mentioned in my past articles that while Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden's
No. 2, had criticised India and the Hindus, bin Laden himself had refrained from
any direct criticism of India and the Hindus.
In the latest audio message attributed to bin Laden, which was broadcast by the Al Jazeera TV channel on April 23, 2006 (please see the link below) he has for the first time made direct references to India and the Kashmir issue and spoken of an alleged Crusader-Zionist-Hindu conspiracy against the Muslims. He makes the first reference to "a Crusader-Zionist-Hindu war against the Muslims" while talking of the alleged Western conspiracy to deprive Indonesia of East Timor.
It is not clear why he refers to India in connection with the separation
of East Timor from Indonesia. He then says: "Meanwhile,
a UN resolution passed more than half a century ago gave Muslim Kashmir the
liberty of choosing independence from India. George Bush, the leader of the
Crusaders' campaign, announced a few days ago that he will order his converted
agent [Pakistan President Pervez] Musharraf to shut down the Kashmir mujahidin
camps, thus affirming that it is a Zionist-Hindu war against Muslims."
His reference is apparently to the remarks made by President Bush during his visit to Afghanistan, India and Pakistan from March 1 to 4, 2006. Mr. Bush had stated at Delhi that he would be taking up with President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan India's complaints that the jihadist terrorist infrastructure in Pakistani territory directed against India remains intact.
bin Laden further adds: "It is the duty for the Umma with all its categories, men, women and youths, to give away themselves, their money, experiences and all types of material support, enough to establish jihad particularly in Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan, Sudan, Kashmir and Chechnya. Jihad today is an imperative for every Muslim. The Umma will commit a sin if it did not provide adequate material support for jihad."
He also refers to the current fighting in the Waziristan area of Pakistan
between the Pakistani Army and the local inhabitants in the following words:
" With respect to Pakistan, some Muslims have done a good job by assisting
their fellow Muslims, God bless them, but the Pashtun tribes must be aided after
the Pakistan army devastated their homes in Waziristan in order to satisfy the
This is the second audio message by bin Laden since he broke his 13-month-long silence on January 19, 2006,with a message which was essentially directed to the American people in the context of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. That message was triggered off by reports of growing opposition to the war in Iraq from large sections of the American public. It sought to take advantage of this opposition by offering a truce to the American people if the American forces were withdrawn from the two countries. It carried an implied warning that if his offer was rejected, another terrorist strike in the US homeland would follow for which, he claimed, preparations were already under way.
The latest message, which is addressed to the Islamic world and not to the US and other Western countries, does not repeat his earlier warning of plans for another terrorist strike in the US. The message of April 23 seems to have been triggered off by a concern over the lack of any significant anger in the Islamic world over the suspension of Western assistance to the Hamas-led Government in the area under the control of the Palestinian Authority and over the developments in the Darfur region of the Sudan and the plans to send an international peace-keeping force there. He projects these developments as evidence of the continuing conspiracy by the Crusaders and the Zionists against the Muslims.
His reference to the American opposition to the Hamas is casual rhetoric, without any indication of any action to be taken by the Muslims in this connection. However, his references to the alleged American designs in the Sudan and to the need to counter the Crusaders' in southern and Western Sudan are more detailed and call for specific action such as storage of weapons for waging a jihad before the rains start hindering transport in the interior.
"I am inviting the mujahidin and their supporters in the Sudan and other
countries around, including the Arabian peninsula in particular, to prepare all
that is needed for a long-term war against the Crusaders and thieves in western
Sudan. Our objective is obvious, that is defending Islam, the people and the
land but not Khartoum government since our differences with them are so
enormous, mostly when it backtracked in implementing the Sharia law and
abandoned south Sudan. I urge the mujahidin to get acquainted with Darfur state
tribes and land and its surroundings, keeping in mind that the region is about
to face the rainy season that hampers means of transport. This is one of the
reasons why the occupation was adjourned for six months. So it is imperative to
speed up action and benefit from the time factor by stocking a large amount of
landmines and anti-armour grenades such as RPGs [rocket propelled
The message, which lacks focus, refers to the so-called conspiracies against the Muslims all over the world, but interestingly does not refer to the opposition of the West to Iran's nuclear programme as another indicator of the Crusaders' conspiracy against Islam. It is silent on this subject.
B. Raman is Additional Secretary (retd),
Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director,
Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai.
For in-depth, objective and more importantly balanced journalism, Click here to subscribe to Outlook Magazine