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Osama wanted to change al Qaeda name

world Updated: Jun 25, 2011 23:00 IST

Osama bin Laden was considering changing al Qaida's name to improve its image among Muslims, according to documents obtained by U.S. special forces from the compound where he was killed.

A letter apparently written in the months before he died indicates that Bin Laden felt al Qaeda, which means "the base", was not sufficiently religious and did not reinforce the message that the group considered itself to be engaged in a holy war against the enemies of Islam.

A name change would allow al Qaeda to distance itself from growing criticism within the Islamic world that it was responsible for killing large numbers of Muslims, Bin Laden wrote.

The letter, described to the Associated Press news agency by U.S. officials, provides further evidence that Bin Laden was considering increasingly desperate measures to retain support for his campaign of violence and to maintain the relevance of his group.