Osama Wanted to Rebrand Al-Qaeda

He wanted it to sound more religious
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 24, 2011 9:15 AM CDT
Osama bin Laden Wanted to Change the Name of al-Qaeda
A Pakistani Islamist holds a poster of Osama bin Laden during a protest on the outskirts of Quetta on May 6, 2011.   (Getty Images)

If Osama bin Laden had lived much longer, al-Qaeda might have pulled a Blackwater and renamed itself. In one of his last letters, the arch-terrorist lamented that al-Qaeda had gotten a bad name from killing so many Muslims, the AP reports. Sounding like nothing so much as a CEO in the midst of a PR crisis, he suggested changing the group’s name to something more overtly religious.

He was annoyed that the group’s full name—al-Qaeda al-Jihad—was usually shortened to leave out the jihad part, which allowed the West to “claim deceptively that they are not at war with Islam.” He tossed out alternatives like “Taifat al-Tawhed Wal-Jihad” meaning “Monotheism and Jihad Group,” or “Jama’at l’Adat al-Khilafat al-Rashida,” meaning “Restoration of the Caliphate Group.” Bin Laden also lamented how many of his trusted commanders had been killed—and that he barely knew their replacements. Click to read about the suspicious contacts on his courier's phone. (Read more Osama bin Laden stories.)

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