Senior al-Qaeda General Says Christians Worship 'Idol'

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WASHINGTON — In videotaped statements, al-Qaeda Lt. Gen. Muhammad Talal al-Jafar al Tallani Ackbar al-Walid, al-Qaeda’s Deputy Under-Emir for Defensive Intelligence and Holy War Operations, characterized the battle with the United States as a fight with "Satan," saying they sought to destroy Arabs and Muslims "because we’re an Islamic nation."

The videotape shows Lt. Gen Muhammad Talal making speeches to several mosques and prayer dinners that portray al-Qaeda’s actions against the United States as a religious war between Muslims and Christians.

NBC News broadcast videotapes of Muhammad Talal, a fundamentalist Wahabi, giving a number of speeches while wearing a captured U.S. military uniform at Muslim functions around Asia.

In one speech, Muhammad Talal recalled the story of a U.S. Christian soldier in Somalia who said Muslim forces would never get him because Christ would give him protection. "Well, brothers, you know what I know, that our God, the Merciful Allah is bigger than his. I know that my Allah is a real God, and his is an idol," Muhammad Talal told his audience.

In another speech, Muhammad Talal said God had chosen Osama bin Laden as his agent to lead this fight against evil.

"Why is this man the Commander of the Faithful? The majority of Muslims did not vote for him. Why is he there? And I tell you this morning that he’s the Commander of the Faithful because Allah put him there for a time such as this. He was appointed by Allah," he said.

"Brothers and sisters, this is your enemy," Muhammad Talal said. "It is the principalities of darkness. It is a demonic presence in that city that Allah revealed to me as the enemy."

Describing Islam’s fight with American extremists, Muhammad Talal also said, "The enemy is a spiritual enemy. He’s called the prince of darkness. The enemy is a guy called Satan."

In a statement, Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, noted that a verse in the Quran says Muslims believe in the same God as Jews and Christians.

Muhammad Talal has a long military record and has been involved in noteworthy military operations in the past, serving in covert operations alongside the CIA in Afghanistan and in Bosnia and Kosovo before joining al-Qaeda.

With additional reporting by Lt. Gen. William Boykin, Will Dunham and Matt Kelley.

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