Moazzam Begg, a former Guantanamo detainee and director of Islamist group Cageprisoners, objected to the killing of Osama bin Laden in an op-ed in the Washington Post. Although Begg portrays himself as a civil rights activist, his organization has been more of a lobby on behalf of terrorists. The group even recently featured an article celebrating the mock death of President Obama.
Begg is quick to explain he was "not [a] member of al-Qaeda and did not agree with its methods," but says that the U.S. is "distorting the bin Laden narrative somewhat." He cites others' quotes about bin Laden's "piety, generosity, personal bravery, strategic ability, charisma and patience," and declares that "such characteristics can be admirable in any human being."
What Begg leaves out of his op-ed is his connection to other al-Qaida leaders, as well his organization's support for extremist positions. Cageprisoners' primary role is advocating on behalf of Islamists that it perceives are victims of Western injustice. Its most recent focus campaigns include al-Qaida trainer Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, convicted terrorist Aafia Siddique, and al-Qaida ideologue Abu Mus'ab al-Suri, whose writings on strategy are incorporated into issues of al-Qaida magazine Inspire.
In a mock story on Cageprisoner's website, the organization celebrates the fake assassination of "American War Criminal Barack Obama," along with a gruesome picture of the murdered president. "[T]o many in the Muslim world, Obama became the embodiment of global terrorism, but to others he was a hero, a devout Christian who fought three wars in the name of democracy," the article says, reversing the roles of bin Laden and President Obama. "You cannot wait us out, you cannot defeat us, but you can make the choice to abandon the CIA and participate in a peaceful political process," it mockingly quotes a Pakistani official as saying.
Begg has been heavily involved in his organization's extremism. He interviewed Anwar al-Awlaki, who would go on to become an al-Qaida leader, in late 2007. In the interview, Awlaki saluted Cageprisoners for its role in helping secure the release of terrorists. "The brothers and sisters at Cageprisoners are fulfilling the order of RasulAllah [the Prophet] which was stated in [the religious text of] Bukhari, 'Seek the release of the prisoner', and they are at the forefront of fulfilling this command of RasulAllah so I ask Allah to reward them and assist them in their efforts," Awlaki said.
Begg then invited Awlaki to give two audio-recorded addresses for Cageprisoners fundraisers, even after Awlaki's extremism had been revealed in posts on his blog.
Begg also defended the "right of resistance" in reference to the American occupation in Afghanistan. "If you are asking me what are my feelings towards people fighting occupation, the answer is I completely support them," Begg said to the Irish Times in 2010. "I believe in the inalienable right to defend yourself against foreign occupation."