Today, May 25, 2005, a series of postings by members of an al-Qaeda affiliated forum discuss the injury reported yesterday by the official spokesman of al-Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Maysara al-Iraqi. The membership overwhelming accepts the news as true; however, a minority believes the report may be false. Most of the reactions on jihadist message boards are replete with prayers for Zarqawi, delivering the message that even if the leader is to die, the jihad will continue. Some forums are propagating a ?Million Prayer Campaign? for the health of the al-Qaeda in Iraq leader, urging support amongst the community.
The SITE Institute chose to translate one such forum in which the member opening the discussion credits ?a Sheikh of Sheikhs of jihad? for news that Zarqawi ?is fine and all that was said about him is a lie.? Analogizing the report to the spurious claims of bin Laden?s death ?several times?, the author believes that ?now comes the turn of Sheikh al-Zarqawi to lower the morale of the lions.? In general, members replying to this posting discredit this allegation, and indicated to believe that the message of his injuries is highly credible since the statement was from the Information Section of al-Qaeda Organization, ?not the enemies of Allah,? implying its authenticity.
Another member, believing Zarqawi to be injured, prays that ?the Sheikh will recover and go back to fight and do what Allah ordered him to do.? However, another member remains apprehensive about the truthfulness, stating that: ?if it is a video of the jihad operation by the brothers, the mujahideen, then it is correct; otherwise, if it is a written statement, the enemies of Allah could have written what they wish. It is a media war;?
Further, a poster whom accepts the claim expresses that Zarqawi ?walks among bullets, shootings, planes - naturally, he is liable to get injured and this is what made (many) look up to him….? The member also draws a comparison between the reporting of the al-Qaeda in Iraq, believing that they are ?not liars like the Americans and crusaders. When one of their leaders is killed or injured, they deny it, but the mujahideen announce it.?
A full translation of the forum postings is provided to our Intel Service members.