Bin Laden Wanted to Recruit Non-Muslims in US
But obsession with America grated on some in al-Qaeda
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 12, 2011 10:21 AM CDT
In this Dec. 24, 1998 file photo, al-Qaida leader Osama Bin Laden speaks to a selected group of reporters in the mountains of Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan.   (AP Photo/Rahimullah Yousafzai, File)

(Newser) – Osama bin Laden wasn’t picky about the religious affiliation of his holy warriors. In the documents uncovered in the raid on his compound, officials have found messages urging followers to recruit non-Muslims “who are oppressed in the United States,” citing African Americans and Latinos as potential targets, according to a Washington Post report. But these calls didn’t appear to amount to much beyond a few scattered appeals to those minorities.

“Their recruiting has been extremely passive,” says one US intelligence official. “It’s not like they have talent scouts at mosques in the United States.” The documents also reveal that bin Laden’s obsession with the US grated on many al-Qaeda fighters who were more interested in staging attacks in less risky places, like Yemen and Algeria, and didn’t want to provoke a US response. None of the documents are encrypted, which in itself reveals something: “Bin Laden got lazy and complacent,” says one official.