Zawahiri calls for 'cleansing' Maghreb of France
20 September 2007, DUBAI (AFP) - Al-Qaeda number two Ayman al-Zawahiri has called for Iberia to be restored to the Islamic world, saying the first step needs to be the 'cleansing' of Spaniards and French from the Maghreb.
20 September 2007
DUBAI (AFP) - Al-Qaeda number two Ayman al-Zawahiri has called for Iberia to be restored to the Islamic world, saying the first step needs to be the 'cleansing' of Spaniards and French from the Maghreb.
Zawahiri was speaking in an 81-minute documentary-style video entitled "The Power of Truth" made public on Thursday by the US-based SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors Islamist websites.
"O our Muslim Ummah (community) in the Maghreb of ribat and jihad (land of resistance and holy war): restoring Al-Andalus is a trust on the shoulders of the Ummah in general and on your shoulders in particular," he said.
"You will not be able to do that without first cleansing the Maghreb of Islam of the children of France and Spain."
Muslim Moorish forces coming from northern Africa conquered most of what are modern Spain and Portugal, and even parts of southern France, beginning in the 8th century, calling the region Al-Andalus.
Christian forces gradually regained their lost territories over the subsequent centuries, with the last Moors being expelled from Spain in 1492.
In the modern period, the tables were reversed, with France and Spain carving out colonies in what is now Morocco. Both withdrew in the 1950s, though Spain retained the enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla on the Mediterranean coast.
France also had colonies in neighbouring Algeria and Tunisia, withdrawing from there in the 1960s.
A claim made by more radical Muslim thinkers, including those of Al-Qaeda, is that once a territory has come under Muslim rule, it remains forever a part of the Ummah.
Zawahiri's call for the reconquest of Al-Andalus is not the first of such demands.
While Morocco is now independent, it is increasingly popular as an investment site by both Spanish and French interests, especially in the property sector, with holiday home communities springing up along the coast.
Al-Qaeda has stepped up operations in the Maghreb region via its Algerian offshoot, the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), which vowed in April to "retake Al-Andalus."
Subject: French news