon & instead it's as violent as an R rated movie! We truly need to bring our troops home & regroup about this threat. Also, we need to have the backs of nations like Yemen, now that Saleh is to "ill" to return. Not a military presence, just an aknowledging that we'll work with them against an Al-Q "foothold."

    July 22, 2011 at 7:16 pm | Reply
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  12. Animedude5555

    What's the website for the guy that made this? I want a URL. I'm a fan or anime and would be interested in watching this, even though I don't condone terrorism, because an anime style cartoon that DOES promote terrorism is such a rare and odd thing to hear about that I've never even heard of such before, let alone seen such. If anyone knows the web address for this show's creator's website, please let me know. I'd like to at least watch a trailer of this. Thanks in advance.

    February 27, 2012 at 2:31 am | Reply
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