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Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden Photo by: AP

Al-Qaeda sought to bring Islam to Ireland as problems with Catholic Church increased

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Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden Photo by: AP

Prior to his death, al-Qaeda ring-leader Osama bin Laden was urged by Adam Gadahn, the American al-Qaeda spokesman, to consider reaching out to the Irish population in hopes of getting them to convert to Islam.

The Irish population’s disenchantment with the Catholic Church and disheartening economic state were cited as reasons why the people of Ireland could be open to conversion.

The Irish Times reports on the documents found at bin Laden’s house in Abbottabad, Pakistan during a raid in which he was killed by a team of US Navy SEALs last May. The newly declassified documents were posted online by The Combating Terrorism Center, a privately funded research base at West Point.

The cache of informative documents, 175 pages in Arabic and 195 in translated English, span from September 2006 to April 2011. They include private letters between prominent al-Qaeda members including bin Laden.

Included in the documents is a January 2011 letter from American al-Qaeda spokesperson Adam Gadahn to an unknown recipient which lays out reasons for reaching out to the Irish people.

In the letter, Gadahn writes that Ireland did not participate in “Bush’s crusade wars,” making them prime candidates for the support of Islam. Gadahn added how the Irish Judicial System was “soft” on Muslims accused on terrorism, and sympathetic with the Palestinian cause.

The letter does, however, also note that Ireland had been part of an EU-wide force engaged in training the Somali army.

The difficulties in Ireland at the time the letter was written apparently paved the way for Islam to take a stand in the country as well. At the time, and still today, Ireland was in the midst of child-abuse scandal in the Church, and was reeling economically.

"What helped to prepare the message was the last economic crisis that affected Ireland a lot, thus forcing its youth to look for sources of living in the outside," wrote Gadahn in his letter.

"The other matter is the increasing anger in Ireland towards the Catholic Church after exposing a number of sex scandals and others," he added.

The letter also goes on to say that the Irish, "who were the most religious of atheist Europe," were heading towards secularism. “Why do we not face them with Islam?,” wrote Gadahn.

Gadahn also suggested reaching out to Catholics living in Arab regions to embrace Islam.

“Catholics were historically the prominent enemies of the Jews, amongst the other Christians.

They were also the original enemies to the Evangelist Protestant who were the vanguard of the Crusades.”

“Their public in general, these days, is more sympathetic and understanding of the Muslims, than other Protestant and Orthodox Christians," Gadahn wrote.

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