Zarqawi calls for taking up sword of Islam in Iraq

PTI | ByReuters, Dubai
May 12, 2004 01:41 PM IST

Al Qaeda's leader in Iraq blasted Muslims for not taking up the sword of Islam against America and sought to shame them.

Al Qaeda's leader in Iraq blasted Muslims for not taking up the sword of Islam against America and sought to shame them for not following the lead of militants who "humiliated the mightiest army" in the Iraqi town of Falluja.

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A statement said to be from Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, in a video tape which showed the beheading of an American in Iraq, ridiculed Muslim clerics and leaders for their failure to free Iraq. It urged youth to return to the proud history of Islam at the Battle of Badr, when the first Muslims defeated "infidels".

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"Is it not time for you to take the path of jihad and carry the sword of the prophet of prophets (Prophet Mohammed)...," said the statement for Muslims to fight the U.S.-led occupation in Iraq. It was carried on an Islamist Web site on Tuesday.

"As for you Islamic scholars, you will answer to God. Do you not see...the Muslim youth who humiliated the greatest power in history, cut off its nose and shattered its arrogance."

He told Muslims to emulate militants who had been locked in a fierce battle with U.S. troops in Falluja. U.S. Marines agreed to pull back after a month-long siege and turned security over to an Iraqi force drawn partly from among former guerrillas.

"Tidings of dawn and winds of victory have begun for God has honoured us with roaring victory in Falluja," the voice said.

It said holy war was the only way to liberate Iraq and that pleas of helpless Arab leaders and moderate Muslim clerics in Iraq to regional and world bodies failed to end the occupation.

"One person pleads with the free of the world, another with (U.N. Secretary-General) Kofi Annan, a third asks for help from (Arab League Secretary-General) Amr Moussa and a fourth calls for peaceful demonstrations as if they never heard God's order for the Prophet to rally the faithful to fight," the man said.

He singled out Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf for helping the United States fight al Qaeda in Afghanistan. Washington has also asked Pakistan to send troops to Iraq.

"We tell him that we wait eagerly to receive your soldiers and, by God, we will demand them before the Americans and avenge the blood of our brothers in (Afghanistan)," the man said.

Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda group, blamed for the September 2001 attacks on U.S. cities, has repeatedly urged Muslims to target Muslim rulers it accuses of being agents for Washington.

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