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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Osama sets eye on Europe



















Al-Qaeda renegade Osama bin Laden last week issued fresh threats to the EU, warning of grave consequences following the publication of cartoons mocking the Prophet Mohammed. See the cartoon here

In an audio recording posted on the internet to coincide with the birthday of the Prophet, bin Laden alleged that the drawings—considered offensive by Muslims—were part of a “new crusade” in which Pope Benedict XIV was involved. “Your publication of these drawings—part of a new crusade in which the Pope of the Vatican had a significant role—is a confirmation from you that the war continues,” said the Saudi-born militant leader, ostensibly addressing “those who are wise at the European Union. You are testing Muslims … the answer will be what you shall see, and not what you hear.”

But Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi swiftly rejected bin Laden’s allegations. “These accusations are totally unfounded, but they are not surprising,” he said. “It is natural to think that he (bin Laden) would lump the Vatican and the Pope together with all his perceived enemies.”

More of the cartoons

This was bin Laden’s first message since November 29 2007 when he urged the EU to stop participation in Afghanistan with the US. The message, produced by Al-Qaeda’s media arm As-Sahab in the lunar month which ended on March 8th, carried an animation of a spear piercing through a red map of Europe with blood splashing as its tip penetrates the surface. It also carried what appeared to be an old photograph of bin Laden firing an assault rifle. The message also eerily coincided with America’s 5th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. Michael Scheurer, a former CIA bin Laden tracker, saw the link: “It is not a coincidence that it was released on the day that is observed in the Muslim world as the Prophet’s birthday. It is only ominous when he says ‘don’t listen to our words, watch for our actions’ … that means they are clearly intending to attack Europe.”

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