A prominent Taliban cleric has been flooding mosques and Islamic centres in the United States with faxes, telling Muslims that an American assault on the Taliban government in Kabul would be "treason against God" and claiming the Israeli secret service "orchestrated" the atrocities in New York and Washington.
Israr Ahmed's Koranic teaching is highly influential among the 2,000 Taliban schools along the Pakistani-Afghan frontier and his message to Muslim Americans while it belongs to the outer reaches of conspiracy theorists is unprecedented.
A copy of his message, sent from the Tanzeem-e-Islami [the Islamic Association], has been obtained by The Independent and it reveals that Dr Ahmed, a Pakistani, was among the "ulema" [religious authorities] who met the Pakistani leader, General Pervez Musharraf, to warn him that Pakistan would descend into civil war if it co-operated with the United States.
The purpose of Dr Ahmed's appeal is to undermine General Musharraf's promise to help the US forces in any attacks on Afghanistan, and to question the evidence which the United States says it has against the Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden.
"The way that America is naming Usama [sic] bin Laden as a criminal, without any clear evidence, is against all laws of justice," he writes in his letter to American Muslims. "In this situation, an attack on Afghanistan will be absolutely inhuman and an example of extreme state terrorism ..."
Ignoring the growing evidence of connections between groups in Afghanistan and the bombing of the US embassies in Africa and the suicide attacks on the World Trade Centre, Dr Ahmed claims that "it is becoming clear that the secret Israeli service Musad [sic] orchestrated these terrorist attacks to change the world opinion against Islam and Muslims ... These terrorist attacks are a vital link in the chain of events that the Jews are undertaking to fulfil their dream of world domination ... in this Zionist plan, Pakistan and its atomic capability are the topmost in their hit list."
Taliban supporters have insisted several times that an Israeli "plot" lies behind the crimes against humanity of 11 September and Dr Ahmed's letter suggests he has little idea how dismissive most American Muslims would be of such an idea.
But his attempt to enlist the support of Arab Americans indeed all American Muslims in his campaign to end Pakistan's support for the United States shows the lengths to which Taliban clerics will now go to sabotage President Bush's plans.
Dr Ahmed says: "Pakistan should stand firm against the American 'Pharaoh'.
"Afghanistan," he says, "is our brother Muslim country and its Taliban government is based on upholding the supremacy of Islamic Sharia [law]; Pakistan's co-operation in the unjust American attack against the Islamic Taliban government will not only be a treason against Allah and his messenger [the Prophet Mohamed] but a betrayal of Pakistan's ideology."Reuse content