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Bin Laden 'in jihad call' - paper

Bin Laden
Bin Laden: Message carried his "trademark secret signature," the London-based newspaper said.

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LONDON, England (CNN) -- Osama bin Laden has called for Muslims across the world to set aside their differences in the "blessed and thankful jihad," a London-based Arabic-language newspaper has reported.

Bin Laden allegedly made the appeal in a 26-page letter intended to serve as the preface of a book called "The Islamic Deed Between the Calling of Community and the Calling for Conflict," the newspaper, Al-Sharq Al Awsat, reported on Sunday.

The Saudi-owned newspaper said it obtained the letter from the Islamic Centre for Studies and Research in Pakistan, an organisation it said speaks on al Qaeda's behalf.

The newspaper said it received the letter, signed with bin Laden's "trademark secret signature," four days prior to publishing an article about it Sunday.

There was no immediate word from western sources as to the chance of the message being authentic.

In the letter, the writer said he was surprised by the extent of differences among Muslims.

"If... there is danger in the difference of opinion and... loss of unity..., then there is an obligation of the remaining groups to remain united and keep the course," bin Laden wrote, the article said.

The writer added that his letter "enters the blessed and thankful jihad by highlighting the importance of unity and the elimination of division of opinion and unity."

The article quoted bin Laden as saying, "When will Muslims wake up from their long sleep and when will they distinguish between their friend and enemy?"

It added, "When will they direct their own arrows that they use to fight each other to their external enemy that steals and loots its fortunes and its resources?"

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