The following report is now a complimentary offering from MEMRI's Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM). For JTTM subscription information, click here.
On November 23, 2021, As-Sahab, the media arm of Al-Qaeda Central Command, released a video titled "Advice For The United
Ummah Concerning The Reality Of The United Nations," which features a speech delivered by the group's top leader, Ayman Al-Zawahiri.
In addition to the video, which included English subtitles, As-Sahab provided transcripts in English and Arabic. In its introduction to the video, the media group said about Al-Zawahiri "may Allah protect him," which jihadi media outlets often use to indicate that a person is alive.
This is Al-Zawahiri's first appearance since his speech on September 11 of this year, in which he mentioned events that confirmed he was alive at least until January 2021, despite reports in late October 2020 that he might be dead. On September 10, 2021, As-Sahab released a book authored by Al-Zawahiri and included an introduction dated April 2021.
The new video highlighted some international conflicts but no recent events were cited, providing no new evidence as to whether Al-Zawahiri was alive after January 2021.
However, it is worth noting that some excerpts of the speech coincide with efforts by the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, or the Afghan Taliban, to secure a seat in the UN.
In the 38-minute video, Al-Zawahiri sits in a studio facing a camera and appears to be in the same condition as in his September 11 speech. In the background is a map of the world with the UN logo.
He begins by addressing the Islamic nation, saying that in this speech he would like to "warn the Islamic nation about the threat that the United Nation poses."
Reviewing certain sections of the UN charter, including the International Declaration of Human Rights and UNESCO's activities, he points out what he perceives as the "UN's enmity for Muslims."
In his introduction, he argues that despite its "loud" claims to be an organization seeking to achieve international cooperation, the UN is an entity "created by the victorious powers in the Second World War with the aim of imposing a political system and doctrine on the entire world, and with a view to establish their hegemony over the rest of mankind."
UN Security Council Comprises Biggest Criminals On The Face Of The Earth
Criticizing the UN Security Council's structure and manner of operation, Al-Zawahiri says that "it consists of five permanent members who are the biggest criminals on the face of the earth, and no decision can be made without their approval."
He further explains that while decisions in the General Assembly are made on the basis of the majority, the Security Council supersedes the General Assembly. "The five permanent members enjoy a sacrosanct status above all, for they pull the strings in the UN. In other words, ignorance over ignorance over ignorance [...] And Allah has made it clear in His Book that any law other than His law is the law of ignorance."
In discussing the UN charter, Al-Zawahiri mentions some events – though not recent ones – as examples of how the charter contradicts Islamic laws, which provides no new evidence as to whether he was alive after January 2021.
"If a Muslim state were to recognize another Muslim state that gained freedom from the occupation of a UN member state, such as the recognition granted by the Islamic Emirate to the Mujahideen’s government in Chechnya, this would be considered unlawful as per the UN Charter. Likewise, if an Islamic government were to help the Mujahideen against a member state, for example, extending support to the Palestinian Mujahideen against Israel or to the Chechens against Russia or to the Somalis against Ethiopia or to the Malians against the French or the Syrians against Bashar's government, this would be considered a violation of the UN Charter."
A State That Signs The UN Charter Agrees To Unite Its Efforts With The Unbelievers
The video coincides with Afghan Taliban efforts to win international recognition and a seat at the UN, and Al-Zawahiri highlights that a state's membership in the UN is contingent on its abiding by the UN Charter.
"In other words, a state that signs the UN Charter agrees to unite its efforts with the disbelievers to fulfill these aims that conflict with the rulings of the shari'a," he says.
He further explains that the UN Charter clearly violates the Islamic shari'a, as "it grants equal rights to men and women, Muslims and unbelievers [...] And this opposes the Islamic shari'a which distinguishes between the rights of men and women, for each sex is entitled to different rights and bears different duties."
In his review of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Al-Zawahiri explains that it states that all the rights and freedoms are set forth without distinction of any kind – such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion – something which, he argues, opposes the shari'a, which does not consider unbelievers equals of Muslims. "I want to draw your attention once again to the fact that the irreligious and immoral victors of WWII sought to impose this belief system on people.
UNESCO Led Vicious Smear Campaign Against The Islamic Emirate
Discussing UNSECO and its activities, Al-Zawahiri recalls – in what some interpret as a nod to the Afghan Taliban – that "when the Islamic Emirate, during the era of Mullah Muhammad Omar (may Allah have mercy on him), decided to demolish the statues of the Buddha, UNESCO led a vicious smear campaign against the Emirate."
He adds that "UNESCO's director at the time, Shiro Motora, a Japanese Buddhist, demanded intervention from different states to stop the destruction of the statues. His delegation stayed in Afghanistan for over ten days so as to dissuade the Taliban government from destroying the Buddhas. UNESCO gathered 45 ministers of culture from different countries to highlight the 'plight' of these statues to generate pressure on the Taliban and save these statues from destruction."
UN Has Many Aspects Of Enmity For Islam
The top Al-Qaeda leader further accuses the UN of having many aspects of enmity for Islam and Muslims, among them its numerous conferences on women and population, such as the Cairo Conference in 1994, the Beijing Conference in 1995, the New York Conference in 2000, and other similar conferences. "In all these conferences, the UN promoted the spread of indecency such as fornication and homosexuality, late marriage, respect for prostitutes, encouragement of youth to engage in immorality before marriage and equal rights for men and women."
He provides other examples, including his claim that the "UN committed aggression against the Muslim Ummah by passing the resolution that divided Palestine in 1947. Later, Israel was granted the lion's share of Palestinian land via resolution 242, passed in 1967."
In Iraq, he argues, the UN sanctions impacted millions of Iraqi children, who died. Moreover, he argues that "the UN to this day ignores and denies the Kashmiris' self-determination, which was recognized as their right 60 years back," while "in the case of Afghanistan, the UN gathered the proxies of America in the Bonn Conference and supervised the rigged elections. Both before and during the war, the UN imposed sanctions on Afghanistan."
He concludes by saying that the UN is an organization that does not rule by Allah's shari'a, invites people to commit indecency and heresy, insults Islam and the Prophet of Islam, and commits aggression against Muslims, and he asks: "So how can a Muslim who holds his shari'a in high esteem [...] strives to forbid indecency and heresy [...] is sensitive about his religion and his Prophet and helps his Muslim brethren [...] how can he ever accept to become a part of such an organization? Have I conveyed? O Allah! Be my witness!"
 Telegram, Geo News, November 23, 2021.
 See MEMRI JTTM report On 20th Anniversary Of 9/11, Al-Qaeda Releases Video Possibly Indicating That Top Leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri Was Alive In April 2021 And Featuring Al-Zawahiri Promoting 'Jerusalem Will Never Be Judaized' Campaign, September 11, 2021.
 See MEMRI JTTM report On Eve of 9/11 Anniversary, Al-Qaeda Media Releases New Al-Zawahiri Book Dedicated To Slain Operatives, Including Taliban Leaders, But Refrains From Mentioning Leaders Still Alive, September 10, 2021
 The Taliban has recently announced that Suhail Shaheen is its ambassador to the UN.