CAIRO,Egypt (al-AP) – Al-Qaida No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahri insulted Barack Obama in the terror group’s first reaction to his election, calling him a demeaning racial term implying that the president-elect is a black American who does the bidding of whites.
The message appeared chiefly aimed at persuading Muslims and Arabs that Obama does not represent a change in U.S. policies. Al-Zawahri said in the message, which appeared on militant Web sites Wednesday, that Obama is “the direct opposite of honorable black Americans” like Malcolm X, the 1960s African-American rights leader.
Al-Zawahri also called Obama—along with secretaries of state Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice—”house negroes.” Speaking in Arabic, al-Zawahri uses the term “abeed al-beit,” which literally translates as “house slaves.” But al-Qaida supplied English subtitles of his speech that included the translation as “house negroes.”
The message also includes old footage of speeches by Malcolm X in which he explains the term, saying black slaves who worked in their white masters’ house were more servile than those who worked in the fields. Malcolm X used the term to criticize black leaders he accused of not standing up to whites.