Al Qaeda leader's call to kidnap Westerners for jailed jihadists may cause new global alarm
Zawahiri also expressed support for Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood in the recorded interview released to media outlets this weekend (File Archive/AFP)
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Al Qaeda leader Ayman Al Zawahiri has urged his followers to use Western kidnappings as a tactic to encourage the release of jailed jihadists, according to Reuters this weekend.
In a tape that was released to the media, Zawahiri stated, ""I ask Allah the Glorious to help us set free Dr. Omar Abdel-Rahman and the rest of the captive Muslims, and I ask Allah to help us capture from among the Americans and the Westerners to enable us to exchange them for our captives."
Abdel-Rahman is an Egyptian cleric who was convicted in 1995 for conspiring to attack the U.N. and other landmarks in New York City. He is now serving a life sentence in the United States.
Zawahiri also "expressed solidarity with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt" in the tape as well as with rebels fighting against the Assad regime in Syria.
"The duty on every Muslims is to deter the aggressor by any means, and especially the oppressed Muslims," he said, in reference to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.
In terms of Syria, Zawahiri addressed the divides among the opposition fighting Assad: "The Ummah (Muslim world) must support this jihad with all that it can, and the mujahideen (Islamist militants) must unite around the word of Tawhid (unity). So everyone should prioritize the interest of Islam and the Ummah over his organizational or partisans interest, even if he gives up for his brothers what he sees as right."
Al Qaeda officially broke with the Islamic State of the Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) which is considered one of the most extreme Islamist opposition groups operating in Syria after the group refused to limit itself to fighting in Iraq since the Al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front is already fighting in Syria on the behalf of the global extremist organization.