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Americans urged to convert to Islam



Published: Sat, September 2, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



No terror threats were made in the video.

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) -- An American thought to be an al-Qaida activist appeared in a videotape with the terror group's deputy leader Saturday and called on his countrymen to convert to Islam and for U.S. soldiers to switch sides in the Iraq and Afghan wars.

The 48-minute video, posted on an Islamic militant Web site, had footage of al-Qaida's No. 2 leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, and of Adam Yehiye Gadahn, a 28-year-old American who the FBI believes attended al-Qaida training camps in Pakistan and served as an al-Qaida translator.

It was the second time Gadahn appeared in the same video with al-Zawahri. In a July 7 video marking the one-year anniversary of the terror attack on London commuters, Gadahn appeared briefly, saying no Muslim should "shed tears" for Westerners killed by al-Qaida attacks.

Increased role

But Saturday's video -- and the length of Gadahn's speech -- suggested al-Qaida has found in him someone who can directly address the American people in idiom they are familiar with.

Appearing days before the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks on the U.S., Gadahn spoke for nearly the entire video, wearing a white robe and a white turban, sitting in front of a desk with a computer and Islamic religious books in a room with a white wall.

The video included no direct threats of terror attacks.

Gadahn delivered a lecture on Islam and the "errors" in Christianity and Judaism. He also said the United States is losing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and told U.S. soldiers they are fighting President Bush's "crusades."

"Instead of killing yourself for Bush ... why not surrender to the truth [of Islam], escape from the unbelieving army and join the winning side. Time is running out, so make the right choice before it's too late," he said.

Al-Zawahri gave only a brief introduction to the video, calling on Americans to convert to Islam.

"To the American people and the people of the West in general ... God sent his prophet Muhammad with guidance and the religion of truth ... and sent him as a herald," he said.

The CIA said it had conducted a technical review on the videotape and concluded the voice is al-Zawahri's. A CIA spokeswoman said the agency is not authorized to conduct such analysis on U.S. citizens such as Gadahn.

White House spokeswoman Christie Parell said the message reflects al-Qaida's "continued attempts to subjugate the world under its twisted view of Islam, which labels as enemies and infidels those who do not have the same beliefs."

Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.




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