The manual demonstrates that Al Qaeda is more than just a religious militant terrorist group set on destroying western interests and attacking western values, it also highlights the difficult task that law enforcement is faced with in the modern war on terror.
There is little doubt that the Al Qaeda manual asks its followers to be specifically anti-Western and anti-US. The manual proclaims that "Colonialism and its followers, the apostate rulers, then started to openly erect crusader centers, societies, and organizations like Masonic Lodges, Lions and Rotary clubs, and foreign schools" (Al Qaeda Manual, n.d., p.8). These are the symbols that they perceive as American. The manual further radicalizes its readers by tying these activities to religion. "The bitter situation that the nation has reached is a result of its divergence from Allah's course and his righteous law for all places and times" (Al Qaeda Manual, n.d., p.9). By casting the Western symbols as anti-Islamic they are able to exploit the centuries old religious fears and furors that have historically pitted Islam against Christianity.
1 Along with being an extremist religious organization, the manual indoctrinates the reader to the military arm of Al Qaeda. The document professes its need for illegal documents and counterfeit currency. These resources are then to be used to commit violence against the US and their interests anywhere around the world. There is no doubt about their propensity for violence when the state that their goals are "Kidnaping enemy personnel, assassinating enemy personnel as well as foreign tourists, blasting and destroying the places of amusement, the embassies and attacking vital economic centers, [and] bridges leading into and out of the cities" (Al Qaeda Manual, n.d., p.13). The manual is also quite detailed in the requirements for forged documents. It explains what type of documents are needed, how many to possess, and requires that members' documents have a picture without a beard (Al Qaeda Manual, n.d., p.23). While this non-dated document may be more difficult to implement in today's world of heightened security, it demonstrates their organizational commitment to doing anything necessary to subvert US interests around the world.
2 There is the question as to whether or not the possession of this document could identify someone as a terrorist and subject them to arrest under the current US Law. The professing of violence against specific targets, advocating illegal activity, and the ties to an organization labeled by the State Department as a terrorist group, would place the person who posses this document at some risk of being suspected of being a terrorist. This brings into question whether I will be at risk since I have downloaded a copy to my computer and I do not have the technology to eradicate it from the disc drive. While I would like to think that justice would win out and an explanation of "used for academic purposes" would be enough, the headlines are full of the innocent people who are still in obscure prisons for terrorist activities. This could be further complicated if I was an Islamic student that was studying in America. This manual not only illustrates the depth of commitment that Al Qaeda has to its goals, it also shows the difficulty that law enforcement has in regards to its ability to evaluate motivation, intent, and