Statement of Al-Qaeda Leader Ayman Azh-Zhawahiri
Saturday, Nov. 10, 2001
Translation of the videotaped statement of Al-Qaeda leader Ayman Azh-Zhawahiri, as broadcast on Al-Jazeera Nov. 9, 2001, during the news show "Harvest of the Day."
[*] denotes blip in the video footage; at these points it may have been edited.
[Translation does not include formulaic expressions used at the beginning and the end of the statement.]
In the name of God the Merciful, the Compassionate.
A response from the whole Base (al-Qaeda) for jihad to the speech of President George Bush, Thursday, 23 Shaban 1422 AH, i.e., 18 November 2001 AD.
The speech which President Bush gave yesterday was distinguished by disregard for the basic facts of the conflict, which reasonable people have agreed are the primary causes for what happened in Washington and New York.
His speech was filled with many contradictions. But out of desire to be brief, we will respond to the most important of these.
We are not responding in regard to Taliban "extremists” refusing to hand over a criminal, whereas America is the one who has rejected respect for Islamic law (Sharia) and to submission of her evidence to an Islamic court.
We are not discussing it [the speech] for his description of the members of al-Qaeda as terrorists, while he forgot what American weapons have done in their slaughters in Dair Ya-Sin, Sabra and Shatila, Canan, and Somalia and places of refuge, which have caused the killing of more than one million children, to say nothing of women and men, in Iraq.
We are not discussing it in terms of American aid which is linked to bombs which tear apart the limbs of children (aid which the Afghans have sacrificed amid rejoicing and exultation).
We are not discussing it in terms of the call for the removal of al-Qaeda, in spite of solid [public] opinion and mass demonstrations which have spread throughout the Muslim world, and which demand retribution against America.
We are not discussing it in regard to what America claims was protection of Muslims in Bosnia, even though it was American weapons which blocked the delivery of weapons and support to them – the Serb murderers slaughtered them.
We are not discussing it in regard to America's involvement and siding with the Indians against the Muslims in India and Kashmir, nor in regard to her unjust position on the division of Indonesia.
We are not discussing Bush's claim yesterday that he is waging war in defense of protection of free speech at the time he is demanding caution against our statements and our declarations.
We will not discuss it in regard to all that.
Rather, we will focus our response on one clear, obvious issue which we consider the prominent axis for the ongoing dispute and conflict between Muslims and America.
We will discuss it in regard to the American-Israeli crime continuing in Palestine for more than 50 years.
It is provocative to the point of astonishment, derision, and scorn in Bush's speech yesterday and likewise in the official response of the State Department last Saturday delivered by Christopher Ross, that neither of them mentioned a single word about Palestine.
When Christopher Ross was asked about that, his response was an excuse more lame than offensive. He claimed that the American government has been seeking negotiations between Arabs and Israel for decades. Next he said that the question is considered off-topic.
This style drives Muslims, no doubt, to an increase in conviction, that the American administration will not change her criminal policy toward Palestine.
If talk about Palestine – and this is the central issue for Muslims, for more than 50 years, it is the main instigator for most incidents in the heart of the Muslim world and the events in Washington and New York -- if talk about this is off-topic, then there is no way but jihad for the cause of God to liberate Palestine from the Jews and the Americans.
If the negotiations, continuing for decades between the Palestinian Authority and the Jews under the auspices of America, have brought us nothing but an increase in killing and hostility toward the Muslim people in Palestine, and an increase in repeated attempts at the destruction of the Aqsa Mosque, then when will we attain the liberation of Palestine? When will we attain the rights of Muslims in Palestine? When will we stop the hostility toward the Aqsa Mosque?
When? After scores of centuries of negotiations under the auspices of America?
What has emerged in the offer of rights is Jewish conviction from the perspective of the Jews, and American foreign policy has agreed with it.
How can we forget that Israel, which America blesses and supports, got her start in her name on religious grounds. Israel is one of God's prophets, peace be upon him.
Israel wages war on religious grounds, and takes over our country and kills our children and women on religious grounds, as is claimed.
She considers Jerusalem her eternal capital on religious grounds. And America is calling for the transfer of her embassy to Jerusalem on religious grounds.
And then, after that, America claims that her battle against jihad – which she calls terrorism – in defense of Israel is not a religious war.
If Bush claims that we don’t deserve [?] the same humanity and that this war is in defense of the same, then did he forget while he gave his speech what Americans did in Hiroshima and Nagasaki?
Does he forget how Muhammad ad-Durra (may God's mercy be upon him and his brethren) was killed by American weapons? How can we forget the picture of Muhammad ad-Durra (may God's mercy be upon him and his brethren) while he was being killed intentionally and on purpose with American weapons, while America remains motionless and still?
The picture of Muhammad ad-Durra has become a vital symbol for the passion of every Muslim who is active in retaliation against everyone who participated in this crime, and at their head is America.
The official disregard by America in the speech of Bush and the statement of the Department of State of the tragedy of Palestine cannot erase from the minds of Muslims the image of hundreds of thousands of injured and killed, and detained, and the millions of refugees in Palestine.
The issue of Palestine, or more precisely the Israeli-American crime in Palestine, will remain the essential axis of the conflict in the heart of the Muslim world and the greatest impetus for Muslims' jihad against America.
America will disregard her crime in Palestine as she pleases. And the leaders of the world will disregard the tragedy.
The roots of terrorism – as they call it – include the problem of Palestine.
America will remain an exporter of her transgression and the illusion of her power and arrogance. But we confirm for [America] that the issue of our jihad, by God's will, [remains] until we liberate our holy sites from the American Jewish enemy, until the last American Jewish soldier departs from Palestine and the Arabian Peninsula and every Muslim country.
Her forces do no harm to us, when compared to the forces of God – be He exalted, the Omnipotent, the Perfect. Rather, the forces of hers will be a catastrophe for her, by God's will.
The American administration … [ca. one sentence about Afghanistan and Russia lost due to technical glitch in receiving transmission] …
When we ourselves carried out defense of the children in Palestine, they described us as terrorists.
Today the American National Security Adviser declared that Bush will not meet with Yasser Arafat because he is not carrying out his duty in fighting against terrorists, by whom she means our mujahideen brothers in Palestine.
America can describe us as she wants. The truth remains, and her [America’s] futility is annoying, and her battle a failure, by God’s will.
Bush is lying to his people. Defending this battle, he claimed he has destroyed the al-Qaeda organization and torn apart the Taliban (battle-)lines.
But the whole world scoffs at his lies and sees his huge military operation, which has ended up after one month killing more than 1,600 civilians – innocent elderly people, women and children – and has driven away millions of Afghans inside and outside Afghanistan into the harsh coldness of winter without America providing evidence or even an indictment from her courts, which we do not recognize.
America mobilizes what she can mobilize, and lies as she wants to lie.
The whole world will know after the next strikes – by God's will – which of us is the liar and who is truthful