Al-Qaeda leader calls for more Muhammad film protests

Al-Zawahiri has called for more protests outside American embassies.

Like in other messages released by al-Qaeda's Yemeni and North African branches last month, Zawahiri praised last month's assault on the US consulate in Benghazi that killed four diplomats but stopped short of claiming responsibility.

In the recording, posted on Islamist websites on Friday, he called on "free and distinguished zealots for Islam" who attacked the consulate and protested outside other American embassies to "continue their opposition to American crusader Zionist aggression against Islam and Muslims".

The recording appeared on the Mujahedin al-Ansar website which carries statements from al-Qaeda leaders.

Zawahiri said US authorities "permitted the film in the name of personal freedom and freedom of expression" but failed to practise those values in its treatment of Muslims imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay, Iraq and Afghanistan.

US President Barack Obama's administration condemned the short film, made privately and amateurishly in California, as reprehensible but said it could not be banned without violating the US constitutional right to free speech.

Obama criticism
The Guantanamo detention camp was set up after the September 11, 2001 attacks to hold non-American captives suspected of involvement with al Qaeda, the Taliban or other Islamist militant groups. Of the 779 men who were held there, 167 remain.

Zawahiri, an Egyptian-born preacher who became al Qaeda's chief after the death of Osama bin Laden last year, also criticised Obama after his Democratic Party pledged at its pre-election convention to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

He said that decision and Obama's prayers at Jerusalem's Western Wall, made during a 2008 visit, showed Muslims faced a "crusader Zionist war" led by the United States.

In September al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the group's North African affiliate, praised the Benghazi attack and urged Muslims to kill more US envoys.

Earlier last month, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), its Yemeni wing, called for more protests and said the Benghazi attackers had been partly motivated by the death of an AQAP leader in a US drone strike. – Reuters

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Reuters
Guest Author
Advertisting

Odd drop in how Covid-19 numbers grow

As the country hunkers down for a second week of lockdown, how reliable is the data available and will it enable a sound decision for whether South Africans can leave their homes on April 16?

Mail & Guardian needs your help

Our job is to help give you the information we all need to participate in building this country, while holding those in power to account. But now the power to help us keep doing that is in your hands

Press Releases

New energy mix on the cards

REI4P already has and will continue to yield thousands of employment opportunities

The online value of executive education in a Covid-19 world

Executive education courses further develop the skills of leaders in the workplace

Sisa Ntshona urges everyone to stay home, and consider travelling later

Sisa Ntshona has urged everyone to limit their movements in line with government’s request

SAB Zenzele’s special AGM postponed until further notice

An arrangement has been announced for shareholders and retailers to receive a 77.5% cash payout

20th Edition of the National Teaching Awards

Teachers are seldom recognised but they are indispensable to the country's education system

Awards affirm the vital work that teachers do

Government is committed to empowering South Africa’s teachers with skills, knowledge and techniques for a changing world

SAB Zenzele special AGM rescheduled to March 25 2020

New voting arrangements are being made to safeguard the health of shareholders