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Al-Qaeda planned message to convert Ireland to Islam

A letter by Al-Qaeda’s American spokesman says Ireland was ripe for conversion because of its ‘sympathy’ for Palestine.

Letters written by Adam Gadahn (pictured) to Osama bin Laden outline how Gadahn planned a message to Ireland, hoping to convert it to Islam.
Letters written by Adam Gadahn (pictured) to Osama bin Laden outline how Gadahn planned a message to Ireland, hoping to convert it to Islam.
Image: AP

AL-QAEDA’S MAIN SPOKESMAN in the United States was preparing a message to the people of Ireland in an attempt to encourage the country to convert to Islam, new documents have revealed.

A series of documents seized during the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, which have been published by the Combating Terrorism Center, include a letter to bin Laden written by Adam Gadahn outlining his attempts to convert Europe.

“I was… starting to prepare a message to the Irish,” the translated letter, dated August 2010, reads.

This was after I noticed the sympathy of the Irish people to the Palestinian issue, and the soft treatment by the Irish Judicial system of the Muslims accused of terrorism, and also not participating with its troops in Bush’s Crusade wars (although it is participating within the European Union forces in training the Somali army).

Gadahn’s letter also discusses how the combined traumas of the economic collapse and the Church’s clerical abuse scandals had affected Ireland.

“What helped to prepare the message was the last economic crisis that affected Ireland a lot, thus forcing its youth to look for sources of living in the outside,” Gadahn wrote.

“The other matter is the increasing anger in Ireland towards the Catholic Church after exposing a number of sex scandals and others.

The people there are moving towards secularism, after it was the most religious of atheist Europe, and why do not we face them with Islam?

Any plans to issue a note to the people of Ireland – and also to Catholics in the Arab region – was upset by a raid on a Catholic Church in Baghdad by the Islamic State of Iraq, a militant group linked to Al-Qaeda and regularly referred to simply as ‘Al-Qaeda in Iraq’.

This attack halted me, and I thought twice about my two project messages. As actions are more effective than words, their act and the contacts they carried during the attack, and the statement they issued later, do not help to gain people’s sympathy.

Elsewhere, the documents outline how Bin Laden had considered changing the name of the organisation – which is formally titled ‘Qa’ida al-Jihad’ – because the name had come to be considered as a body outside of the teachings of Islam.

“This is what was raised repeatedly in the past as indicated by Obama, that our war is not on Islam or on the Muslim people, but rather our war is on the al-Qaida organisation,” bin Laden had written.

“So if the word al-Qaida was derived from, or had strong ties to, the word Islam or Muslims, or if it had the name ‘Islamic party’, it would be difficult for Obama to say that.”

Bin Laden also suggested that the name had come to depict a military-only organisation, which had ultimately detracted from its overall aim of ‘unifying the nation’, and proposed ten alternative names for other group leaders to consider.

In full: The documents released by the United States (PDF)

Read: USA had concerns over Dublin-based Muslim think tank – WikiLeaks

More: US court rules against release of dead bin Laden photos

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About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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