New Bin Laden Tape Criticizes Obama

A new audio tape attributed to al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden is criticizing U.S. President Barack Obama's policies toward Muslim countries.

Excerpts of the recording were broadcast on Al Jazeera television Wednesday, shortly after Mr. Obama arrived in Saudi Arabia on a trip to reach out to Muslims.

'New seeds of hatred'

Bin Laden said Mr. Obama is "following in the footsteps" of his predecessor, George W. Bush, and is planting "new seeds of hatred" toward the United States in the Muslim world. He linked that claim to U.S. support for the government of Pakistan, which has been battling Taliban militants in its northwestern Swat Valley.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said he was not suprised "that al-Qaida would want to shift attention away from the president's historic efforts ... to have an open dialogue with the Muslim world."

Authenticity in question

It is the second al-Qaida message aimed at the U.S. president in two days.

On Tuesday, Osama's deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri urged Egyptians to reject Mr. Obama when the U.S. leader gives a speech in Cairo Thursday that the White House says will emphasize his commitment to improving U.S. ties with Muslim communities.

The authenticity of neither tape has been verified. 

Zawahiri and bin Laden are believed to be hiding in the border area between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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