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Purported bin Laden message focuses on relief, development

From Caroline Faraj, CNN
A video purportedly featuring Osama bin Laden's voice shows his photo interspersed with images of disaster zones.
A video purportedly featuring Osama bin Laden's voice shows his photo interspersed with images of disaster zones.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The speaker addresses relief work
  • The message is more than 11 minutes
  • The speaker talks of climate change effects

(CNN) -- A message purportedly from al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is urging Muslims to tackle famine, flood relief, the effects of climate change and clean water -- stark problems plaguing parts of the Islamic world.

The message, which appeared on jihadist forums Friday, strongly urged Muslims to help Muslims by investing in infrastructure projects and developing awareness programs, such as how to deal with issues like water pollution.

"Sending tents and medicine is necessary, but the catastrophe is bigger and way more than what it being offered in terms of quantity, quality and timing," said the message, which shunned the usual talk of jihadi issues and the United States,

"We need a big transitional change in the way we act in the relief effort."

The speaker started the message by wishing the Muslim world a happy Ramadan, which fell between early August and early September, and he also focused on the floods in Pakistan.

The speech, entitled, "Pauses with the Method of Relief Work," came in an 11 minute, 39 second video produced by al-Qaeda's media arm, as-Sahab.

Video: Gibbs responds

CNN could not verify the authenticity of the message.

The video featured a still photo of bin Laden with alternating images of people in disaster zones receiving aid over the voice of the speaker.

When discussing Pakistan, the speaker called on wealthy Muslims to assist others, such as those suffering from famine in Africa and floods in Pakistan. He mentioned Sudan, Yemen, Chad, Somalia and called on Muslims to consider development projects.

He pointed out that countries in the region are spending millions on the military and are making relief matters secondary.

"If they had spent 1 percent of what they had allocated as their budget, in a wise and honest way, we would have witnessed a change in the areas where the poor people live, and their situation would have improved accordingly," the speaker said. When mentioning money, he used euros and not dollars

The speaker said the effects of climate change need to be studied in populated areas near rivers and valleys in Muslim nations, and cited what happened recently when flooding hit the Saudi city of Jeddah. He mentioned the need for other projects to tackle famine, poverty, and disaster relief.

"Several studies say that if anything happen to one of the major countries producing wheat and stopped the country from exporting it a lot of people in the world and especially in our region will enter a famine" and therefore, the money will not help in lifting or stopping the starvation between the people, because the bread is not available."

He cites Sudan as a country with agricultural lands that are going unused.

"The merchants are the champions of this stage for saving their nation from the famine," he said, encouraging traders and merchants to invest in Africa.

A purported bin Laden tape surfaced in March. The voice on that tape hints at retaliation if alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is executed.

CNN's Caroline Faraj contributed to this report

 
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