Al-Jazeera has broadcast a new audio tape attributed to Osama bin Laden. On the tape the speaker called for Iraqis to boycott the election next month, and called the interim government an “apostate government.”
The speaker said al-Zarqawi and those with him are fighting “for God’s sake.”
“We have been pleased that they responded to God’s and his prophet’s order for unity, and we in al-Qaida welcome their unity with us,” the speaker said.
The speaker also said he was “pleased” with al-Zarqawi’s “gallant operations” against the Americans and interim Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi’s “apostate government.”
Iraqis are scheduled to elect a 275-member National Assembly on Jan. 30, and those lawmakers will draft a new constitution. There have been calls to postpone the election because of the ongoing insurgency, but President Bush has insisted the vote be held as scheduled.
The speaker condemned those elections.
“In the balance of Islam, this constitution is infidel and therefore everyone who participates in this election will be considered infidels,” he said. “Beware of henchmen who speak in the name of Islamic parties and groups who urge people to participate in this blatant apostasy.”
He apparently was referring to Shiite clerics, particularly Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who have issued edicts saying participating in the election was a “religious duty.”
UPDATE: Apparently, the voice on the tape does belong to bin Laden.