If you are wondering what al-Awlaki and al Qaeda think of killing innocent people, you need only read him in his own words. Flashpoint partners has published a transcript of al-Awlaki’s most recent speech, it’s available here. I’ve included some excerpts below:
On killing innocent civilians-
O’ Allah forbid that we advocate the spill of Muslims blood! O’ Allah forbid that we call for collusion and igniting wars! O’ Allah forbid that we call for killing innocent people! This is the talk of the Americans and their cooperatives and their media. We call to defend the life and resources of the Ummah. We call to defend our rights. We call to establish the religion of Allah, which Allah created us only for that purpose.
On whether to seek permission for conducting attacks against Americans, al-Awlaki tells his followers one is not necessary. This may become an enabling speech for homegrown terrorists. The theme in his comments is also consistent with the message in al Qaeda’s recent issue of Inspire:
The second case: do not consult anyone in killing the Americans. Fighting Satan does not require a jurisprudence. It does not require consulting. It does not need a prayer for the cause. They are the party of Satan, and fighting them is a matter of time. With them we reached: either us or you. We are two opposites that cannot be gathered; they want something that cannot be established except by removing us. It is a fateful battle. It is the battle between Moses and Pharaoh. It is the battle between truth and falsehood.