Al-Qaeda cartoon for kids

2011-07-20 22:44

London - Al-Qaeda sympathisers are planning to produce a children's cartoon film to inspire young Muslim viewers to take up armed violence against the West, security specialists who monitor militant websites say.

Such a development would add to an expanding repertoire of media tactics employed by the trans-national group, which is placing increasing reliance on online propaganda to shore up support in the absence of successful attacks in the West.

The British counter-extremism thinktank Quilliam said news of the planned movie was announced by a contributor calling himself Abu al-Laith al-Yemen on the password-protected Arabic-language al-Shumukh online discussion forum on Sunday.

Al-Yemen said he and several associates were in the final stages of creating a cartoon about al-Qaeda's Yemen-based branch that would teach children the history of al-Qaeda and inspire them to commit acts of terrorism, Quilliam reported.

"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.

Al-Yemen posted some stills from the proposed cartoon, showing masked figures firing rifles and executing captives. He said the cartoon would include depictions of real incidents including "raids, armed engagements and assassinations".

"This movie is a religious effort to educate our sons and youth about how to live a noble life under the shade of the Shari'ah. It's an alternative to the poison that is broadcast by other TV channels broadcast to our children and youth," he said.

Will McCants, a leading scholar of militant Islamism and former US State Department adviser on countering violent extremism, said he had not seen "anything like it" before and was very sceptical the proposal was a real product.


"But if it's legit and anywhere near like the purported screen shots and promotional banner, it would indicate that AQAP is becoming even more sophisticated in its efforts to reach out to youth," he wrote on the website.

AQAP, composed largely of Yemeni and Saudi nationals, is waging an armed campaign to topple the Yemeni government and is responsible for several attempted bombings of Western targets, including a failed 2009 bid to down an airliner over Detroit.

But it has also helped to spearhead al-Qaeda's use of the internet by producing sophisticated Arabic-language propaganda and a snazzy, teen magazine-style online publication called Inspire, which is produced in English.

The group uses the Web not only to recruit and co-ordinate, but also to produce sophisticated propaganda, often downloading and re-editing Western media footage, to shore up morale among its globally scattered community of supporters.

In a statement, Quilliam analyst Noman Benotman said many Muslim parents would see the venture as a direct attempt by al-Qaeda to create divisions within families and to undermine the authority of parents.

"Al-Qaeda's plan may backfire," said Benotman, a former Islamist militant and associate of Osama bin Laden.

While online cartoons could help get complex messages to various audiences, including people who don't read newspapers, this venture may show al-Qaeda "can no longer attract new followers in much of the Arab world", Benotman said.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
Read more on:    al-qaeda  |  yemen  |  internet  |  media publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

VIDEO: 5 scintillating RWC tries from the weekend
World Cup 'curse' talk annoys Cameron
Meyer taking no chances
Butch happy with ‘best possible’ Bok side
Traffic Alerts

Are you burning the candle at both ends? Listen to your body and your emotional reactions. Know when to slow down or stop. It is more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.