Sunday, June 26, 2011

Laden and al-Qaeda

Laden weighed name change for al-Qaeda

Osama bin Laden was so worried about al-Qaeda's image that he proposed changing the group's name to try improve its "brand," a US official said Friday.

In a letter found at his Pakistani compound, Bin Laden debated the name change because he was unhappy that the original name of his group -- al-Qaeda al-Jihad, or The Base of Holy War -- had been widely referred to only as al-Qaeda, dropping the reference to religious war, the US official said.

"It was sort of like brand-imaging," the official said.

Bin Laden's proposals for alternative names were not exactly dynamic.

He suggested possibly Taifat al-Tawhed Wal-Jihad, or Monotheism and Jihad Group, and Jama'at I'Adat al-Khilafat al-Rashida, translated as Restoration of the Caliphate Group, the official said.

"What he was being frustrated by was that most people were seeing the fight against al-Qaeda for what it really is -- it's an effort stop a violent organisation not a war on religion," he said. "That bothered him."

It was not clear who the letter was addressed to or whether or not it was delivered, but the document appeared to be written in the last couple of years "based on the context of it," according to the official.

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