First Published: 2005-02-11

 
Zawahiri hits out at US in new audiotape
 

Al-Qaeda number two says real freedom depends on rule of sharia, freeing Islam from any aggressor, liberating human being.

 

Middle East Online

Zawahiri following the news

DUBAI - An audiotape purportedly of Al-Qaeda number two Ayman al-Zawahiri hit out at the US concept of freedom Thursday, saying it was a cloak for spreading corruption and injustice in the Islamic world.

Liberty as construed by the Americans was based on "usurious banks, giant companies, misleading media outlets and the destruction of others for material gain," charged the voice in the recording aired by Arabic news channel Al-Jazeera.

Real freedom was "not the liberty of homosexual marriages and the abuse of women as a commodity to gain clients, win deals or attract tourists," said the voice.

"It is not the freedom of Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib," it said, referring to US-run prisons in Cuba and Iraq where serious allegations of torture have been levelled.

"Our freedom ... and the reform that we are seeking depends on three concepts - the rule of sharia (Islamic law) ... freeing Islam from any aggressor ... and liberating the human being."

In the Islamic world, the people had the "right to choose its leader, hold him to account, criticise him and isolate him," said the audiotape, in a clear response to US calls for democratic reforms in the Arab and Muslim worlds.

"I do not think that we can achieve reform while we are under American and Jewish occupation."

In his State of the Union address earlier this month, President George W. Bush stepped up US calls for change, urging even traditional US allies Egypt and Saudi Arabia to move towards democracy.

But the new Al-Qaeda tape argued that US allies in the region were the problem not the solution.

"The nation has to confront repression, theft, forgery, corruption and the legacy of the rule which our rulers are exercising with America's blessing and backing," said the tape, whose authenticity could not immediately be verified.

It was the first purported message from Zawahiri since a videotape broadcast by Al-Jazeera on November 29 in which he vowed to pursue the fight against the United States.

The new message made reference to subsequent events, including a December 16 agreement between Egypt and Israel, and historic January 30 elections in Iraq.

"We cannot achieve reform when our leaders are seeking normalisation with Israel and destroying our economies for their own personal gains, like the QIZ (Qualified Industrial Zones) agreement signed by the Egyptian regime with Israel," the voice said.

Reform cannot be achieved "under governments installed by the occupation with forged elections," it said.

 

Assad in Russia for talks with Putin

Islamic republic declares end of Islamic State

Revolt in US State Department over child soldier law

Anti-IS coalition strikes drop to lowest number

Morocco bans bitcoin transactions

Lebanon's Hariri in Egypt ahead of return home

Rebels say Sanaa airport 'ready to run' after coalition bombing

Greece to amend historic sharia law for Muslim minority

Turkey to ask Germany to extradite top coup suspect

Car bomb in northern Iraq kills at least 24

13 million Syrians need aid despite relative drop in violence

Sudan urged to improve plight of Darfur's displaced people

Brain drain means Syria can’t recover for a generation

Palestinians close communication lines with Americans

German police arrest six Syrians ‘planning terror attack’

Palestinian factions in Cairo for reconciliation talks

Turkish opposition daily web editor sentenced to 3 years in jail

Israeli police arrest 33 in ultra-Orthodox draft riots

Turkish lira at new low against US dollar

UN chief horrified by Libya slave auctions

Qatar 2022 chief has no regrets over hosting World Cup

Gheit says Lebanon should be 'spared' from regional tensions

Saudi Arabia, Arab allies push for unity against Iran, Hezbollah meddling

Syria ‘de-escalation zone’ does nothing to stop civilian deaths

Is a demilitarised Palestinian state a viable option?

S&P affirms good Saudi credit ratings

Israel president faces big backlash over Palestinian scarf

Sudan leader to visit Russia Thursday

Seven years into Libya’s civil war, the chaos continues

Iraq top court declares Kurd referendum unconstitutional

Libya to investigate 'slave auction' footage

15 women killed in food aid crush in Morocco

Lebanon FM will not attend Arab League Iran summit

Syrian forces liberate Albu Kamal from IS

Israel votes to shut migrant centre, deport Africans

Diplomats from Iran, Russia, Turkey discuss Syria

Libya to investigate ‘slave auction’ footage

Piece by piece, Iran moves towards a ‘new empire’

Netanyahu faces new questioning over corruption case

Syria troops, allies retake most of Albu Kamal from IS

EU cuts funding to Turkey in 2018 budget

Lebanon's Hariri arrives in Paris

Egypt opens Gaza border for first time since unity deal

US-Russia rift threatens fragile prospects for Syria peace

'Caliphate' in tatters but IS still a threat