Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda?s number two, appeared in a video-taped speech broadcast by the Arabic satellite channel, Al-Jazeera, yesterday, March 4, 2006, of which a twenty minute audio clip of the message was distributed. Zawahiri touches upon a variety of topics, such as the cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, the alleged Western war against Islam and the imperative of jihad in this cause, and U.S. President George W. Bush?s most recent State of the Union address. In addition, he speaks at length concerning the importance of Muslim?s support for Palestine and urges Hamas to withstand calls to renounce jihad and recognize Israel - a process that previously involved the Palestinian Authority.
Commenting on Western domestic and foreign policy vis-ŕ-vis Islam, Zawahiri observes French secularism and banning of women wearing hijab, England punishing those who glorify terrorism, and Italian MinisterRoberto Calderoli wearing a t-shirt bearing a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad. America, receiving the majority of Zawahiri?s vitriol, is accused of leading the alleged war against Islam and erecting puppet governments in Muslim lands to oppress the people. Of the cartoons, Zawahiri states: ?Their transgression against the Prophet is not motivated by freedom of speech, but because of the replacement of holy things with unholy things in this fallen culture, for the Prophet, nay even Jesus are no longer holy, but Semitism, the Holocaust, and homosexuality are holy.?
Zawahiri suggests that it is ?not sufficient? for Muslims to protest, burn embassies and return to a normal life, but that ?facing their insults requires a real defense that will thwart the Crusader campaign against Islam in all ways.? He believes it is incumbent upon Muslims to sacrifice for the cause of Allah in this defense, and develops four points, including: ?Inflicting losses on the Crusader West, especially economic losses in strikes that will keep letting blood for years, and the strikes in New York, Madrid, Washington, and London are a good example of this,? forbid the ?stealing? of petroleum, and support the mujahideen in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Palestine, who are the ?first line of defense of Islam and the Muslims.? He also calls for a ?grassroots economic embargo? of Denmark, Norway, France, Germany, and ?all the other countries that participated in this low attack, and all countries that took part in the Crusader [war] against Islam and the Muslims.?
Zawahiri then castigates the Palestinian Authority, the ?globalisers,? for having sold Palestine, and accepted crumbs, and recognizing these failures and ignoring Shari?a for them is against the way of Islam.? He insists that ?no one has the right -Palestinian or otherwise- to give up one grain of sand from Palestine,? and urges that it is be understood that the ?truth of this struggle is that Jewish invasion of Palestine is the spearhead of a Crusader campaign against Islam and the Muslims, and the struggle's scope expands to include the entire Muslim Ummah and the Crusader West.? To defend against the ?American game,? Zawahiri believes Muslims must embrace jihad and Hamas not capitulate to the West and trade Islamic law for treaties.
A transcript of the tape is provided to our Intel Service members.