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White House Condemns Zawahri's Obama Insult

  • VOA News

The White House has denounced an al-Qaida message containing a racial insult for U.S. President-elect Barack Obama, calling it "despicable and pathetic."

An administration spokeswoman (Dana Perino) said the terror group's first reaction to Mr. Obama's election is a reminder of the kind of people the United States is dealing with.

In a posting on a militant Web site Wednesday, a voice identified as al-Qaida's second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahri, refers to Mr. Obama in Arabic as a "house slave." The posting's English caption translates it as "house Negro," a phrase once used to refer to blacks co-opted by whites.

Zawahri also insults other prominent African Americans -- Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former Secretary of State Colin Powell.

There was no immediate reaction from Mr. Obama's transition team.

The personal attacks also include a rebuke of Mr. Obama for turning his back on his father's Muslim roots.


The al-Qaida recording says Mr. Obama's support of Israel confirms his hostility toward Islam.

Zawahri also says President-elect Obama's plan to increase the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan is doomed.

Mr. Obama has said he will return America's military focus to Afghan insurgents and the fight against al-Qaida, after what the president-elect has called the distraction of Iraq.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security says the al-Qaida posting held no indications of an increased threat against the United States.

Experts in terrorism say the message may have been prompted by concerns within the terrorist network that the election of Barack Obama could undercut efforts by al-Qaida to gain support. They say Mr. Obama's message of change is being heard in other countries, and the fact that he is a son of a Muslim father is raising hopes in the developing world.

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