Al-Qaeda’s Islamic Translation Centre Translating Propaganda into Indian Languages

Al-Qaeda’s Islamic Translation Centre Translating Propaganda into Indian Languages

Updated: 1 month, 8 days, 4 hours, 20 minutes, 27 seconds ago

Al-Qaeda wants to spread its message in Indian languages for the purpose of recruitment of new cadres. The terrorist group – responsible for the 9/11 terror attack in the US in 2001 – has a centre to translate its official propaganda as part of a “new terror blueprint”, as per top intelligence sources.

According to information accessed by CNN-News18, Al-Qaeda wants to spread its ideology and recruit new cadres for which it has asked its “local entities” in India to translate its original propaganda material into different local tongues. For this, it has an unofficial media venture called ‘Islamic Translation Centre (ITC)’, which surfaced online in April 2021.

Intelligence sources said Al-Qaeda possibly wanted to imitate the media propaganda of the Islamic State (ISIS) and give emphasis to “media jihad” as a precursor to jihad on the ground.

Hence, sources said, the ITC mainly collects translated articles via crowdsourcing from a multilinguistic supporter base across the world. These translated articles are widely circulated through the organisation’s website as well as online platforms such as ChirpWire and Telegram.

Sources further said the ITC translated official propaganda material of the Al-Qaeda into 29 different languages, including Arabic, Pashto, Persian, French, German, Portuguese, Norwegian, Indonesian, Rohingya, Hindi, Bangla, Odia among others.

What does this mean for India?

In the South Asian context, Indian and Bangladesh-based entities are associated with this translation venture. Sources said it had been observed that possible India-based entities translated recently killed Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri’s speeches, including one that mentioned the hijab controversy in Karnataka.

What is the end goal?

The ITC publishes translations of Al-Qaeda’s official content, video releases, magazines, books, speeches of prominent leaders among other information. Through this, for the long term, the outfit wants to build its ideological base among youngsters and gradually develops its organisational capabilities.

The ITC administrators are extremely cyber conscious and ask supporters to follow strict security measures to evade security agencies.

Through this venture, volunteers linked with translation efforts may further be developed into members of Al-Qaeda by their handlers.

The organisation is trying to accomplish two major goals through this – matching the widespread ISIS propaganda and assimilating youngsters into its fold.

Why is Al-Qaeda in the news again?

According to a new UN report on Al-Qaeda a few days ago, former Egyptian special forces officer Seif al-Adel has been operating as the “de facto and uncontested” leader of the group since Zawahiri was killed in a drone strike last year.

Though the group has not named a formal successor and, while US intelligence officials are still saying the issue remains unclear, the UN report is based on risk assessment. Experts on the group’s functioning and inner dealings say Adel likes to operate from the shadows unlike his high-profile predecessors, who broadcast fiery videos against the US.

Little is known about Adel, apart from the fact that he was indicted and charged in the US in 1998 for his role in the deadly US embassy bombings in Tanzania and Kenya. He has also been linked to the killing of American journalist Daniel Pearl in Pakistan in 2002.

There are few photos of him, one of which is a black and white image part of the FBI’s most wanted list. The US State Department’s Rewards for Justice programme is offering up to $10 million for information on Adel, who they say is based in Iran.

(With agency inputs)

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