Al Qaeda has released a new audio message from Hamza bin Laden entitled, “Osama…The Fighter Against Invaders And the Inciter of Rebellion Against Tyrants.” The junior bin Laden lionizes his father as a hero of the Ummah, or worldwide community of Muslims, throughout the talk. The recording was released earlier today, just days after the CIA released thousands of documents and files recovered in Osama bin Laden’s compound, including Hamza’s wedding video.*
Al Qaeda often describes its founder as the “reviving sheikh” because of his role in spreading jihadism and Hamza’s laudatory description is in this vein.
Hamza argues that Osama “was able to revive the spirit of Jihad in the way of Allah” decades after the fall of the Islamic caliphate in the early 20th Century. “Thus, he [Osama] was able to bring about the shift from the Jihad of the elite to the Jihad of the Ummah,” Hamza says, as the “sweet springs of Jihad gush forth from beneath the surface, one after another, in different parts of the Islamic World, and the good work continues.”
Hamza claims that “a large portion of the Ummah” had “succumbed to foreign occupation” and resigned itself to being “governed by man-made laws” until “the best of its sons rose up in rebellion against the status quo.” The situation changed because leading jihadi figures illuminated a different path, Hamza argues. The “general political objective” of the Ummah today is focused on “liberating the Muslim lands, freedom from Crusader hegemony, establishing the Islamic Shariah, living freely under its merciful shade, and inviting people to it.”
“Among the eminent personalities who possessed exceptional vision and foresight, and who were able to hold the hand of their Ummah and lift it from the base of the mountain to a high ground and yet still to higher hills, so that it might once again see the light of its illuminating torch on the horizon and set its eyes on its clear goal, was Sheikh Osama bin Laden (may Allah have mercy on him),” Hamza says.
As in the past, As Sahab (al Qaeda’s propaganda arm) doesn’t show a current image of Hamza. Instead, the production includes only an audio recording of the bin Laden heir’s voice.
FDD’s Long War Journal first reported earlier this month that Hamza can be seen as a young adult in his wedding video, which was seized during the raid on his father’s safe house in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Although the video was recorded approximately a decade ago, it contains images of Hamza that are more recent than the ones al Qaeda uses. An image of Hamza from the wedding video can be seen on the right.
Hamza is eager to credit his father for the dissolution of the Soviet Union and predicts that America will suffer the same fate.
“After the fall of the Soviet Union, it was America’s turn to cross the limits in its arrogance,” Hamza says. “It was deceived by its power, the masses spellbound by its apparent prowess. Yet America was oblivious to the fact that Allah had made it succeed Russia (a fallen superpower).”
“The Imam, Sheikh Osama…returned to the fortress of Islam, Afghanistan, for the second time with just six of the best of his brothers,” Hamza says of his father’s relocation from the Sudan to Afghanistan in the mid-1990s. He then praises the Taliban’s founder, Mullah Omar, for welcoming Osama to Afghanistan. “Allah guided the loyal Emir, the Emir of the Believers, Mullah Muhammad Omar Mujahid (may Allah have mercy on him) to safeguard and help this young fledgling call.”
Mullah Omar “set an example of generosity and loyalty which cannot be penned in words,” Hamza continues. “And thus the numbers started to increase gradually, and preparations began to confront the second Pharaoh,” meaning America.
This eventually led to the 9/11 hijackings. “Once again, with limited means – this time civilian aircrafts – the Imam, Osama, was able to rub America’s nose in dust and strike at its very heart, dragging it into a confrontation with the Ummah instead of a confrontation with just a few individuals,” Hamza claims. “And so America’s armies were forcefully dragged into the swamps of Iraq and Afghanistan.”
“America was forced to flee Iraq defeated and humiliated, while it is still stuck in the quagmire that is Afghanistan, in spite of the admission of its former President, Obama, of the defeat of his country at the hands of the forces of the Islamic Emirate [the Taliban],” Hamza argues.
As one would expect, Hamza’s remembrances of his infamous father are more of a hagiography than a straight retelling. “I remember seeing him at times with his lunch or dinner being mere oil, salt, and a piece of bread,” Hamza says, emphasizing his father’s supposed humility. He calls on other Muslims to follow in his father’s footsteps after he “sacrificed his soul” and spent “his life and his wealth…helping the Muslim Ummah” to liberate itself and “sparking a revival in its ranks.”
In his personal journal and other writings, Osama bin Laden reflected on the Arab uprisings in early 2011. The al Qaeda founder saw a great opportunity for his men and wanted them to take advantage of the revolutions, which they did not start.
Hamza passes along his father’s warning concerning these same uprisings, arguing that they will not succeed unless the Muslims masses take up arms. “The Arab Spring revolutions bore the message of freedom and honor, but they did not possess a protective force or a sharp sword for their defense, and thus the enemies assailed it and derailed it from its path,” Hamza says.
He continues: “The Imam, Osama…departed this world encouraging and inciting you to continue the journey of the revolutions, warning you against pre-mature termination or diversion of these revolutions; and that no matter how logically convincing and eloquently presented a call may be, it shall never attain complete success unless it has a force to protect it, and the force that can protect the journey of our Ummah towards its destined lofty goal is none other than Jihad in the Way of Allah.”
Hamza calls on the “truthful scholars” to incite the youth to jihad and implores the “oppressed Muslims masses” to “[r]ise in rebellion against oppression and tyranny” and “revolt against the agents of the Americans.”
In the past, Osama’s son has called on jihadists to exact revenge for his father’s death. He repeats this call once again. “To conclude, I invite Muslims generally to take revenge from the Americans, the murderers of the Sheikh (may Allah have mercy on him), specifically from those who participated in this heinous crime,” he says.
*The CIA’s web page for these files has been down for days.
Thomas Joscelyn is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Senior Editor for FDD’s Long War Journal.