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THE NATION

Al Qaeda chides Obama with racist commentary

November 20, 2008|Associated Press

CAIRO — Al Qaeda's No. 2 leader used a racial epithet to insult Barack Obama in a message posted Wednesday, describing the president-elect in demeaning terms that imply he does the bidding of whites.

The message seems aimed at convincing Muslims and Arabs that Obama does not represent a change in U.S. policies. Ayman Zawahiri said in the message, which appeared on militant websites, that Obama was "the direct opposite of honorable black Americans" like Malcolm X, the 1960s black Muslim leader.

In Al Qaeda's first response to Obama's historic victory, Zawahiri also called the president-elect -- along with Secretaries of State Colin L. Powell and Condoleezza Rice -- "house Negroes."

Speaking in Arabic, Zawahiri uses the term "abeed al-beit," which literally translates as "house slaves." But Al Qaeda supplied English subtitles of his speech that included the translation as "house Negroes."

In Washington, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said the message was just "more despicable comments from a terrorist."

The 11-minute, 23-second video features the audio message by Zawahiri, who appears only in a still image, along with other images, including one of Obama wearing a skullcap as he meets with Jewish leaders. In his speech, Zawahiri refers to a Nov. 5 U.S. airstrike in Afghanistan, meaning the video was made after that date.

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