This thesis argues that Anwar al Awlaki created Inspire magazine in an effort to promote and justify violent jihad. Based on a thorough review of ten issues of the magazine, research provides evidence that Awlaki and Samir Khan sought to shape the identity of young male Muslims to imagine themselves as jihadis. This thesis argues that Awlaki used text and photographs to subtly embellish his personal power in an effort to enhance the credibility of his arguments. This thesis provides evidence that Awlaki through Inspire sought to normalize violent jihad and to suggest that an imagined "community of loners" existed and was motivated to fight, despite an asymmetric battlefield and a withering history of strategic military challenges. Evidence is provided that Awlaki sought to assure jihadis that their efforts would be rewarded in paradise. This thesis documents the lethal intertwining of identity and allegiance to an imagined community.
University of Minnesota M.A. thesis. December 2013. Major: Mass Communication. Advisor: Giovanna Dell'Orto. 1 computer file (PDF); vii, 135 pages.
Beck, Peter Garrard.
Identity, allegiance and death: Inspire and the case of Anwar al Awlaki.
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