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Sunday, September 03, 2006

The Azzam video - prelude to attack?

DUBAI, Sept. 2 (Reuters) — Al Qaeda, in a video posted Saturday on the Internet, called for President Bush and non-Muslims, especially those in the United States, to convert to Islam and abandon their “misguided” ways, or else suffer the consequences.

The main speaker on the tape was identified as Azzam the American, an Islamic convert from California also known as Adam Yahiye Gadahn who is wanted by the F.B.I. for questioning.

In the video, he was introduced by Al Qaeda’s second in command, Ayman al-Zawahri, an Egyptian.

The American, speaking in English, said, “To Americans and the rest of Christendom, we say either repent misguided ways and enter into the light of truth or keep your poison to yourself and suffer the consequences in this world and the next.”
The Counterterrorism Blog has a quick analysis, saying it is a prelude to "Future Jihad."

This is somewhat reminiscent of Ahmadinejad's letter to President Bush, in which he called on Bush and Americans to convert to Islam, although not as explicitly. Nevertheless, as Jihad Watch mentioned at the time,
In a Hadith, Muhammad tells his followers to call people to Islam before waging war against them:

Fight in the name of Allah and in the way of Allah. Fight against those who disbelieve in Allah. Make a holy war…When you meet your enemies who are polytheists, invite them to three courses of action. If they respond to any one of these, you also accept it and withhold yourself from doing them any harm. Invite them to (accept) Islam; if they respond to you, accept it from them and desist from fighting against them….If they refuse to accept Islam, demand from them the Jizya [the tax on non-Muslims specified in Qur’an 9:29]. If they agree to pay, accept it from them and hold off your hands. If they refuse to pay the tax, seek Allah’s help and fight them. (Sahih Muslim 4294)
In light of that, this letter could be -- but is not necessarily -- a prelude to an attack.
Perhaps we should look at this video the same way.