A letter found in Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad details his concerns about the name al Qaeda and the organisation’s ability to galvanise Muslims with a shorthand moniker that just means ‘the base’ (originally it was ‘the base of holy war’). It is unknown to whom Bin Laden’s public relations missive was directed. According to the Associated Press, he came up with some real clunkers to replace al Qaeda, at least judging by their English translations. Maybe something like Taifat AlTawhed Wal-Jihad, meaning Monotheism and Jihad Group, would do the trick, he wrote, or Jama’at I’Adat AlKhilafat AlRashida, meaning Restoration of the Caliphate Group. As Bin Laden saw it, the problem was that the group’s full name, al Qaeda AlJihad, for The Base of Holy War, had become short-handed as simply al Qaeda. Lopping off the word ‘jihad,’ Bin Laden wrote, allowed the West to “claim deceptively that they are not at war with Islam.”
Published in The Express Tribune, June 25th, 2011.
More in PakistanCompounding Miseries: Food supplies to Khyber refugees halted