June 3, 2011 -- In a new video message released on the internet Friday, American-born al Qaeda spokesman Adam Gadahn calls on Muslims living in America to carry out deadly one-man terrorist acts using fully automatic weapons purchased at gun shows, and to target major institutions and public figures.
"What are you waiting for?" asks Gadahn in English, and then adds that jihadis shouldn't worry about getting caught, since so many have been released. "Over these past few years, I've seen the release of many, many Mujahideen whom I had never even dreamed would regain their freedom."
The two-part, two hour video appeared on jihadi websites Friday with images of jihadi leaders as well as snapshots of alleged underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab and accused Fort Hood shooter Major Nidal Hasan. Both Hasan and Abdulmutallab are charged with carrying out attacks inside the U.S.
Called "Do Not Rely on Others, Take the Task Upon Yourself" and produced by al Qaeda's media arm, as Sahab, the tape mixes Gadahn's new message with clips from old videos of Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri and other al Qaeda leaders praising one-man attacks. They call on jihadis in the West to carry out lone wolf operations.
Gadahn sounds the same theme in his message, a series of soundbites interspersed throughout the video and accompanied by images of U.S. airliners, bombmaking and the logos of U.S. companies. "Muslims in the West have to remember that they are perfectly placed to play an important and decisive part in the Jihad against the Zionists and crusaders, and to do major damage to the enemies of Islam, waging war on their religion, sacred places, and things, and brethren," says Gadahn. "This is a golden opportunity and a blessing."
He urges Muslims to pursue attacks with whatever is available. "Let's take America as an example. America is absolutely awash with easily obtainable firearms. You can go down to a gun show at the local convention center and come away with a fully automatic assault rifle, without a background check, and most likely without having to show an identification card. So what are you waiting for?"
Gadahn suggests targeting major institutions -- after a clip showing the logos of such firms as Exxon, Merrill Lynch and Bank of America -- and "influential public figures." "Getting to these criminals isn't as hard as you might think," says Gadahn. "I mean we've seen how a woman knocked the Pope to the floor during Christmas mass, and how Italian leader Berlusconi's face was smashed during a public appearance. So it's just a matter of entrusting the matter to Allah and choosing the right place, the right time, and the right method."
He claims that many Western born or raised jihadis, the "brothers who came from abroad" are now thinking about returning to their "Crusader" countries to "discharge their duty of jihad." He also says not to worry about imprisonment, since so many have been jihadis have been set free. "If it's Allah's will that you be captured, then it's not the end the world, and it doesn't necessarily mean that you're going to spend the rest of your life in prison." Many mujahideen who were locked up "are now back home with their families, or back on the frontlines, fighting the enemies."
Gadahn, a 32-year-old California native, was born Adam Pearlman, the grandson of a Jewish urologist. His parents changed their name to Gadahn after becoming fundamentalist Christians. After converting to Islam, Gadahn moved to Pakistan in 1998 and then became a senior commander in al Qaeda.
Gadahn has appeared in numerous al Qaeda videos over the past seven years. In 2005, after terror attacks in Madrid and London, he said, "Yesterday, London and Madrid. Tomorrow, Los Angeles and Melbourne, God willing." He is currently considered al Qaeda's leading media strategist, and has been on the FBI's Most Wanted list for nearly 10 years. He has been reported dead or captured several times, only to reemerge alive.