Al Qaeda leader Zawahiri urges holy war over anti-Islam film
Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has called on Muslims to declare Holy War on the US and Israel and honoured protestors who raged against the US consulate in Benghazi and assaulted the US embassy in Cairo over an anti-Islam film.
The trailer of the film Innocence of Muslims, created by an Egyptian-American angry at the handling of Christians in Egypt and uploaded onto video sharing site YouTube, ignited outrage amongst the Muslim world.
The film portrays the prophet Muhammad in a pessimistic light and many Muslims around the globe have reacted with violence. At least 17 people have been killed so far in resulting clashes.
Today, Ayman al-Zawahiri spoke of the incident on Al-Qaeda’s media production house As-Sahab, calling for a holy war. In the audio message, al-Zawahiri praised the demonstrators who retaliated against the film, calling them “honest and zealous”. He also claimed that while the US had permitted the film’s production under the excuse of freedom of speech, “this freedom did not prevent them from torturing Muslim prisoners.”
The film was originally denounced by Muslim clerics in Egypt, which prompted the first in a string of attacks on US diplomatic missions across the Islamic world.
It is believed that the Benghazi attack on 11th September, which saw the US consulate violently hit by protestors, was carried out by Al-Qaeda activists. In the attack that was widely condemned in both the Middle East and the Western world, the US ambassador and three other consulate workers were killed.