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Al-Qaida Insults Obama, Uses Racial Slur in Web Message

Al-Qaida is lashing out at U.S. President-elect Barack Obama, referring to him by a derogatory racial term and describing his policies as anti-Islamic. VOA's Paula Wolfson reports the message from the terror network drew a strong response from the Bush administration.

Al-Qaida's first reaction to the results of the U.S. presidential election came in a posting on a militant web site.

A voiced identified as the group's second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahri refers to Barack Obama in Arabic as a "house slave." The posting's English caption translates it as "house Negro," a demeaning racial term used to refer to blacks who do the bidding of whites.

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino denounced the message.

"What we have here is more despicable, pathetic comments by al-Qaida terrorists," Perino said.

She noted the United States is now in the midst of a smooth transition of power. She said there will be changes in policy, but one thing will remain the same.

"What will not change is our commitment as a country to fighting terrorism," Perino said. "I think that these comments just remind everybody of the kind of people that we are dealing with."

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security says the al-Qaida posting held no indications of an increased threat against the United States. Experts in terrorism say it may have been prompted by concerns within the terrorist network that the election of Barack Obama could undercut efforts by al-Qaida to gain support.

They say Mr. Obama's message of change is being heard in other countries, and the fact he is the son of a Muslim father is raising hopes in parts of the developing world.

The al-Qaida posting accuses the president-elect of turning his back on his father's Muslim roots, and says his support for Israel confirms his hostility toward Islam. It also warns Mr. Obama of failure should he pursue the policies of President George Bush.