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Sunday, 4 November, 2001, 12:07 GMT
Bin Laden video 'shows desperation'
Osama Bin Laden in recorded video address on al-Jazeera TV
Bin Laden's whereabouts are still unknown
Britain and the US have dismissed the latest recorded video message by Osama Bin Laden as an act of desperation which would isolate him from moderate Muslims.

The Saudi-born dissident, who is hiding in Afghanistan, accused Muslims supporting the US-led "anti-terror" campaign of betraying their faith, and called for a holy war to defend the Afghan people.


It is evidence of Osama bin Laden's total isolation and his desperation

British minister Peter Hain

White House spokeswoman Anne Womack said: "This is more propaganda that shows how isolated Bin Laden is from the rest of the world."

The Secretary General of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, echoed these criticisms, saying Bin Laden did not speak for the Arab or Muslim people.

Mr Moussa, attending an Arab League meeting in Damascus, said Arab leaders considered the anti-terror campaign necessary to prevent more violent attacks.

UN 'crimes'

In the address, broadcast by the Arabic-language television channel al-Jazeera, Osama bin Laden also sharply criticised the United Nations and denounced the UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, as a criminal.

Bin Laden, chief suspect in the 11 September attacks on the US, also denounced as "infidels" Arab leaders who co-operated with the UN.

Bin Laden supporters, Peshawar
Crowds of Bin Laden supporters have demonstrated in Pakistan
He said the conflict in Afghanistan was "primarily a religious war" between Christianity and Islam.

Condemning US President George Bush's "crusade," he said "it is a certain fact that Bush carried the cross high... Whoever stands behind Bush has committed an act that stands as annulment of their Islam".

Editors at al-Jazeera say the tape was delivered to their offices in the Afghan capital Kabul.

It is the fifth statement they have received from Bin Laden's al-Qaeda organisation since the beginning of October - most of them in the form of pre-recorded videotapes - but only the second featuring Bin Laden himself.

Muslim nervousness

The video's release came amid fresh signs of nervousness in the Muslim world at the bombing campaign, which is about to enter its fifth week.

Pakistani leader General Pervez Musharraf, a key ally in the campaign against Afghanistan, said "very serious consideration" should be given to a pause in the bombing during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

President George W Bush has ruled that out.

He said on Friday: "The enemy won't rest during Ramadan and neither will we."

Al-Qaeda spokesman Sulaiman Abu Ghaith in a recorded video statement
An al-Qaeda spokesman previously praised the 11 September attacks

Bin Laden said there was no evidence linking Afghanistan to the 11 September attacks on the United States.

"The entire West, with the exception of a few countries, supports this unfair, barbaric campaign, although there is no evidence of the involvement of the people of Afghanistan in what happened in

"The people of Afghanistan had nothing to do with this matter. The campaign, however, continues to unjustly annihilate villagers and civilians: children, women, and innocent people," he said.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Emil Petrie
"Bin Laden said any Muslim who backs the US was a sinner"
Arab League's Secretary General, Amr Moussa
"Osama Bin Laden does not speak for the Arab Muslim people: he has his own ideas"
See also:

03 Nov 01 | Media reports
Bin Laden rails against Crusaders and UN
11 Oct 01 | Americas
US TV limits Bin Laden coverage
10 Oct 01 | Middle East
TV station defends Bin Laden coverage
04 Oct 01 | Americas
US urges curb on Arab TV channel
08 Oct 01 | Media reports
Al-Jazeera goes it alone
10 Oct 01 | Middle East
In full: Al-Qaeda statement
03 Nov 01 | Middle East
Bin Laden popular in Saudi Arabia
18 Sep 01 | South Asia
Who is Osama Bin Laden?
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