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Bin Laden criticizes United Nations in new video

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) _ Osama bin Laden condemned Arab leaders who turn to the United Nations for peace negotiations, saying in a videotape broadcast Saturday that this amounts to a renunciation of Islam.

``They are infidels,'' said bin Laden, whom the United States believes was behind the Sept. 11 terror attacks on New York and Washington that killed thousands of people.

``Those who claim they are the leaders of Arabs and are still in the United Nations have renounced the message of Muhammad. Those who resort to international legitimacy are renouncing the legitimacy of the holy book and the legacy of the Prophet Muhammad,'' he said.

Al-Jazeera television, based in the Gulf emirate of Qatar, said the video was delivered to its office in Kabul, Afghanistan's capital.

There was no indication of when the tape was made, according to Ali al-Kaabi, Al-Jazeera news coordinator in Qatar. He said the tape was delivered recently but he said not know exactly when.

Bin Laden's statement appeared to be aimed at Arab leaders who have called for international efforts to end the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Bin Laden made only brief references to Afghanistan in the 20-minute videotape.

``The whole West is supporting this unjust, ferocious campaign'' against Afghanistan, bin Laden said. ``No evidence proves that what happened in America (is related to) the people of Afghanistan, and the people of Afghanistan have nothing to do with this, but the campaign is going on, exterminating civilians including children, women and innocents.''

The United States is attacking Afghanistan in an attempt to dislodge the Taliban regime, which is providing bin Laden and his al-Qaida network a safe haven.

While American officials have stressed their campaign is aimed at terrorists, not at Muslims, bin Laden tried to argue just the opposite.

``Muslims should understand the nature of this struggle, and the truth about this struggle, so they can decide in which ranks they stand.

``In essence, this war is a religious war,'' he said.

``This is a matter of belief and ideology, not like (President) Bush and (British Prime Minister Tony) Blair paint it as a war against terrorism.''

Bin Laden wore a white turban and scarf with a black-and-green camouflage jacket. An automatic rifle stood at his left side as he gestured with his right hand in front of a plain brown backdrop.

He spoke calmly, pointing a finger at the camera as he made his points. However, he sometimes appeared to be breathing heavily. He interrupted his speech to take two sips from a cup.

``Those who take our tragedies today and want to solve them in the United Nations are hypocrites, deceiving God and his prophet and deceiving the believers,'' he said.

In reference to the United Nations, bin Laden asked: ``Who was responsible for the partition of Palestine in 1947?''

On Nov. 29, 1947, the U.N. General Assembly approved the partition of Palestine, which allowed the creation of the state of Israel.

``Today, without any evidence, the United Nations issues decisions supporting the oppressive, tyrannical and arrogant America against those oppressed who have emerged from a ferocious war at the hands of the Soviet Union,'' he said, referring to the Afghan struggle against the Soviet occupation of 1979-89.

In a statement that would appeal to his supporters in Pakistan, bin Laden referred to Muslims fighting against India in the border province of Kashmir.

``Our brothers in Kashmir, since more than 50 years have been subjected to the worst tortures _ slaughtered, murdered, their honor, blood and houses have been transgressed, and the United Nations doesn't lift a finger,'' he said.

The video shown Saturday was the fifth communique from bin Laden or his al-Qaida organization that Al-Jazeera has broadcast since the U.S.-led airstrikes against Afghanistan began Oct. 7. Four were videos of bin Laden or his spokesmen. The other, shown Thursday, was a handwritten letter bearing what Al-Jazeera said was bin Laden's signature.
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