Al-Qaeda Scorns President-Elect Obama with Racial Slur and Urges Attacks

November 19, 2008

al-qaeda-obama.jpgAl Qaeda’s deputy leader accused Barack Obama of betraying his race and his father’s Muslim heritage on Wednesday and urged more attacks, as the group tried to counter the incoming U.S. president’s global popularity.

Osama bin Laden’s second-in-command Ayman al Zawahri attacked Obama
as a “house Negro,” a racially-charged term used by 1960s black
American Muslim leader Malcolm X to describe black slaves loyal to
white masters.

“You represent the direct opposite of honorable black Americans like
… Malcolm X,” Zawahri said in al Qaeda’s English translation of his
remarks. It was al Qaeda’s first high-level commentary on Obama’s
election on November 4.

Zawahri criticized Obama’s support for Israel and plans to send more
U.S. troops to Afghanistan, where he said they were destined to fail.
He called on Islamist fighters to keep striking a “criminal” United
States until it withdraws from Muslim lands.

U.S. officials and analysts, alert for signs of an attack in the
period leading up to the transfer of presidential power on January 20,
said there was no sign of an imminent threat.

They cast Zawahri’s message as an attempt to shift al Qaeda’s focus
from U.S. President George W. Bush and maintain an enmity against the
United States among its supporters.

“They’re faced with what is by any accounting a change in this
country,” said one U.S. counterterrorism official who asked not to be

“The way they’re dealing with the change represented by the election
of an African American as president of the United States is to insist
that nothing has changed,” he said.

Obama’s transition office declined to comment.

His election was greeted with broad hope in the Middle East, where
relations with Arabic countries were deeply strained under Bush.

Daniel Benjamin, a counterterrorism official under former President
Bill Clinton, said Obama’s election on a platform of breaking with Bush
policies was a boost to American “soft power,” or nonmilitary
international influence.

“I think they (al Qaeda) are deeply threatened by the fact there is
a new American president and that he has come to office saying he wants
to have a more constructive relationship with the one billion Muslims
in the world.”

Zawahri, he said, “feels like he has a competitor for the hearts and minds.”

Zawahri referred to Obama’s father, who was raised Muslim but became
an atheist. Obama is a practicing Christian. “You were born to a Muslim
father, but you chose to stand in the ranks of the enemies of the
Muslims,” Zawahri said.

The Malcolm X reference appears to reflect the influence of
American-born al Qaeda spokesman Adam Gadahn, believed to be close to
Zawahri, said a U.S. terrorism monitor who goes by the pseudonym Laura

Zawahri has employed the “house Negro” insult before, when in 2007
he used the term to label Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her
predecessor, Colin Powell, who are both black.

“And in you and in Colin Powell, Rice and your likes, the words of
Malcolm X … concerning ‘House Negroes’ are confirmed,” Zawahri said
in the message released on Wednesday.

His spoken remarks could also be translated as “house slaves,” but the accompanying English translation used “house Negroes.”

Source: Reuters

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