New Effort Endorsed By Pro-Al-Qaeda Telegram Channels Seeks To Promote Lectures On YouTube By Jihadi Clerics

February 8, 2022

On January 28, 2022, a new Telegram channel called published a post noting that YouTube is "one of the largest sites containing [video] clips of various scholars, and even of various domains and religions," and adding that YouTube content which receives a large number of likes, comments, and views is promoted by the site's algorithms for new users, while other content can generally be found only by searching for it. The Telegram channel claims that "scholars of misguidance" are "backed by Satan and the taghouts [literally false deities, referring to rulers who govern by manmade law rather than shari'a]," so that their lectures are widely viewed on YouTube and accordingly, the site promotes these lectures which "drug the youth" and "polish [the image] of the taghouts and wage war on Allah's holy ones," while lectures by the "sincere Muslim scholars" are rarely posted, so that these jihadi clerics are virtually unknown to the general Muslim public.

On January 30, the Telegram channel posted a link to a YouTube video containing a lecture by Sheikh Muhammad Al-Murshidi aka Hareth Al-Nazari, a prominent Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) cleric who was killed in 2015 in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen. The 12-minute video is part of a series titled, "With the Quran," and features Al-Nazari expounding on the Quranic verse (1:5) "It is You we worship and You we ask for assistance." In his lecture, Al-Nazari discusses the importance of worship and devotion to Allah and obedience to the shari'a, but does not mention the word jihad or make any blatantly jihadi statements.

The Telegram channel lists five steps to take to support the YouTube channel and prevent its deletion, asking others to: Watch at least two minutes of the video; "like" it; write a comment' subscribe to the channel; and send the post "to the Muslims."

On January 31, the new Telegram channel posted a link to a YouTube video featuring a 59-minute lecture by Sheikh 'Abdallah 'Azzam, one of the founders of Al-Qaeda, in which he answers "jihadi questions." The Telegram post asks people to take the same five steps referred to above to ensure that the YouTube account is not deleted.

The YouTube channel which posted the Al-Nazari lecture called, "With the Quran," was created on January 29, 2022, presumably as part of the effort to post material by jihadi clerics on YouTube. As of February 1, the channel had only 35 subscribers, while the Al-Nazari video had garnered 122 views and 29 comments. The channel which posted the 'Azzam lecture was launched on January 6, 2022, and seems to have been created to feature lectures by the Al-Qaeda founder, independent of the goal to create a large archive of content by jihadi clerics on YouTube. In the three weeks since its launch, ten lectures by 'Azzam have been posted on the YouTube channel, which has 89 subscribers.

Above are the ten 'Azzam lectures posted on YouTube.

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