A Free Press
Blacks recruited for terror by al-Qaida
Pitch to African-Americans invokes 'martyr' Malcolm X
Posted: May 21, 2007
1:00 a.m. Eastern
Al-Qaida is aggressively recruiting black Americans for suicide operations against the homeland, say FBI analysts who have reviewed recent videotaped messages from the terror group's leaders.
A speech released May 5 by Osama bin Laden's deputy confirms earlier fears that African-Americans are the No. 1 recruiting target for the next generation of attacks. Al-Qaida has been trying to lower its Arab profile to reduce the odds that its terror cells will be subjected to security scrutiny.
"Federal and local law enforcement authorities should be aware that al-Qaida terrorists may not appear Arab," warns a recent Homeland Security intelligence report obtained by WND. "Non-Arab al-Qaida operatives could find it easier to avoid unwanted scrutiny since they may not fit typical profiles."
In the latest message, al-Qaida No. 2 Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri clearly seeks to sow political and racial discontent among African-Americans. He makes frequent references to what he calls the "martyr" Malcolm X, and says "I want blacks in America to know that we are waging jihad to lift oppression from all mankind."
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Zawahiri encourages African-Americans to follow the example of Malcolm X, a.k.a. al-Hajj Malik al-Shabaaz, who he says was not afraid to sacrifice his life to fight American "oppression."
According to a transcript of the hour-long screed, Zawahiri said this is "the culture which the struggler and martyr Malcom X (may Allah have mercy upon him) fought against when he told his repressed black brothers in America, 'If you're not ready to die for it, take the word "freedom" out of your vocabulary.'"
"Freedom is something that you have to do for yourself," he quotes Malcolm X as as saying. "The price of freedom is death."
Zawahiri, again citing the teachings of Malcolm X, suggests that black Muslims who do not rise up against America are no better than "house slaves."
It's the first time al-Qaida has identified Malcolm X as a fellow Islamic "struggler and martyr," analysts say.
"Zawahiri's focus on race relations may be benefiting from the input of a U.S. citizen named Adam Yahiye Gadahn – a.k.a Azaam al-Amriki – who is a senior member of al-Qaida's media committee," said former CIA analyst Michael Scheuer, now an analyst for the Jamestown Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank specializing in national security.
"Indeed," he added, "the deftness and political timeliness of Zawahiri's statements suggest that al-Qaida may have more than a single American advising it."
Last year, in another nearly hour-long videotaped speech, al-Qaida propaganda chief Gadahn invited blacks to convert to Islam and take revenge against a nation that enslaved their ancestors.
Gadahn, a white convert from California thought to be operating out of al-Qaida's new base in Pakistan, slammed his native America, which he said "shamelessly brought us lynch laws, Jim Crow, and a death row where only convicts of certain races are sent."
In courting African-Americans, he also encouraged them to forsake Christianity, which he claims whites have used as an excuse to abuse blacks.
"Islam rejects the Judeo-Christian doctrines concerning Eve and Ham, which the West has used to justify all manner of abuse and ill treatment of women and blacks," Gadahn said. "Islam is for everyone."
Gadahn, who is wanted by the FBI for treason, also claims that America "enslaved Africa."
Islamic terrorism analysts point out that al-Qaida's racial history lessons conveniently leave out the fact that Arab Muslim slave traders sold Africans into bondage.
"The Arab is the true master of the African," said Bill Warner, director of the Center for Study of Political Islam. "Blacks like to imagine Islam is their counterweight to white power, not that Islam has ruled them for 1,400 years."
Blacks account for the largest share of Muslims in America. A great many of them are converts to Islam. And remarkably, the religion is flourishing among African-Americans since 9/11. Analysts fear the trend plays right into bin Laden's hands.
Black converts say Islam has more in common with their African heritage than Christianity. In fact, black Muslim leaders often refer to such conversions as "reversions," claiming black "reverts" are merely returning to the Islamic faith prominent among their African forebears who were forced into slavery.
"You have African-American men seeking liberation," explained black Muslim leader Eric Erfan Vickers, "and many see Christianity as a white man's religion that continues to oppress."
Vickers, a convert to Islam, does not consider al-Qaida a terrorism group. "They are involved in a resistance movement," he contended.
Prisons have already proven to be a fertile recruiting ground for al-Qaida, spawning the likes of shoebomber Richard Reid and alleged dirty bomber Jose Padilla.
Christian prison chaplains say Islam is so popular with inmates they are having a hard time competing with Muslim chaplains for their souls. Blacks are being converted by the cell block. The FBI worries blacks could be the next face of terror in America.
Since 9/11, the agency has already disrupted several homegrown terror plots involving black Muslim converts, including:
Still, some analysts doubt al-Qaida's pitch will resonate in today's black community beyond a handful of malcontents. They point out that African-Americans are no longer held back by institutional racism, and are growing wealthier as evidenced by the expanding black middle class.
Indeed, Zawahiri does not paint a very enticing picture in describing the sacrifices required along the path of jihad, especially for those used to the material comforts of America.
"If we continue to aspire to nothing more than diplomas, positions, salaries, pensions and the raising of our children, there will be nothing but humiliation in store for us, our children and our grandchildren," he argued. "If, on the other hand, we are happy with killing, captivity, emigration, losing one's spouse, orphanage, and losing one's wealth, homeland and beloved in the path of Allah, then with Allah's help, no power on the face of the earth can defeat us."
Zawahiri in his latest speech also made fresh threats about coming attacks on America.
He warns that a new "squadron of martyrdom-seekers" is lined up behind "hundreds" of new leaders who are following in the footsteps of captured 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
"They shall achieve more than he achieved," Zawahiri vowed. "The Americans shall pay dearly."
He says American voters had a chance to fire Bush in the last presidential election for invading Iraq, but they chose instead to reelect him. He suggests they forfeited their chance for protection from terrorism, and deserve punishment.
"The Americans deserve what they're getting," he said. "They chose this liar two times, so let them pay the price for their choice."
Gadahn has said "the streets of America shall run red with blood," later singling out Los Angeles as a target of attack.