Nassar al Awlaki urges the spread of his son Anwar's teachings
Nassar al Awlaki, the father of Anwar, the al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula ideologue who was involved in operations before he was killed by the US, spoke out against the deaths of his son and grandson and urged Muslims to continue to spread his son's message that advocated jihad against the West.
Nassar, an influential figure in Yemen, made the statement in a 6-minute, 37-second audio that was released on YouTube by Anjem Choudary, a radical Islamist preacher in Britain who leads the banned group Muslims Against Crusades. [The video can be seen in full above.] A transcript of Nassar's audiotape was provided by the SITE Intelligence Group.
In the statement, the senior Awlaki did not express remorse for his son's radical sermons, which advocated that Muslims kill Americans and Westerners, but instead referred to his son reverently. Nassar described Anwar as his "beloved son" and "Imam" who "carried an effective message, a message that was simple and straight-forward."
"Its [Anwar's message] target were Muslims in the West," Nassar said. "They [the US] considered a fluent, convincing Muslim preacher as a threat, so they tried everything to silence him."
"My son Anwar was intelligent, sharp, eloquent, educated, charismatic, and brave. He had qualities and traits that could have taken him places in this world, but he chose this path and gave it his best, the path of Allah," Nassar said later in the tape. "It is the job of all of us to spread his knowledge and keep it alive."
Nassar said the US "assassinated" Anwar while "he was far from any battlefield." Anwar was killed in a US Predator drone airstrike on Sept. 30 in Yemen's Al Jawf province, where al Qaeda is known to operate training camps. Anwar is known to have played a role in recruiting and directing terror attacks against the US. [See LWJ report, Awlaki's emails to terror plotter show operational role, for more information.]
Nassar also denounced the US for killing Anwar's son, Abdul Rahman, in a Predator strike in Shabwa province in mid-October. The Awlaki family has claimed the 16-year-old Abdul Rahman was not involved in terrorism and was merely in Shabwa to search for his father, who had been killed two weeks earlier. Nassar said that was not an "operational figure" in al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
Nassar said that his son and grandson "did not die in vain" and that Anwar will live on in his radical sermons.
"Alhamdulillah [Praise be to Allah], Anwar and his son are insha'Allah [Allah willing] alive in jana [Paradise], and Anwar will [Allah willing] continue to be alive by spreading his teachings, sermons, and lectures. It is the precise thing that he lived and died for, it is the [call] to Allah," he said.
The release of Nassar's tape coincided with a protest on Thursday outside the US Embassy which was held by Choudary's supporters in London. Police arrested 20 protesters believed to be members of the banned group, Muslims against Crusades. Two others were arrested for obstruction of justice and "violent disorder," according to AFP. Choudary's followers were protesting the use of US airstrikes to target al Qaeda and other terrorist leaders.
Background on Nassar al Awlaki
Nassar al Awlaki, the father of slain al Qaeda ideologue Anwar al Awlaki, is a senior member of a distinguished Yemeni family whose relatives include a prime minister of the country. Nassar currently lives in Yemen, where he has served as the president of the country's biggest university and also as Yemen's Agriculture Minister. For several years before and after Anwar's birth in New Mexico in 1971, Nassar lived in the US, but the family later returned to Yemen. In 2010, The Telegraph described him as "a respected moderate politician and university professor in Yemen." In early 2010, Nassar told CNN that his son was not "hiding with al Qaeda" but was being protected by his tribe.
Nassar Awlaki made headlines earlier this year when he met with ACLU lawyers in Yemen to help prepare his lawsuit against the US government for targeting his son. The lawsuit was later dismissed. After the deaths of his son and grandson in drone strikes in Yemen, Nassar and his family released a statement saying the US had acted "unjustly and belligerently." The grandson, Abdul Rahman al Awlaki, was killed along with several others in a drone strike in Yemen on Oct. 14 that targeted a key al Qaeda operative, Ibrahim al Bana. The statement also declared "that "Anwar was never a 'militant' " nor was he "the head of Al Qaeda external operations." "