Washington, Nov.30 (ANI): U.S.-born radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki may rely on sermons to recruit jihadis, but his Yemen-based understudy, 24-year-old New York-raised Samir Khan, uses sarcasm and idiomatic English.
As Khan himself has said, "It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that I [am] Al Qaeda to the core."
According to ABC News, Khan solidified his extremist credentials earlier this month when he published a "special edition" of the English-language "Inspire," which revealed details of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula's failed cargo bomb plot and mocked the stepped-up security that has ensued in the West.
Khan's skills as a propagandist have grabbed the attention of U.S. intelligence and law enforcement, who say he is a rising star in Al Qaeda.
"He does appear to be increasingly involved with operational activities [of Al Qaeda]", a U.S. official told ABC News.
One counter-terrorism official told ABC News that U.S. intelligence analysts view Khan as an "aspiring" Awlaki, the radical Yemeni-American cleric at the top of the U.S. government's "kill list" because of his operational involvement in AQAP.
In the first issue of Inspire, which Khan released in July 2010, he titled an article on assembling homemade explosives, "How to make a bomb in the kitchen of your mom."
Khan was born in Saudi Arabia and raised from the age of seven in Queens, New York. He was a normal city teenager who listened to hip-hop and wore baggy clothing. His interest in Islam took shape in 2004. He ditched his baggy pants for jalabiyas, the long white robes traditionally favored by Saudis. He joined two Islamic groups, but neither espoused violence.
But with the move south, Khan took a turn towards radicalism.
In 2004, Khan began to openly support Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda and to express that support on-line. (ANI)