Middle East Forum
24 December 09
To English audiences, jihadists talk of ending oppression; to Arabic ones, they talk of oppressing the infidel.
"Al-Qaeda's Zawahiri Accuses Obama of Trying to 'Enslave' Arab World." So reads the headline of a recent Fox News report, which goes on to quote Zawahiri saying things such as "Obama's policy is nothing but another cycle in the Crusader and Zionist campaign to enslave and humiliate us, and to occupy our land and steal our wealth."
Two years earlier, Zawahiri was even more dramatic. Then he implored "blacks in America, people of color, American Indians, Hispanics, and all the weak and oppressed in North and South America, in Africa and Asia, and all over the world, to know that when we wage jihad in Allah's path, we aren't waging jihad to lift oppression from Muslims only; we are waging jihad … to lift oppression from all mankind. … This is why I want every oppressed one on the face of the earth to know that our victory over America and the Crusading West — with Allah's permission — is a victory for them, because they shall be freed from the most powerful tyrannical force in the history of mankind."
Unfortunately for al-Qaeda, its very own words — the Arabic ones directed at fellow Muslims which Westerners rarely see or read — unequivocally contradict its repeated attempts to portray itself as an organization out to spread Robin Hood-style justice and equanimity vis-à-vis a tyrannical U.S. For in these Arabic treatises, al-Qaeda makes it perfectly clear that, short of submitting to Islamic hegemony, the non-Muslim world is the enemy, ipso facto.
Yet doublespeak is definitely not the sole province of al-Qaeda; the decades-long Arab-Israeli conflict has furnished the world with some of the most flagrant examples of Islamist doublespeak — emanating from such players as Arafat, the PLO, and Hamas. Hezbollah offers a recent example:
According to Reuters, the terrorist organization's newly revised manifesto "tones down Islamist rhetoric but maintains a tough line against Israel and the United States. The new manifesto drops reference to an Islamic republic in Lebanon, which has a substantial Christian population, confirming changes to Hezbollah thinking about the need to respect Lebanon's diversity."
In fact, this "new" manifesto has been hailed as a progressive step forward for the terrorist organization: an AFP headline tells us that "Hezbollah strikes softer tone in second manifesto: [according to] analysts," such as one Paul Salem, head of the Beirut-based Carnegie Middle East Center, who asserts that the "manifesto is reassuring as it showsHezbollah's integration with Lebanese political life."