Al-Qaida’s No. 2 leader Ayman al-Zawahri posted a video message on militant Web sites Wednesday in which he referred to President-elect Barack Obama as “abeed al-beit,” which literally translates as “house slave.”
The 11-minute 23-second video, al-Qaida’s first response to Obama’s victory, appeared chiefly aimed at persuading Muslims and Arabs that Obama does not represent a change in U.S. policies.
Ayman al-Zawahri said in the message that Obama is “the direct opposite of honorable black Americans” like Malcolm X, and grouped the president-elect along with secretaries of state Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice into the category of “house slaves.” But, al-Qaida supplied English subtitles of his speech included the translation as “house Negroes.”
The video also includes old footage of speeches by Malcolm X in which he explains the term, saying black slaves who worked in their white masters’ house were more servile than those who worked in the fields. Malcolm X used the term to criticize black leaders he accused of not standing up to whites.
The clip features a still photo of al-Zawahri along with his audio message. Other images displayed include one of Obama wearing a Jewish skullcap as he meets with Jewish leaders.
“America has put on a new face, but its heart full of hate, mind drowning in greed, and spirit which spreads evil, murder, repression and despotism continue to be the same as always,” said al-Zawahri, the deputy of al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden. He said Obama’s plan to shift troops to Afghanistan is doomed to fail, because Afghans will resist.
“Be aware that the dogs of Afghanistan have found the flesh of your soldiers to be delicious, so send thousands after thousands to them,” he said.