North Africa’s Al-Qaeda Urges Followers to Stay Local

Youth Should 'Fight Secularism' in Their Own Countries

Apparently concerned that the more fashionable al-Qaeda battles in Syria, Yemen and Pakistan could cost them recruits, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the Northern African auxiliary for the global group, is urging followers to think local.

In a statement released through jihadist websites, AQIM says Muslim youth should stay in their home countries instead of joining the global jihad movement, and instead focus on fighting against secularists in their own countries.

As for those already in the jihadist movement, AQIM says they should go to either Mali or Algeria to fight against “Crusader France.” Noteworthy is that both countries fall within AQIM’s own sphere of influence.

The statement in particular seemed to focus on the huge number of jihadist fighters in Libya, many of whom have been flocking to Syria for the civil war there. The group seems to hope that the French invasion of Mali can be parlayed into recruiting more fighters to stay within the Maghreb.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.