Here’s a golden opportunity for Ibrahim Hooper, Salam al-Marayati, and all other American Muslim spokesmen to issue a stern rebuke to al-Zawahri, condemning both Hamas and Al-Qaeda as terrorist groups and declaring that civilians in Israel are indeed innocent, as jihadists have denied, and thus must not be targeted. Ibrahim? Salam? Anyone? Anyone?
“Al-Qaida leader urges support for Hamas,” by Maggie Michael for Associated Press (thanks to Sr. Soph):
CAIRO, Egypt – Al-Qaida’s deputy leader called on Muslims worldwide to back Hamas with weapons, money and attacks on U.S. and Israeli interests, urging the Palestinian militant group on Monday to unite with al-Qaida after its takeover of Gaza.
The Internet audio message from Ayman al-Zawahri, who is Osama bin Laden’s top deputy, marked a major shift by al-Qaida, which in the past criticized Hamas for joining a government with the U.S.-supported Fatah faction.
The audiotape appeared aimed at exploiting Hamas’ gains and could fuel fears among Arab countries that Hamas-run Gaza will become a breeding ground for armed extremists.
But Hamas appeared unconfortable Monday with al-Zawahri’s approach. The Palestinian group has been cool in the past to attempts to link it with al-Qaida, saying its conflict is with Israel and that it has no plans to attack targets abroad. Also, Hamas does not want to alienate powerful Arab countries, such as Egypt.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri, a hardliner, distanced his group from the al-Qaida deputy’s comments, but stopped short of criticizing them.
“Hamas has its own program, regardless of the comments of this group or that group,” he said Monday. “In Hamas, we want to have good relations with all Arab and Muslim powers, regardless of how close or far away we are in our own programs.”