"Every time he opens his mouth, it puts Muslims in difficulty," Bakar said. "It puts pressure on the Muslims here to disassociate themselves from what he is saying."
Muslim leaders contacted yesterday emphatically distanced themselves from bin Laden and his latest call to suicide attacks and other terrorism.
"We're Americans. We don't go for that," said Marwan Kreidie, spokesman for the Al-Aqsa Islamic Society, a North Philadelphia mosque with many Arab and Arab American members.
"Nobody in my community supports Osama," Kreidie said of Al-Aqsa. "We would be the first on the phone [to police] if anyone had the slightest clue anyone was planning something."
Many Muslims disagree with U.S. foreign policy, "but that does not mean they listen to a person who is an outlaw and is doing things totally contrary to whatever Islam stands for," said Masood Ghaznavi, board chairman of the American Muslim Society of the Tristate Area.
Bin Laden is an expert at appealing to Muslim loyalties, Bakar said, and this tape is "cunning" in that regard.
For instance, he said, bin Laden knows many Muslims hate Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. Yet the tape cites the Islamic legal principle of the "lesser of two evils" - arguing that supporting Hussein is a lesser evil than condoning a Western attack on a Muslim nation.
Bakar, a Muslim from Malaysia, said the tape appeals to the Muslim solidarity known as umma to evoke "a feeling a solidarity with Iraq as a nation," and "exploits" the widespread Muslim discontent about U.S. support for Israel.
The tape suggests that President Bush hopes to install a Baghdad regime run by Israel and the United States "in preparation for the establishment of greater Israel, God forbid."
Such talk is "silly" and "only aggravates the situation," Kreidie said. "We don't need Osama bin Laden to tell us about the problems with what Israel and the United States are doing and the Palestinian rights to a homeland.
"He is hijacking the religion and trying to hijack the Iraq situation, just like he hijacked the Palestinian situation before this."
Contact Faith Life Editor Jim Remsen at 215-854-5621 or firstname.lastname@example.org.