Sheikh Abu Yahya al-Libi said in his letter to Majid al-Majid, the leader of the Brigades of Abdullah Azzam” about the beginning of the armed actions in Syria: “I already wrote about it to the brothers in the Islamic State for a long time about the plans, and very shortly it is possible as follows: There should be no public appearance on behalf of some Jihad group, especially famous and familiar.”
And the leadership of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb says in the document (redacted) – after taking control of the northern part of Mali: the benefit of hiding to ease external and international pressure on us… I think the use of this policy caused the Al-Qaeda branch that controlled (redacted) to take the name of Ansar-ud-din instead of Al-Qaeda in order to avoid provoking enemies. Indeed, the absence of the name “Al-Qaeda” allowed many preachers to issue statements condemning the French invasion of Mali without them having difficulty in being connected to Al-Qaeda. In this way, you achieve that people support Al-Qaeda without knowing it, or they know, but nothing prevents them from doing so.
Stealth. It was the way in which a nascent Islamic State was established in the seventh century and it is the manner in which Al-Qaeda moves today.
Whether it is the man who used a ham radio out of his mosque to communicate with a network in Pakistan, the man who was part of making it possible to deliver a satellite phone to a highly placed rebel leader in Chechnya, or the man who performs his secret Sufi rites a few feet from where I am seated – I have been confronted with and observed the political stealth of Islam.
Stealth was involved in the First and Second ‘Aqabah Pledge, was the manner by which negotiations were hammered out, and it was stealth which brought Muhammad to Madinah.
Perhaps at times, Al-Qaeda hides in plain site. Regardless, if the ideology is hidden within the hearts of men – the first awareness of the innocent public may also be the final awareness accompanying death.
We can do better. We must be stealthier, quicker to react, and less patient, in our own willingness to confront, cordon, and remove from public life – the loyalists of Al-Qaeda.