Azzam - The American al Qaeda's "Invitation to Islam"
Banner announcing "Invitation to Islam, al Qaeda's latest videotape. Links to video below.
As Sabah, al Qaeda's media production company, has released the anticipated videotape of Ayman al-Zawahiri and Adam Gahadn (a.k.a. Azzam the American). This video is the latest in an al Qaeda media campaign designed to influence westerners, supporters and sympathizers.
In the video, both Zawahiri and Azzam are dressed in white robes and turbans. They are both on message and their statements are clearly coordinated. If they are not in the same location (and they do not appear together) then their messages were coordinated remotely. This is further evidence al Qaeda's leaders are not operating in distant caves.
While the video is directed at the American public, it is also available online in English, Turkish, Urdu and Bahasa subtitles. Zawahiri has only a small, introductory role in the video (he is on camera for less than 4 minutes). He essentially introduces Azzam, and his presence and words legitimizes Azzam's statements. Azzam speaks for about 44 minutes. Zawahiri is clearly in front of a blue screen, while Azzam is pictured in a room with a flat screen monitor and a number of books on top of a desk. The books will be of special interest to intelligence agencies. He is reading from a teleprompter - watch his eyes, and note the pauses in his speech at odd times.
Adam Gadahn, the American al Qaeda in "Invitation to Islam" al Qaeda's latest videotape.
Azzam is the equivalent of an adviser to the al Qaeda media committee and is believed to be in Northwestern Pakistan. His job is to tailor the message to the disaffected elements of the American public.
Azzam gives a laundry list of grievances against the America and American foreign policy - his arguments are both religious and secular in nature. He quotes copiously from the Koran and Bible. He dwells on "the west's dark and bloody past and dark and bloody present," and invokes a laundry list of anti-American and anti-Western grievances, such as the support for the Shah of Iran, the coup in Chile in 1973, Guantanamo Bay, and other issues. He describes Western culture as "the civilization which enslaved Africa, slaughtered native Americans, fired bombs at Tokyo and Fallujah and nuked Hiroshima and Nagasaki."
Azzam also rails against "polytheists," "televangelists" and Zionists. He chastises American counterterrorism personalities yet offers them redemption if they convert to Islam. "If the Zionist crusaders, missionaries of hate, and counter-Islam consultants like Daniel Pipes, Robert Spencer, Michael Scheuer or Steven Emerson and, yes, even the crusader in chief George W. Bush were to abandon their unbelief and repent and enter into the light of Islam and turn their swords against the enemies of God, it would be accepted of them and they would be our brothers in Islam." He commends British Minister of Parliament George Galloway and British journalist Robert Fisk for their pro-jihadi positions and implores them to take the final step and convert. He commends Seymour Hirsh for revealing "coverups" in the war.
Azzam and al Qaeda are providing a warning to the West and the American public and military in particular. Withdrawal from the Middle East, accept a truce, convert or die.
To download the videotape: