The Al Qaeda manual is a publication, whose principal purpose is to serve as a directive for the members of the terrorist group. In this handbook, the acts of violence performed by these members are justified by the use of quotations from the Holy Book, the Quran. Additionally, the Al Qaeda manual instructs members of the group how to lie during captivity. This is usually an attempt to divert the attention of the captors and avoid being traced. The handbook, particularly directs the members of the Al Qaeda group to falsely claim that they are being tortured while under interrogation with their captors.
According to the manual, Islam is not just about performing rituals but a complete system that involves a lot of Jihad or holy war. It also describes Islam as a religion that deals with the Koran, people, and the sword (‘The Al Qaeda Manual’ 8). Since the manual justifies the activities carried out by the members of the Al Qaeda group by using the Islamic religion, it implies that the handbook is meant to radicalize individuals. Radicalization is a process through which, people with extremist ideologists are trained to use violence to relay a message. The Al Qaeda manual serves to justify terrorism as a holy war, thereby attracting more followers.
Counterterrorism officials can learn that nowadays, the concept of Jihad has evolved from traditionalism to modern day perception. Jihadists are now using the internet and other virtual communication infrastructure to communicate, as well as recruit new members. Additionally, they are using the media, especially print media, to issue directives to the members of the terrorism groups. The document 39 Ways to Serve and Participate in Jihad is one such publication that instructs Jihadists and Muslims on how to join and serve in Jihad. Counterterrorism officials can learn that both the media and virtual Jihad has gained credibility and prominence as a legitimate alternative to airing opinions. This implies that today, terrorism has spread across all parts of the world, which is making it difficult for counter-terror units to combat the trend.
Technology has particularly proven to be a useful tool for the Jihadists and members of terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda. Counterterrorism officials can predict that the use of technology is likely to increase in the future, especially among these individuals. It, therefore, is necessary that they develop initiatives, which could limit the use of the internet to spread insightful messages. Future methods of spreading information about ways to participate in terrorism activity are likely to be classified through encryptions, which can only be read by the intended recipients. Counter-terror officials, therefore, should ensure that they are ready with better methods to intercept such messages from spreading. They could do this by utilizing the present day technology to design programs, which could be useful in the future. Moreover, they enhance information sharing among their units as a way of combating terrorism activity. One of the ways of serving and participating in Jihad as highlighted in the document is learning to train and shooting with weapons (Salim 39). In the future, the Jihad may not use physical weapons; rather, they might utilize disruptive technology such as chemical weapons to carry out their missions. The counter-terror officials should beware of such possibilities and intercept them before they can happen.
Salim, Muhammad bin Ahmad. 39 Ways to Serve and Participate in Jihad. 19 May 1424. Web. 20 May. 2014. (http://www.archive.org/stream/39WaysToServeAndParticipate/39WaysToServeAndParticipateInJihad_djvu.txt)
The Al Qaeda Manual. Washington, D.C.: Dept. of Justice, 2002. Print.