The Devil once had a diabolic idea: what if SATAN were to change his name to GOD, wear a virgin white robe, grow angelic wings, sport a saccharine smile, swear by the truth, grant wishes to the needy, publish a ‘Yes We Can’ manifesto, and deliver eloquent speeches…would he sweep the polls and rule the world?
After being bewitched by the thought, the King of Darkness junked the revolutionary re-branding exercise as it was fraught with the risks of copyright infringement and intellectual property violation. The last thing that the Devil wanted was to be hauled up by GOD for being a cheap knockoff!
Looks like Osama Bin Laden faced a similar dilemma in the fag end of his life. The only difference though was he badly wanted a name change for Al-Qaeda and not himself. Osama wanted to give Al-Qaeda a quiet makeover not because it had become famously infamous but because it didn’t sound sufficiently religious or jihadi.
That’s why he grappled with clunky alternatives such as Jama'at I'Adat al-Khilafat al-Rashida (Restoration of the Caliphate Group) and Taifat al-Tawhed Wal-Jihad (Monotheism & Jihad Group). Osama’s search for more meaningful options has spawned a whole new sub-genre of black humour tinged names that may be abhorred by the brand managers of the banned organization.
Readers of the Danger Room defense blog have been the first off the block to spew vitriol. Their suggestions vary from the machine-like Jihad-o-Matic, the movie-like League of Extraordinary Beards, the spoofy People for Extreme Terrorist Adventures (PETA), to the downright blasphemous Kandahar Ardent Brotherhood of Orthodox Muslims (KABOOM)!
Perhaps Al-Qaeda needs a more acceptable moniker to be deemed acceptable. In keeping with this brief, we have explored a few other ways of repositioning the terror movement. Here are the ones that made the cut: Slam Walequm may offer a civil yet violent nomenclature for jihadis to greet opposers of their ideology; Osamaritans can help appropriate the halo of do-gooders spreading the legacy of Bin Laden; and Bush Ambushers will present Al-Qaeda as a counterpoint for American fascism. Whatever the new name, it remains to be seen if Ayman Al-Zawahiri bites the bullet.