A new English-language video issued by Al Shabaab, the Somali Al Qaeda affiliate, calls on Muslims living abroad to either undertake “a lone wolf mission” in their home countries or to travel abroad to join foreign terrorist organizations.
Al Shabaab has long been active in recruiting Westerners, and particularly Americans, to its cause. Between 2007 and 2012, over 60 U.S. citizens and permanent residents attempted to aid or join the terrorist organization.
The video comes in the midst of an upsurge in sophisticated English-language propaganda disseminated by terrorist organizations over the internet that is aimed at encouraging Americans and other Westerners to undertake violent actions.
Other Al Qaeda groups, such as Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, have long advised their ideological adherents to undertake lone wolf attacks and domestic radicalization rather than travel abroad.
However, Al Shabaab had previously been more focused on strengthening its organization in Somalia. By presenting Muslims abroad with a choice between material support and lone wolf action rather than only calling on them to travel to Somalia, though, this video may mark a shift in Al Shabaab’s strategy.
The video is the fifth in a series called “Mujahideen Moments” but is the first to be presented exclusively in English.
In addition to its call for violent activity, it also references Al Shabaab’s 2013 attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, as a positive example for those contemplating terrorism abroad.