THE Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden has said in a new audio tape attributed to him that the siege imposed on the Hamas government proves that the West is waging what he described as a crusader war on Islam.
He said: ‘This is also clear in their rejection of the Hamas movement after its election win.
‘Here, we assert what Shaykh Ayman al-Zawahiri said with regard to the unacceptability of entering polytheist councils.
‘However, their rejection of Hamas asserted that this was a crusader-Zionist war against Muslims.’
Bin Laden continued to blame the workers of the Western countries for this war, despite the fact that the vast majority of workers in the US and the UK are opposed to the war on Iraq and the occupation of Palestine.
He said: ‘I also say that the war is a shared responsibility of the people and the government. The war is still raging and the people are renewing their loyalty to their rulers and politicians, sending their sons to armies to fight us and continuing material and moral support.
‘Our countries are being burnt, our houses are bombed and our peoples are killed and nobody cares about us. A sufficient example of the flagrant violations of our religion, brethren and country is what your ally, Israel, did in terms of storming and demolishing Jericho Prison with the collusion of America and Britain.’
Bin-Ladin said that what was taking place in Sudan, whether with regard to the issue of the south or what is taking place in Darfur, was part of what he described as a crusader campaign.
He traced its immediate origins to the period of the First World War and the ‘destroying and toppling of the Ottoman state, the remaining part of the caliphate state, despite its shortcomings, and dividing it into dozens of states and statelets, and taking it over.
‘Britain then separated Sudan from Egypt. Then it returned once again to Sudan and sought to separate the south. It formed an army there from the people of the south and supported them with money, weapons and expertise.
‘It directed them to demand secession from Sudan. America then adopted this army through material and moral support and through its international tools, such as the United Nations.
‘It pressured the Khartoum government into signing an unfair agreement which allows the south to break away six years after the agreement is signed. Let Al-Bashir and Bush know that this agreement is not worth the ink with which it was written. It does not bind us in the least.
‘Not satisfied with all these intrigues and crimes, America moved on to stir up more strife. One of the areas of the most serious strife was western Sudan, where some differences among the tribesmen were used to trigger a ferocious war among them that consumes everything in its path, in preparation for sending crusader forces to occupy the region and steal its oil under the cover of maintaining security there.
‘It is a continuous Zionist-crusader war against the Muslims.
‘In this respect, I urge the mujahideen and their supporters in general, and in Sudan and the surrounding areas, including the Arabian Peninsula, in particular, to prepare all that is necessary to fight a long-term war against the crusader thieves in western Sudan.
‘Our aim is clear: defending Islam, its people and land, and not defending the Khartoum government although there could be common interests between us.
‘Our difference with it is great. Suffice it to say that it failed to implement the shari’ah and relinquished the south.
‘I urge the mujahideen to acquaint themselves with the territory and tribes of the Province of Darfur and the areas surrounding it. It has been said that the people who know a certain territory can conquer it, and that those who do not know a certain territory are conquered by it.
‘It is worth noting that the region is about to see a season in which rains are occasionally abundant, which will impede movement and block dirt roads, which is one of the main reasons that delayed the occupation by another six months.’
In his audio tape, Bin-Ladin also urged continued efforts to vindicate the prophet, through expanding the scope of the boycott to include the United States and the European states that demonstrated solidarity with Denmark.
He also called for handing over those who offended the prophet, to the Al-Qaeda Organisation so that it can prosecute them. He likened this demand to the US demand that the Taleban movement hand over Bin-Ladin to it in the wake of the 11 September incidents.
In the same audio tape, Bin-Ladin criticised the Saudi monarch Abdallah Bin-Abd-al-Aziz, whom he described as the key Arab ruler, for his condemnation of the notion of a clash of civilisations, saying that this entails major paradoxes, because the clash is actually taking place, by the Western civilisation against the Islamic civilisation.
Bin-Laden also warned against listening to or following those whom he called religion-ridiculers, those who call themselves Arab thinkers, as he put it.
He quoted liberals in the Gulf region as an example of these thinkers. Furthermore, Bin-Laden warned of what he called the cultural invasion which is sweeping the Muslim world through television and radio stations. He also warned against caving in to the pressures that aim to change curricula, noting the dangers this poses to the nation’s generations.
In the audio tape Bin Laden also spoke about the truce offer he had previously made, saying that its rejection by the United States confirms that the Western politicians were not for dialogue.
‘An example of ridiculing people and holding them in contempt is that your aircraft and tanks are destroying houses over the heads of our kinfolk and children in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya and Pakistan.
‘Meanwhile, you smile in our faces, saying: “We are not hostile to Islam; we are hostile to terrorists and we advocate peaceful coexistence and dialogue rather than a clash of civilisations.” The reality belies their pronouncements, for the Western diplomats only seek dialogue for the sake of dialogue.
‘They aim to deceive and anaesthetise us in order to buy time. They only want us to observe a truce.
‘You have recently learnt of our response to the opinion polls conducted in their territories regarding the offer of a truce between us and them after the withdrawal of their armies and the end of their mischief against us.
‘They rejected all this. They are determined to continue with their crusader campaigns against our nation, to occupy our countries, to plunder our resources and to enslave us.
‘Do not be duped by their pronouncements, by the pronouncements of the hypocrites and apostates from among the ranks of fellow Arabs and Muslims, or by the pronouncements of the lecherous, those who discourage and frustrate others, or those spreading lies, who have lately been making their voices heard.’
The audio tape comes after a period of more than two years of Bin-Laden’s silence and abstention from making any statement or adopting stands towards Arab and Islamic affairs in general.
It is true that there were other tapes attributed to Ayman al-Zawahiri, the second man in the Al-Qaeda Organisation, who in most of these tapes highlighted the same ideas voiced by Bin Laden in this tape.
This indicates that there is a central idea in the minds of Al-Qaeda leaders that what is currently taking place is a crusader war between the West and Islam, and that what is taking place in the Arab and Islamic world is a form of conflict of civilisations. These are stands that have almost been reproduced and redrafted. These stands are perhaps the basis of the ideological approach of Al-Qaeda Organisation.
In the audio tape which is attributed to him, Bin Laden gave other examples of what he considered a crusader war against Islam. He gave examples of what is taking place in Chechnya and Somalia.
‘What is the meaning of the silence over the Russian horrible crimes in Chechnya, and the lynching of Muslims and tearing their bodies apart by tying them between tracked vehicles?
‘Despite this, the so-called civilised world blesses all this. In fact, they support this secretly.
‘It is a crusader-Zionist war. What does the humiliation of Muslims in Somalia and the killing of 13,000 of our brother Muslims there mean? This shows how great their rancour is and how great their civilisation is when they grill our brothers on fire.
‘There is no power and no strength save in God. It is a crusader-Zionist war.’