I whipped this article up one morning, “breaking” the story as it were, and before I got into the office, it had spread around the Internet. My editors were kind enough to put it in the site’s top spot, and the story even landed on the front page of Reddit. So that was cool. Click here to read about a 28-year-old grad student who’s trying to bring drone strikes into your daily life.
This was a drill we did in class today. I wrote this is in about 40 minutes, so do keep that in mind as you read. Also, check out my professor’s column in The New York Jewish Week about Khan; he uses a bunch of my research!
By: Jake Heller
Samir Khan, who was gunned down by an American drone strike in Yemen Friday, was proud to be a traitor to America.
In fall 2010, in fact, he wrote an article for online al-Qaida magazine Inspire entitled “I am Proud to be a Traitor to America.”
In the article, the Charlotte, North Carolina native proclaimed his belief that “Islam’s claim to power in the modern world is not going to be… easy.”
“I am acutely aware that body parts have to be torn apart, skulls have to be crushed and blood has to be spilled in order for this to be a reality,” he wrote. “Anyone who says otherwise is an individual who is not prepared to make sacrifices that heroes and champions make.”
Khan’s sacrifice was leaving Charlotte in 2009 for Yemen, to assume the editor’s chair at Inspire. The 25-year-old had become upset with “America’s cowboy behavior in the Islamic lands,” and decided to join al-Qaida’s global struggle to establish a global Caliphate.
“I decided to take up the pen,” he wrote.
Khan’s magazine advocated for the destruction of Israel—“the Zionist entity on the soil of Palestine”—and glorified the attacks of September 11, 2001.
On September 27, 2011, 10 years after 9/11, Inspire published a special commemorative issue with the words “The Greatest Special Operation of All Time” emblazoned across its cover.
Pages of past issues feature bright, colorful pictures of a smoky Manhattan skyline overlaid with small, dark snapshots of prisoners being tortured by American soldiers.
Khan did not always advocate violence, however.
“I began on this path as an Islamic activist who didn’t believe in fighting any government,” Khan wrote in “I am Proud to be a Traitor to America.”
But after studying Islam further, he said, he changed his mind. “Islam doesn’t shy from stating who is the occupier,” he stated. And America’s ‘occupation’ of what Khan saw as Islamic territories vindicated a violent response.
“I am a traitor to America because my religion requires me to be one,” Khan wrote. “Isn’t it time that American Muslims wake up to the fact that America is Islam’s number one enemy?”