The application form to join al-Qaeda is actually a lot like a college application

“Don’t call us, we’ll call you.”
“Don’t call us, we’ll call you.”
Image: AP Photo/File
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The US government today released a trove of documents and materials found at Osama bin Laden’s Pakistan compound during the raid that killed the al-Qaeda leader in 2011. As well as a trove of English-language books—bin Laden was apparently a fan of Noam Chomsky, 9/11 conspiracy theorists, and Bob Woodward—they came across what’s apparently the application form (pdf) for eager new members of the terrorist group.

The form, translated from Arabic into English by the US government, has about 50 questions. It reads like a cross between an immigration form, a driver’s license application, and a college application.

It asks prospective jihadists if they have any hobbies, if they are fans of science or literature, if they are proficient in any foreign languages, and if they use a real or forged passport when traveling. It also asks chilling questions such as, “Do you wish to execute a suicide operation?”—and the more practical follow-up, “Who should we contact in case you became a martyr?”

Above all, though, Al-Qaeda wanted to make sure that its applicants know the organization is serious about data privacy:

4. Please refrain from sharing the information you provide on the application with each other because it is a trust to Almighty Allah.

5. You should know that the review of this application form is limited to the concerned individuals only.

Read the application in its entirety below:

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