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AZAN Magazine – Profile Analysis

From March 2013 until the summer of 2014, six issues of AZAN magazine were published, with each issue containing an average of 50 pages. The name of the magazine is taken from the Arabic word “??????”, which means “a call to prayer”. The editors of the magazine are making a change to the original meaning of the word by adding the following sentence to the name of the magazine: “A Call to Jihad”.

Despite the fact that the magazine was not officially declared to be the product of a specific jihadist group, and the magazine banner does not display the flag of any particular organization, the magazine’s considerable focus on Pakistan-related issues suggests that it is a product of the Taliban in Pakistan. Among the articles that deal with Pakistan:

  • An article criticizing Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani education activist who spoke out against the Taliban.[1]
  • An interview with a militant who carried out attacks against the former President of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf, and was freed from jail in a prison break carried out by the Taliban in Pakistan.[2]
  • An article analyzing the change in doctrine taken by the Pakistani army (which began to devote more and more resources to combat the internal threat rather than to fight against India).[3]
  • Articles regarding massacres attributed to the Pakistani army.[4]
  • An article predicting a difficult future for Pakistan due to the strengthening of its two rivals, India and Afghanistan.[5]

AZAN drawn inspiration from INSPIRE, an English-language magazine published by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Similarities can be found between the two magazines, not only in terms of their target audience (Muslims in the West) or in their encouragement of readers to send in materials, but also in the common themes and issues that they cover, including: American drone attacks,[6] criticism of President Obama and the US government,[7] and quotes from late jihad figures (such as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi,[8] Anwar al-Awlaki,[9]and Abdullah Azzam[10]). However, unlike INSPIRE, the editions of AZAN that have been published thus far have not included articles providing instructions on “open source jihad”, such as proposed methods of attack or instructions on how to make bombs.

The magazine’s articles are authored by several regular writers who seemingly use fake names. Each writer generally writes about fixed issues, and sometimes the same topic appears in successive articles. For instance, most of the articles written by Jaffer Hussain deal with the use of drones by the US or an analysis of American politics, while the articles penned by Ikrimah Anwar mostly deal with spiritual Islamic issues.

[1] AZAN, March 2013, Issue 01, p. 24.

[2] AZAN, March 2013, Issue 01, p. 42.

[3] AZAN, March 2013, Issue 01, p. 30.

[4] AZAN, Winter 2013, Issue 05, p. 26.

[5] AZAN, Summer 2014, Issue 06, p. 22.

[6] INSPIRE, Spring 2014, Issue 12, p. 28; AZAN, Winter 2013, Issue 05, p. 07.

[7] INSPIRE, Spring 2014, Issue 12, p. 47; AZAN, April-May 2013, Issue 02, p. 33.

[8] AZAN, March 2013, Issue 01, p. 60.

[9] INSPIRE, Spring 2014, Issue 12, p. 17.  

[10] AZAN, Summer 2014, Issue 06, p. 24.

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