Jihad Trainees Urged
to Use Lax U.S. Gun Laws to Wage Holy War
Most-Wanted Al Qaeda Fugitive Said Bahaji Utilized Jihad Web Site
That Urged Sniper and Assault Weapon Training in United States
Washington, DC�Muslim holy warriors should use lax firearms laws in the
United States to get sniper and military assault rifle training according
to a jihad training pamphlet posted on a web site that has been used by
a most-wanted Al Qaeda fugitive. The Violence Policy Center (VPC) has
obtained the full text of the pamphlet, which has also reportedly been
found in abandoned terrorist safe houses in Kabul, Afghanistan. The pamphlet
informs jihad trainees, "In some countries of the World, especially the
USA, firearms training is available to the general public," and that "it
is perfectly legal" to obtain weapons such as AK-47 assault rifles. It
urges would-be warriors to take advantage of those lax laws and learn
firearm fighting skills, especially sniping and assault rifle firing.
Said Bahaji�who authorities say helped obtain U.S. visas in Germany for
the two pilots who crashed jetliners into the World Trade Center towers
on September 11�has been linked as a subscriber to a newsletter published
by the pro-jihad site on which the instructions for firearms training
in the United States originally appeared. Bahaji has been described as
the "brains" of a German terrorist cell that provided direct logistical
support for the terrorists who hijacked the jetliners. The site has been
cited as supporting the Taliban and Al Qaeda.
"This document and the link to the cold-blooded assassins who carried
out the suicide attacks show conclusively that our lax gun laws and our
tolerance of the most extreme factions of the gun culture have turned
America into a one-stop shopping mall and training playground for terrorists,"
says Tom Diaz, VPC Senior Policy Analyst. "Since September 11, Americans
agree that our country will never be the same and that we must make sacrifices�it
is beyond time now for the Bush Administration to grasp this internal
terror threat and to insist that its supporters in the National Rifle
Association and the gun industry step up and make their share of the sacrifice."
Diaz�author of the October 2001 VPC study Voting
From the Rooftops: How the Gun Industry Armed Osama bin Laden, Other Foreign
and Domestic Terrorists, and Common Criminals with 50 Caliber Sniper Rifles�points
out that the anonymous authors of the jihad training document `zeroed
in' on specific elements of the American gun culture to exploit for military
assault- oriented terror training. These include:
public firearm training courses. "Some of them are only meant for
security personnel but generally they will teach anyone," explains the
document. "Find one, book your place, go there, learn, come back home
and keep it [to] yourself."
for military type combat assaults. The pamphlet advises, "Useful
courses to learn are sniping, general shooting and other rifle courses,"
and specifically discourages handgun training until rifle training is
military style weapons. "[I]t is perfectly legal for members of
the public to own certain types of firearms" such as assault rifles.
"[O]btain an assault rifle legally, preferably AK-47 or variations,
learn how to use it properly," urges the paper.
illegal trading in firearms. "Respect the laws of the country you
are in and avoid dealing in illegal firearms," warns the document. "One
can learn to operate many arms legally, so there is no need to spend
years in prison for dealing in small, illegal firearms."
adds that two recent VPC studies warn about the very points made in the
terrorist documents. Voting from
the Rooftops and the earlier One
Shot, One Kill revealed that 50 caliber sniper rifles�which can
penetrate armor plate, destroy materiel infrastructure, down helicopters,
and when loaded with armor-piercing incendiary ammunition explode high-volume
fuel tanks and hazardous chemical storage tanks and pipelines�can be purchased
more easily than handguns in the U.S. Twenty-five of the weapons were
purchased by the Al Qaeda terror network in the U.S. in the 1980s.
Americans and terrorists alike can train to use 50 caliber sniper rifles
and other weapons of war at the more than 1,800 shooting ranges in the
United States�some of which are on federal land. The nonchalant attitude
in the U.S. that the terrorists are exploiting is illustrated in a December
2001 Guns & Ammo article entitled "Four .50s to Fool With." The
article asks, "Do you need a .50 BMG rifle? Probably not. But in America
that's not the issue. Nor should it be." The author brags about test firing
the guns at the Angeles Shooting Range north of Los Angeles.
terrorists' own words starkly document that to prevent terrorism America
must address its own weak gun laws," states Diaz. "We leave Americans
at deadly risk if we fail to do so. This chilling new information presents
the NRA and its gun industry cohorts with a stark choice: support America
or support terror."
The Violence Policy Center is a
national non-profit educational foundation that conducts research on violence
in America and works to develop violence-reduction policies and proposals.
The Center examines the role of firearms in America, conducts research
on firearms violence, and explores new ways to decrease firearm-related
death and injury.
Wednesday, November 21, 2001
Violence Policy Center
(202) 822-8200 x105