Bin Laden wanted a marketing makeover for al Qaeda, documents show

Documents obtained by US special forces from the compound where Osama bin Laden was killed show that the terror mastermind was considering a rebranding campaign for al Qaeda, and a possible merger with other regional militant groups. Mat Apuzzo, in the Associated Press, got a briefing from US officials familiar with the documents:

The problem with the name al-Qaida, bin Laden wrote in a letter recovered from his compound in Pakistan, was that it lacked a religious element, something to convince Muslims worldwide that they are in a holy war with America.

Maybe something like Taifat al-Tawhed Wal-Jihad, meaning Monotheism and Jihad Group, would do the trick, he wrote. Or Jama'at I'Adat al-Khilafat al-Rashida, meaning Restoration of the Caliphate Group.

As bin Laden saw it, the problem was that the group's full name, al-Qaida al-Jihad, for The Base of Holy War, had become short-handed as simply al-Qaida. Lopping off the word "jihad," bin Laden wrote, allowed the West to "claim deceptively that they are not at war with Islam." Maybe it was time for al-Qaida to bring back its original name.

Can I make a suggestion, dead guy? Go Silicon Valley. Just take out some vowels, a la Flickr, gdgt, Tumblr, and the like. "LQD."


  1. Strange how he obviously spent a lot of time planning the attack, but totally missed out on one major detail — killing a bunch of random people isn’t a very effective way to make it “holy.”

    1. Good point about the consonants.

      My suggestion: Magic School Bus Bombrs (missing the final vowel on purpose in English only, for that web 2.0-y goodness)

  2. Try it the ALJAZEERA way, all caps, and skip the confusing dash or space after the “al” and go with ALQAEDA. Damn, so sexy, even in type, it just smells like a 6-star luxury caliphate hotel full of virgins.

    Maybe try going 1337 and use randomly capitalized letters combined with numers. 4l_Q43d4. Maybe they might get some support from LulzSec for it.

    Or perhaps even just adding some mascotte/spokesperson cartoon like the major animation studios used to have Mickey and Bugs. Jalil Jihad, your friendly neighbourhood suicide bomber.

    Or maybe realise when your military and spiritual leader is more occupied with branding and marketing than fighting the holy war, maybe you’re just working for the wrong people. XD

  3. We already knew he was trying to appeal to the hip young radical Islamist demographic by dying his beard. I’m surprised he didn’t try to get a sponsorship deal with Mountain Dew.

  4. Hmm… L-Qd or LQD or anything like that might be a little too close to Likud if you verbalised it.

    And I’m guessing that there are two organisations with very little in common other than their extreme enmity.

  5. “Go Silicon Valley?” No, way – go Pharma. Something along the lines of “Islamamine” or “Jihadsterone” or “ViQueda.”

  6. Isn’t Arabic written without vowels anyway? Like just omit the diacritics, and boom, you’re there?

  7. How about Ikea-da?

    LQD is good because it translates to “liquid”, as in “sneaks into places” not “peed in my pants”.

  8. “iSlam”? Then you say ridiculous things like, “If you don’t have Al Qaeda, then you don’t have Al Qaeda.”

  9. I’m not sure I buy this since Al Qaeda is a name that came from the CIA. Similar to how they use “Mafia” for organizes crime.

  10. Many TV networks were vying to create a Reality Show with bin Laden and were still negotiating and creatively thinking of what the title of the show would be.

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