Skip to comments.'Al-Qa'eda Will Punish UK For Rushdie Award'
Posted on 07/10/2007 3:01:41 PM PDT by blam
'Al-Qa'eda will punish UK for Rushdie award'
By Philip Johnston, Home Affairs Editor.
Last Updated: 7:57pm BST 10/07/2007
Osama bin Ladens second in command has issued a warning that Britain faces fresh terror attacks as a "punishment" for the knighthood bestowed on Salman Rushdie.
Ayman al-Zawahiri helped mastermind the September 11 attacks in the US
The threat - addressed directly to Gordon Brown - came in a 20-minute audio-tape posted on jihadi websites by Ayman al-Zawahiri.
He threatened "a very precise response" in retaliation against Britain for having knighted the controversial novelist in the Queens Birthday Honours last month.
Intelligence agencies are tonight checking the authenticity of the tape, picked up by the American-based SITE group, which monitors al-Qaeda messages.
According to SITE, it was produced by as-Sahab, the multimedia wing of al-Qaeda, to be distributed to extremist web sites.
The speech, entitled "Malicious Britain and its Indian Slaves", railed against the UK for having awarded a knighthood to Rushdie.
It came the day after four terrorists were convicted of the July 21 plot to launch suicide attacks on the London transport system and on the same day that the jury failed to reach a verdict on two others alleged to be part of their cell.
Al-Zawahiri, who is de facto leader of the group since Osama bin Laden has not been heard of for years, said it insulted Islam to reward the author of "The Satanic Verses".
He addressed Mr Brown directly as prime minister, and also appeared to refer to the failed car bomb attacks in London 10 days ago.
"I say to Blairs successor that the policy of your predecessor drew catastrophes in Afghanistan and Iraq and even in the centre of London," he said.
The tape added: "And if you did not understand, listen, we are ready to repeat it for you, God willing, until we are sure you have fully understood."
More prosaically, he also called for a boycott of British goods.
The recent attempted car bombings in Londons West End and the botched suicide attack in Glasgow were also attributed on a jihadi website to the Rushdie knighthood.
Hours before police dismantled the first car bomb, a posting on the Al Hesbah chat forum pointed to an imminent attack in London. It said: "'Is Britain longing for Al Qaedas bombings? We, and the whole world has seen what Britain has done...their intention to honour Salman Rushdie who insulted and slandered Islam."
Security experts doubt that the recent attacks - or anything that might be planned imminently - were a direct response to the knighthood.
Such conspiracies take months to put together and often involve the perpetrators travelling to Pakistan for training a year or more before carrying them out.
But the al-Qaeda leadership evidently sees great propoaganda value in using the knighthood to justify any attack already planned.
Although the speech was described as "rambling", al-Zawahiris words still have the capacity to stir up radicalised young Muslims seeking an excuse to attack Britain.
The honour caused huge anger across the Muslim world because the Satanic Verses, written in 1989, is regarded as blasphemous an offence to Islam.
Last month, a Pakistani minister said the honour was such an affront that it could justify suicide bombings - comments that were condemned by Britain. There were also street protests in Pakistani cities, where mobs burned effigies of the author and of the Queen.
Religious leaders delivered fiery sermons denouncing the honour and an Iranian cleric said the 1989 fatwa against Rushdie still stood.
In response to the tape, the Foreign Office said the knighthood was a reflection of his contribution to literature.
"The government has already made clear that Rushdies honour was not intended as an insult to Islam or the Prophet Muhammad," said a spokesman.
"We will continue to tackle the threat from international terrorism as a priority in order to prevent the risk of attacks on British interests at home and overseas, including from al-Qaeda," a spokesman said.
Rumored to be stated by Arnaud-Amaury in the early 11 century.
We're engaged in a world war because the spiritual and doctrinal leader of al-Qaeda got a tiny one.
No worries, Al-Zawa-whacko, Brown is such a PC wuss that he’ll probably de-knight (?) Rushdie for you.