Boston bombings ‘a message’ to West, Muslim cleric says

Egyptian Salafi Sheik Murgan Salem warns France that it could be next if it continues to fight its campaign in Mali

Aaron Kalman is a former writer and breaking news editor for the Times of Israel

While they weren’t up to the standard set by al-Qaeda, the Boston bombings were nevertheless a warning to the US and West — especially France — for waging war against Islam, a Muslim cleric said.

Two bombs were detonated during the Boston Marathon on Monday, killing three and injuring more than 150 people.

In a video from Egyptian TV translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Egyptian Salafi cleric Sheik Murgan Salem said he didn’t know who was behind the attack, but “if it was done by the mujahideen” — Islamist fighters — “it serves as a message to America and the West: We are still alive… We have not died.”

“This was not up to the standard of al-Qaeda. It was extremely amateurish,” said the cleric, who boasted of a close relationship with the killed former al-Qaeda head Osama bin Laden. “The standards and techniques of al-Qaeda are much higher.”

But regardless of who did it, he said, the message that “we can reach you whenever and wherever we want” was conveyed, Salem said, praising the advances made in “the war with America” over the past 30 years, especially the relocation of the war from Arab countries to US soil.

It was likely that “people resentful of the policy and arrogance of America and Europe” carried out the attack, he said, noting that they might have been US-born.

France led the first crusade and was now spearheading the war against Islam in Mali, he charged, warning that if things don’t change “they must taste the bitter retribution for their deeds.”

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