Barack Obama's race may have added significance in the terror group's warped worldview.
On 13 July 2010, Barack Obama gave an interview to the South African Broadcast in which he attacked al-Qaeda and its supporters' disregard for African life. The White House went on to describe al-Qaeda as 'racist' and for treating black Africans like 'cannon fodder' . Right-wing commentators have since been on a war path accusing Obama for getting angry only when the victims of terrorism are black . His supporters have been at pains to explain that his statement was part of a discussion on Islam in Africa and that his critics are mischievously interpreting it out of its original context.
Whatever Obama's original intention was, he touched on a sensitive topic within Muslim communities which Muslim scholars, particularly in Africa, have been expressing since the August 7, 1998 al-Qaeda bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. Al-Qaeda and its supporters have successfully been able to justify their violence not only by manipulating theology but also on the basis of what many in Africa believe are racist readings of certain narrations (known in Arabic as 'ahadith') attributed to the Prophet of Islam. Since Obama's election such 'Prophetic narrations' have been widely circulated, discussed, and commented upon on Arabic websites and forums supportive of al-Qaeda.