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.

 

UN Security Council calls for Polisario pullback from Guerguerat

UK warns of ‘increased level of terrorist activity’

Merkel warns EU-Turkey ties 'severely hit' by Ankara developments

Pope Francis flies to Egypt as 'pilgrim of peace'

420 tonnes of plastic bags seized in year in Morocco since ban

President of European rights group censured for Assad meeting

Palestinians protest to support prisoners on hunger strike

Turkish army, Syrian Kurdish militia in new clashes

Erdogan to rejoin Turkey ruling party next week

Germany urges EU not to break off Turkey accession talks

OPCW says chemical weapons allegedly used 45 times in Syria

Netanyahu slams German foreign minster as 'insensitive'

Erdogan hopes for 'new page' with US under Trump

UN envoy to Libya to visit Sudan for peace talks

Tunisian PM booed out of town hall meet

Russian spy ship sinks off Turkish coast

London police arrest ‘terror act’ knifeman by parliament

Palestinians strike in support of protesting prisoners

Two Saudi soldiers killed in rocket attack near Yemen border

German soldier plots attack under refugee disguise

Iraq forces retake town of Hatra from IS

Syria accuses Israel of strike near Damascus airport

10 dead after strikes on rebel-held hospitals in Syria

Turkey’s AKP to hold special congress readmitting Erdogan

EU reviews Libya request for naval equipment

Jail terms over death of Moroccan fishmonger

UN appoints Syrian Olympic swimmer as ambassador

Bahraini activist on hunger strike behind bars

Calls on Saudi social media for jobless protest

Tunisian coastguards no match for high-speed smugglers

US wants 'strong, democratic' Turkey: ambassador

Israeli tank trades shots with Hamas in Gaza

Syria says France 'hiding truth' about chemical attack

NATO chief warns Turkey to respect ‘rule of law’

Exiled Turkish journalist urges EU to confront Erdogan

Mass funeral for dozens slain in Syria bus attack

Qatar insists Baghdad had ‘full knowledge’ of hostage deal

UN eyes new Yemen peace talks

Erdogan resumes Gulen arrests after referendum win

Turkey opposition heads to European court to challenge referendum

Turkey says informed US, Russia prior to Kurdish strikes

Iraqi forces liberate ancient city of Hatra from IS

Saudi fire stops explosives-laden boat from Yemen

50 Syria migrants stranded on Morocco-Algeria border

Libya asks EU for patrol boats to stem migrant wave