AL QAIDA AND THE MEANING OF RAKAN BIN WILLIAMS
According to the Jamestown Foundation, al Qaida is placing its hopes for a next generation of terrorists in a demographic Islamists call “Rakan bin Williams” – white, Western converts to radical Salafi Islam.
“According to the statement, recruiting Westerners is part of al-Qaeda’s strategy to respond to the “war on terrorism” and the resulting restrictions placed on its members. The statement indicates that following September 11, there was a special focus given to Saudi Arabia”or the Land of the Two Holy Mosques (as described by the statement)”in that most of the attackers originated from the kingdom. Later, however, al-Qaeda carried out its next attack in Indonesia by the hand of Indonesian nationals, and followed by a “strategic” threat to Europe by attacking its borders with the Islamic World in the east (Turkey) and west (Morocco). When Europe failed to recognize or react accordingly to the warning, al-Qaeda targeted Madrid”in an attack carried out by North Africans”shifting scrutiny to Arabs in Europe. Then, in what came as a surprise to many, London was targeted in an attack carried out by British-Pakistanis. This attack may well have resulted from Europe’s failureâ€”in the eyes of bin Ladenâ€”to accept the truce offered in regard to Iraq. (Moreover, al-Qaeda misled Europe, and others, into believing that the next target would be Italy). The statement finishes by vowing that the next al-Qaeda recruits will be “Rakan Bin Williams,” which is the name it gives to white Europeans.”
While such a turn of events will result in greater security threats for the United States and Europe, it also represents some good news.
First, it means the al Qaida leadership are feeling frustrated by Western security policies that are preventing the terror group from mounting another spectacular act of catastrophic terror using Arab or Central Asian muslim adherents.
Secondly, opening their ranks to white Westerners is a two edged sword; the greatest problem American counterintelligence officials have faced is infiltrating al Qaida or even al Qaida’s ” gateway” groups, heavily based on national-tribal and madrassa ties, who use mosques, political groups, charitable and educational organizations as fronts to select recruits and raise funds.