Two messages of hate aimed at reasserting terror network

Mohammad Sidique Khan, is seated on the floor, leaning against a wall carpet and justifying, in English, his decision to blow himself up to kill innocent people on a Tube at Edgware Road.

Then a separate message from a much older man follows. Ayman al-Zawahiri, the second in command in the al-Qaeda network, pledges in Arabic, that the war he is waging has now decisively moved to the west.

The carefully choreographed video presentation, parts of which were last night shown on the pan-Arab network al-Jazeera, also included clips of bombings in Iraq, Chechnya and Afghanistan. For al-Qaeda, it was unusual in style but not in content.

Combining the two messages, from Khan and Mr Zawahiri, represented the terror network’s latest bid to reassert itself four years after the launch of the global war against terror and to justify atrocities by exploiting conflicts in Muslim countries.

Although it is unclear how the presentation was put together and sent to al-Jazeera, it appeared aimed at linking al-Qaeda to the London bombings.

The 30-year-old British man of Pakistani origin mentions Osama bin Laden, the head of al-Qaeda, but does not say whether he was acting on orders from the organisation.

Islam / Islamism

Islamism is a totalitarian ideology adhered to by Muslim extremists (e.g. the Taliban, Wahhabis, Hamas and Osama bin Laden). It is considered to be a distortion of Islam. Many Islamists engage in terrorism in pursuit of their goals.

Adherents of Islam are called “Muslims.” The term “Arab” describes an ethnic or cultural identity. Not all Arabs are Muslims, and not all Muslims are Arabs. The terms are not interchangeable.

The messages broadcast yesterday were clearly designed to spread terror in the hearts of ordinary citizens in countries allied to the US and turn them against their governments and to counter British government assertions that the London bombings were unrelated to the war in Iraq.

Khan’s words showed the extent of his indoctrination. He addressed himself first to Muslims, telling them that his type of jihad was sanctioned by religion. His action, he said, was aimed at protecting Muslims upon whom the government was perpetrating atrocities.

Then he spoke to a broader public to explain that words had not been enough to bring about a shift in British policy. “Our words are dead until we give them life with our blood,” he said.

But it was Mr Zawahiri, considered the ideologue of al-Qaeda, whose message will be more closely scrutinised by the intelligence community, although parts of it may have been broadcast before. Showing how carefully he follows events across the world, he quoted Jack Straw’s response to the supposed “truce” that al-Qaeda offered western governments last year in return for abandoning their support for the US in Iraq.

The foreign secretary, he said, ridiculed the offer and his government is now suffering the consequences. Mr Zawahiri then moved on to attack Tony Blair and his assertions that the London bombings had nothing to do with the conflicts in Iraq and Israel.

He did not spare Muslim leaders in Britain, denouncing them for appearing with the prime minister to condemn the London attacks.

“I tell them: ‘Why didn’t you appear when Iraq was being bombed? When Falluja was bombed? And when Sheikh Yassin [the late spiritual leader of the radical Hamas organisation] was being assassinated?'” he said.

Threatening all those who participated in the Iraq war – “all of them are targets”, he warned – he said civilians would be subjected to al-Qaeda’s violence because they paid taxes to their governments, served in the military and security services and voted in elections.

Source

(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
Financial Times, USA
Sep. 2, 2005
Roula Khalaf
news.ft.com
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Religion News Blog posted this on Friday September 2, 2005.
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