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Full bin Laden message posted on Web

Al Qaeda leader wants Danish cartoonists handed over

By Henry Schuster
CNN

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Osama bin Laden said the cartoon controversy was "too serious for an apology."

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(CNN) -- The complete version of Osama bin Laden's most recent audio message appeared Thursday on Islamist Web sites, four days after excerpts appeared on the Arabic language TV channel Al-Jazeera.

Al Qaeda's leader focused much of his almost 52-minute message on what he continually referred to as "a Zionist-crusader war on Islam," which he said was shown most explicitly by the Danish cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed.

Muslims consider it sacrilegious to produce a likeness of Mohammad, and the cartoons sparked violent protests throughout the Muslim world.

He said the cartoon controversy was "too serious for an apology" and was the most serious aspect of the alleged war against Islam.

The Web posting bore the logo of al Qaeda's al-Sahab production company and had English subtitles.

It also included the excerpts that aired Sunday in which bin Laden attacked the Western public for its support of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, blasted Western governments for cutting off aid to Hamas and called for jihad in the Sudanese region of Darfur.

After the message surfaced on Sunday, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said, "The al Qaeda leadership is on the run and under a lot of pressure.

"We are advancing, they are on the run, and we won't let up," he said. "We will prevail and it's important to use all tools at our disposal."

A day later, three terrorist bombings in the Egyptian Red Sea resort town of Dahab killed 18 people, including six non-Egyptians, and wounded 85 others, the Egyptian interior minister said. (Full story)

On Tuesday, al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi surfaced in a Web site video, defending the insurgent fight, exhorting followers to keep the faith and mocking the U.S.-led effort in Iraq. (Full story)

In bin Laden's message, he also cited a litany of other examples that he said show the Islamic world is under attack, ranging from the creation of Israel to what he called the slaughter of Muslims in places such as Palestine, Bosnia, Kashmir and Chechnya.

Defeating America in Iraq, he said, would end the attacks against Muslims.

"The axis and the mill of this war is located in Baghdad ... and they say over and over again that success in Baghdad is success for America and that their failure in Baghdad is failure for America," he said.

He called for the extradition of those responsible for drawing and publishing the cartoons to be tried by al Qaeda, just as he said the United States and United Nations had demanded he be turned over after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

"We demand that their governments hand them over to us to be judged by the law of Allah," he said.

"This request is from the category of treating in kind, and we say to you, if you have not forgotten, let us remind you that when you announced Osama bin Laden was accused of striking at American interests, you issued a [U.N.] Security Council resolution which was passed unanimously declaring the extradition of Osama was mandatory despite no evidence being provided," bin Laden said.

Al Qaeda has previously claimed responsibility for the 9/11 attacks.

Earlier in the tape, bin Laden quoted various Islamic lessons, known as hadiths, to make it clear he believed that anyone involved in creating and publishing the cartoons should be put to death.

He said a boycott of Danish products should be extended to include the United States and Western Europe, but that should not be seen as a substitute for punishing those responsible.

In a videotape broadcast in March, bin Laden's No. 2, Ayman al-Zawahiri, condemned the cartoons and blamed freedom of speech for "the insult against the Prophet Mohammed." (Full story)

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