Al-Qaeda released a new video criticizing and threatening France for its alleged blasphemy, domestic “crackdown” on Islam, military interventions in Muslim lands, and support for oppressive governments abroad. The 42-minute-long production, released through the organization’s central propaganda outlet As-Sahab Media, is titled “An Unpardonable Crime” and is primarily focused on caricatures of the Prophet illustrated by French artists.
France is accused of “insulting Islam and its sanctities” and is singled out as a particularly nefarious Western nation in this regard. Al-Qaeda venerates the “blessed” 2015 attack on Charlie Hebdo’s offices in Paris as “the raid that shall be written in ink of gold in the annals of Islamic history.”
The video highlights the various protests and jihadi operations that have taken place throughout recent history and across the world in response to inflammatory acts of blasphemy against the Prophet. Al-Qaeda commends the 2004 murder of Theo van Gogh in the Netherlands, the 2008 Danish embassy bombing in Pakistan, the 2012 assault on US government facilities in Libya, and several assassinations conducted by the “Mujahid sons of the Ummah in the Indian Subcontinent” against secular figures “who had committed blasphemy against the Chosen Prophet.”
Al-Qaeda forcefully condemns France for allowing the republication of said caricatures on the sixth anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo attack, which was also concurrent with the trial of those involved.
French President Emmanuel Macron is singled out for his comments on Islam and his implementation of domestic security and assimilation measures. Al-Qaeda accuses France of cracking down on Islam and discriminating against Muslim communities.
In addition, the organization excoriates France’s foreign policy and portrays it as part of a Crusader coalition waging war against Islam. They condemn France’s military interventions in Muslim countries and Paris’s support for designated enemy governments of al-Qaeda.
For these reasons, France receives a considerable amount of attention from the al-Qaeda network and is perhaps second only to the United States amongst Western powers in this sense.
Finally, it is worth noting that earlier this week, al-Qaeda’s official branch in Mali, Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wa-l-Muslimin (JNIM), released a video titled “But If They Fight You, Then You Kill Them” highlighting its attacks against the Malian army, French forces, and other Barkhane personnel.