Recruits hoping to be accepted into the ranks of al Qaeda had to fill in a remarkably detailed application form, which has been revealed by the CIA - having been seized from Osama bin Laden’s compound on his death in 2011.
Hopeful jihadists were asked to describe their hobbies, language skills, contacts with Westerners and willingness to carry out suicide missions. They were also asked to provide next-of-kin contact details, so al Qaeda could inform relatives once the mission had been carried out.
The application form, created by “The Security Committee – al-Qaeda Organisation,” must be filled out “accurately and truthfully” and written “clearly and legibly,” the form said.
Answers should be in Arabic, but that was not essential.
“If you would like to discuss any further issue, please tell your direct brother supervisor,” the form states.
Candidates then must state their name, age, alias, profession and marital status – plus “date of your arrival in the land of Jihad.”
Education level must be stated, along with the date when “Allah blessed you with this gift”.
Al Qaeda evidently appreciated learned recruits: they were asked to list their favourite Muslim scholars and orators, their language skills, and how much of the Koran they had memorised. Knowledge of Sharia law was also a bonus.
But the terrorist network was looking for well-rounded jihadists.
“Any hobbies or pastimes?” they asked, and requested a list of countries which the budding terrorist had visited. “Have you invented or researched anything in any domain?”
Specialised skills would make a candidate highly sought-after. The form asks potential recruits to list any knowledge or friends with knowledge of chemistry, communications or literature.
And well-connected jihadists were especially welcomed: candidates are asked whether they have government contacts.
“Do you know anyone who travels to Western countries?” the recruiters ask.
Technical considerations are also taken into account. Candidates are asked if they have a criminal record or have served time in prison, plus whether they hold multiple passports – and whether they are real or fake.
With an eye for a jihadi who can travel incognito, they ask: “Did you encounter any difficulties on the road to this place?”
Perhaps the most eye-opening section of the application form is where terror recruits are asked: “Do you wish to execute a suicide operation?”
The next question is: “What objectives would you would like to accomplish on your jihad path?”
Recruits are asked to explain the views on jihad held by their family, acquaintances and themselves. And the final question seeks a name and telephone number.
It asks: “Who should we contact in case you became a martyr?”