Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Zawahiri's oath of loyalty to Mullah Muhammad Omar

Laura Mansfield has so far provided the only translation of Zawahiri’s most recent tape. [] She says, “He reiterates his statement of loyalty to Mullah Omar, leader of the Taliban, and calls for Muslims to disregard nationalistic loyalties and instead assign their loyalties to Islam:

And we – by the grace of Allah and His guidance – have pledged allegiance to the Commander of the Believers, Mulla Muhammad Umar, who is an Afghan.

That's why I ask my Muslim brothers in general and the callers and Mujahideen and their media organizations in particular to highlight the concept of Islamic brotherhood and disown all partisanship, loyalties and animosities based on nationalism, and I ask them not to allow the wrongdoing of a faction or entity motivate them to speak evil of that party's entire people or race.”

Mansfield implies that Zawahiri has previously claimed “loyalty” to Mullah Muhammad Omar, but this is the first I have seen of this. In the translated segment he “pledges allegiance” [bay`at] to “the Commander of the Believers” – a title Mullah Muhammad Omar was given by the religious establishment at a notorious moment when he personally lifted the cloak of Muhammad from its place in the shrine built for it – the first time it was officially moved in 60 years -- and wrapped himself in it. The specific mention of Mullah Muhammad Omar and the absence of any reference to Osama Bin Laden is significant.

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