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04 Jun 2009 14:22
Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden called for a long war against “infidels and their agents” and warned Muslims that alliances with Christians and Jews would turn them into apostates.
Bin Laden’s remarks came in a recording, parts of which had been aired by al-Jazeera television on Wednesday, a day before United States President Barack Obama said he sought a “new beginning” between the US and the Muslim world in a speech.
“We either live under the light of Islam or we die with dignity ... brace yourselves for a long war against the world’s infidels and their agents,” Bin Laden said in the recording posted on an Islamist website on Thursday.
Bin Laden said Obama had planted “seeds of hatred” among Muslims.
His deputy Ayman al-Zawahri called the US president a criminal in another recording on Tuesday and warned Muslims against falling for his polished words.
The comments appeared to be a drive by al-Qaeda to pre-empt Obama’s speech to the Muslim world.
“If a Muslim became an ally of the infidels and backed them against Muslims his faith would be annulled and he would become an apostate infidel,” said Bin Laden.
“Do not take Jews and Christians as allies ...,” said the Saudi-born militant, adding fighting Muslim Pakistani soldiers was not sacrilegious as they were implementing US policies.
“This is the case of the Pakistani army as it is with [the US] in the same dungeon against Islam.
Bin Laden described Pakistani President Asif Zardari as an ally of the US and said he had ordered his army to fight Muslims at the behest of Washington.
Pakistan’s army began battling Taliban Islamists, allies of al-Qaeda, in Swat in April after a militant thrust into a district 100km northwest of the capital raised fears at home and abroad that the nuclear-armed country could slowly slip into militant hands.
Obama chose Egypt to make an address to the Islamic world in which he tried to dispel resentment inflamed by US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan after al-Qaeda’s September 11 attacks.—Reuters
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