December 31, 2004 Special Dispatch No. 837

Osama Bin Laden to the Iraqi People:It Is Forbidden to Participate in Iraqi & PA Elections; Jihad in Palestine and Iraq is Incumbent upon Residents of All Muslim Countries, Not Just Iraqis and Palestinians; Zarqawi is the Commander of Al-Qa'ida in Iraq

December 31, 2004
Iraq | Special Dispatch No. 837

On December 27, the Al-Sahab Institute for Media Productions, known to be the institute that distributes Al-Qa'ida's videocassettes, published Osama bin Laden's letter "To the Muslims in Iraq in Particular and The [Islamic] Nation in General." Approximately two minutes of the tape aired on Al-Jazeera – the full tape is over one hour long. The following are excerpts from the main points: [1]

Islam's War on the West

The conflict with the West is "a fateful war between unbelief and Islam, between the army of Muhammad, the army of belief, and the people of the cross…

"The important, tremendous, and dangerous issue today in the entire world is this Third World War, started by the Crusader-Zionist coalition against the Islamic nation."

Bush's Deeds Are Worse than Saddam's

"What is the difference between the massacre by the tyrant Saddam [Hussein] at Halabja and the massacre by Bush at Fallujah? If Saddam killed there [at Halabja] a few thousand of our Kurdish brothers in the name of the odious nationalism, the pharaoh of this era [i.e. Bush] killed only at Fallujah a few thousand, and wounded and crippled twice as many, in addition to expelling and terrifying hundreds of thousands – and all this in the name of the bloodthirsty Zionist Crusade."

The UN is an Atheist Organization of Infidel Countries

According to bin Laden, the UN is "an organization of infidel [countries] that shapes the nature of the relations between the lords of the veto, headed by America, and the slaves of the General Assembly, and then speaks mendaciously and distortingly of justice, equality, and freedom."

Jihad in Palestine and Iraq is Incumbent upon the Residents of All Muslim Countries

Bin Laden criticized the Muslim clerics who argue that Jihad in Iraq and in the Palestinian territories is a commandment incumbent only upon the local residents of these lands. He said that "the Jihad in Palestine and in Iraq is a personal duty incumbent upon the residents of the two countries [alone] – [but] if they are unable to carry it out, [this duty] is incumbent upon [the residents of the] adjacent [countries], and so on and so forth, until the circle includes all the Muslim countries…

"When there is blatant helplessness in Palestine and Iraq, Jihad [becomes] a personal duty incumbent upon those around them, such as the residents of Saudi Arabia, Syria, Jordan, Turkey, Iran, and Kuwait, and if [they are also] unable to carry it out, the duty is incumbent upon those around them… Refraining from personal Jihad is the most salient trait of the hypocrites."

Aiding America, the Allawi Government, or Abu Mazen's Government Is Apostasy

"Aiding America, or the Allawi government [in Iraq] which is apostate [Murtada], or the Karzai government [in Afghanistan], or the Mahmoud Abbas government [in the Palestinian Authority] which is apostate, or the other apostate governments in their war against the Muslims, is the greatest apostasy of all, and amounts to abandonment of the Muslim community.

"[This category] includes owners and employees of companies that transfer petroleum, weapons, supplies, or other commodities. Anyone who aids them in any way is an apostate and he must be fought…"

According to bin Laden, such actions do not constitute civil war, and even the Prophet Muhammad fought his own tribe for the sake of the principle of "there is no God but Allah."

Further, bin Laden states that ethnic affiliation is of no importance in this battle: "The Iraqi who wages Jihad against the infidel Americans or against the apostate Allawi government is our brother and ally – whether he is Persian, Kurdish, or Turkmen. [In contrast], the Iraqi who joins this apostate government [i.e. the Allawi government] and fights the Jihad warriors and those resisting the [foreign] occupation is considered an apostate and an infidel, even if he belongs to the [ancient] Arab tribes of Rabi'ah or Mudar."

The Blood of the Iraqi Security Forces Is Permitted

"Personnel of the [Iraqi] military, security apparatuses, and national guard … their blood is permitted. They are apostates who should not be prayed over upon their deaths. They cannot inherit, and they must not be inherited from [after their deaths]. Their wives are divorced from them, and they must not be buried in Muslim cemeteries."

Participation in the Iraqi or Palestinian Elections Is Apostasy

"Muslims must beware of these kinds of elections. They must unite around the Jihad warriors and those who resist the occupiers." He continued, "Anyone who participates in these elections … has committed apostasy against Allah."

According to bin Laden, the elections of princes or presidents is "the right of the [Islamic] nation." However, this right is limited to particular circumstances, the most important of which is that "the prince [elected] is a Muslim, and he will institute Islam, that is, Islam is the only source of the rulings and laws."

Bin Laden explained that participation in these elections is apostasy because the Iraqi constitution is "a Jahiliyya [2] constitution that is made by man" and because "the elections are ordered by America, under their airplanes, bombs, and tanks."

On the elections in the Palestinian Authority, he said, "The land is under occupation, the constitution of the land is a Jahili [pre-Islamic constitution] made by man … and the candidate Mahmoud Abbas is a Bahai who was brought in … under the Oslo Accords."

Zarqawi Is the Commander [Amir] of Al-Qa'ida in Iraq

"The warrior commander [and] honored comrade Abu Mus'ab Al-Zarqawi and the groups who joined him are the best of the community that is fighting for the sake of the word of Allah. Their courageous operations against the Americans and against the apostate Allawi government have gladdened us…

"We in the Al-Qa'ida organization very much welcome their union with us. This is a tremendous step on the path to the unification of the efforts fighting for the establishment of a State of Truth and for the uprooting of the State of the Lie…

"Know that the warrior comrade Abu Mus'ab Al-Zarqawi is the commander [Amir] of the Al-Qa'ida organization in the land of the Tigris and the Euphrates, and the comrades in the organization there must obey him."

Bin Laden stated in his speech that "the expenses of the Al-Qa'ida organization in Iraq reach €200,000 per week."

Oil Pipelines Must be Attacked; Company Owners in Islamic Countries Must be Assassinated

Bin Laden said: "I call upon you to attack reinforcement lines and oil [pipe]lines, to sow powerful mines … and to assassinate the owners of companies aiding the needs of the enemy, whether in Riyadh, Kuwait, Jordan, Turkey, or other [countries]."

[1] The full version of the speech can be found at, and MEMRI possesses an audio recording of this message.

[2] Jahiliyya - the pre-Islamic era.

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