A Disassociated Press Report, October 7, 2003
by Eric Mader
The world's most wanted terrorist might now be considering a career in Hollywood. At least that is what Osama bin Laden's righthand man and Al Qaeda top deputy Aymon al Zawahiri indicates in a tape recently made public by the Arabic-language Al Jazeera news network.
The tape, which Al Jazeera obtained from an undisclosed source, was first made public on October 5th. Although CIA voice analysts have not yet confirmed that the voice on the tape is in fact al Zawahiri's, people familiar with the senior Al Qaeda deputy have indicated that it sounds like him.
"This is the Aymon we all know and love," said one unidentified source.
It is near the end of the 25-minute tape that mention is first made of bin Laden's contemplated career move. According to statements on the tape, bin Laden has already entered into negotiations with two separate American film industry big-wigs in hopes of beginning a career in acting as soon as possible.
"Allah willing, our brave leader will begin by playing bad guys in action and adventure movies, but would like eventually to move toward romance comedy," said the raspy voice on the tape.
There is even an indication that bin Laden is already thinking of co-stars. "The sheik [as bin Laden is called by Al Qaeda insiders] would like to star with that Jennifer Lopez, for he says that her movements are to him like a young gazelle leaping over the plains."
The voice goes on to sketch out the plot of one romance comedy Al Qaeda is working on for bin Laden and his co-star Lopez. In this movie, Lopez would star as a young Texas housewife beaten by her alcoholic Christian husband. Finding solace in a Koran study group that meets weekly in a local community center, she slowly falls in love with the soft-spoken and mysterious teacher played by bin Laden. She converts to Islam and is liberated from her sordid Christian marriage.
At another point the voice addressed the issue of bin Laden's safety should he choose to relocate to America for an acting career. Security concerns were brushed aside as irrelevant.
"Rest assured we will not allow our leader to fall into the hands of the American military," the voice said. "If this supposed superpower, the United States of America, cannot catch us sitting out on a range of hills, sitting out here in the open, they will certainly not be able to catch us in a place like Los Angeles."
The voice also insisted bin Laden's coming move into acting should not be understood as an abandonment of his principles or of the Al Qaeda movement he founded.
"The sheik is ready to begin this new onslaught on the enemies of Islam. Long seen as the arch enemy of Americans, he will conquer their hearts at the box office through his moving performances. The Americans cannot possibly prepare for what is about to hit them."
At one point in the tape a possible career in politics is envisaged. "Allah willing, the sheik will receive Oscars," the voice said. "And then the seat of California governor will become his, for he is a persuasive man. And beyond this what is not possible, given the consent of Allah?"