A letter from Osama bin Laden prior to his death has revealed that the al-Qaida leader was convinced the name of his terror organization was a serious problem, and he even suggested alternative titles.
A letter recovered from his compound in Pakistan indicates he thought al-Qieda had taken a bad rap for killing too many Muslims.
The disclosure also reveals how the extremist leader worried that the name “al-Qaida” suggested nothing about the holy jihad for Muslims, and he wanted to remind Muslims they were in a holy war with America.
Bin Laden highlighted this as a major reason why America and its allies were winning the battle of semantics against them. He insisted that his enemies could “claim deceptively that they are not at war with Islam”.
His proposals to rebrand al-Qaida were made in a letter to one of his deputies, which was found inside the compound bin Laden was hiding in when he was killed by U.S. navy seals last month.
The letter stood out among a number that White House officials described this week. President Obama insisted that the documents show the “enormous strain” al-Qaida is under.
One of bin Laden’s suggested alternatives for al-Qaida was “Taifat al-Tawhed Wal-Jihad”, which means the “Monotheism and Jihad Group”. Another was “Jama’at l’Adat al-Khilafat al-Rashida”, which means “Restoration of the Caliphate Group.”
The find also seems to indicate that bin Laden’s men had at least indirect contact with Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI), although no specific evidence of ISI support for al-Qaida has been found.
On a cell phone belonging to one of bin Laden’s couriers the telephone numbers of a number of members of “Harakat al-Mujahidin” were found. Harakat al-Mujahidin is a group with close ties to the ISI.
Calls were traced from bin Laden’s couriers to certain Harakat commanders, and those commanders were found to have also had calls with ISI officials.