Anwar al-Awlaki’s Influence on U.S. and European Extremists

Terror attacks tied to Awlaki lectures online

(New York, NY) – Six years after his death on September 30, 2011, the teachings of radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, prevalent on platforms like YouTube, continue to radicalize and encourage acts of terrorism in the U.S. and in Europe.

The Counter Extremism Project (CEP) report, Anwar al-Awlaki’s Ties to Extremists, documents 55 U.S. and 34 European extremists who were influenced by Awlaki, the former director of external operations for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Awlaki was the first U.S. citizen to be targeted by a U.S. drone strike due to his role in taking the “lead in planning and directing efforts to murder innocent Americans,” according to President Barack Obama. Awlaki also published detailed bomb-making instructions in AQAP’s online magazine, Inspire.

U.S. extremists with ties to Awlaki include Omar Mateen, perpetrator of the deadliest gun attack on U.S. soil; and Syed Rizwan Farook, one of the shooters in the San Bernardino massacre that killed 14, who spent hours alongside neighbor Enrique Marquez listening to Awlaki’s lectures. Awlaki also inspired Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad, Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, alleged New York/New Jersey bomber Ahmad Khan Rahami, and Ohio State attacker Abdul Razak Ali Artan.

European extremists inspired by Awlaki to commit acts of terror in their own countries and wage jihad overseas include Swedish citizen Osama Krayem, who was charged for his alleged role in the March 2016 ISIS attacks in Brussels, which killed 32 people and wounded more than 200 others; and Said and Cherif Kouachi, the shooters in the January 2015 attack on the Paris satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

To learn more about Anwar al-Awlaki’s Ties to Extremists, please click here


Related Press Resources

Daily Dose

Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.


On May 8, 2019, Taliban insurgents detonated an explosive-laden vehicle and then broke into American NGO Counterpart International’s offices in Kabul. At least seven people were killed and 24 were injured.

View Archive