Inspire, the glossy, English-language internet magazine published by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), published a “Wanted dead or alive for crimes against Islam” poster in its March 2013 issue. No one paid much attention to it, not until the commando-style murder of Stéphane Charbonnier, one of the eleven listed, on January 7. The other ten are Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Terry Jones, Carsten Luste, Molly Norris, Flemming Rose, Salman Rushdie, Morris Sadek (misspelled on the poster as “Swadiq”), Lars Vilks, Kurt Westergaard, and Geert Wilders.
Looking over this list offers some insights into AQAP’s mentality and by extension, that of Islamists in general:
No one from outside the central regions of Western civilization seems to be worth AQAP’s time: All eleven live in the either in the United States or Western Europe.
Only born Christians and Muslims (Ali, Rushdie) are included in the list. No Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, et al.
Three hail from Muslim-majority countries: Ali from Somalia, Rushdie from India, Sadek from Egypt.
Five live in the United States and six in Europe, of which three live in Denmark.
Seeking refuge from their Islamist persecutors, two (Ali, Rushdie) moved from Europe to the United States.
Islamists care much more about pictures than the written word: Nine of the eleven have a pictorial dimension, six with cartoons (Charbonnier, Luste, Norris, Rose, Westergaard, Wilks) and three (Ali, Sadek, Wilders) with movies. One (Jones) engages in highly pictorial activities. That leaves only Rushdie with no pictorial aspect.
Two of those associated with cartoons (Luste, Norris) are obscure bit-players whose inclusion, instead of more high-profile anti-Islam activists, is surprising.
In addition to murdering Charbonnier (and eleven others in his office), Islamists have physically assaulted two other cartoonists (Vilks, Westergaard). They also attacked and killed some of Rushdie’s translators.
All but three (Ali, Jones, Wilders) are associated with ridiculing Mohammed, the prophet of Islam.
This analysis suggests that Islamists are most incensed by Western Christians drawing cartoons making fun of Mohammed.
— Daniel Pipes is president of the Middle East Forum.