Recently departed Osama bin Laden wanted to change the name of his terrorist outfit al-Qaeda to something else for “marketing reasons,” according to a report in the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph.
It seems that bin Laden was concerned that al-Qaeda was getting a bad name because they were killing too many Muslims (especially in Iraq); and because the name did not solidly express the group’s opposition to western values.
In a letter found in his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, bin Laden confided that the name “al-Qaeda” lacked any religious context. “Qaeda” in Arabic simply means “base” or “foundation.”
The official full name of the group, “al-Qaeda al-Jihad,” which means for “The Base of Holy War” had been truncated to “al-Qaeda” – a name bin Laden apparently found meaningless and vague.
Bin Laden wanted a name that explicitly signified that he was at war against the United States and capitalism – he suggested such names as “Taifat al-Tawhed Wal-Jihad” which means “Monotheism and Jihad Group,” or perhaps “Jama'at I'Adat al-Khilafat al-Rashida,” which stands for “Restoration of the Caliphate Group.”
The letters also revealed that bin Laden was worried that he could not adequately replace senior al-Qaeda officials who had been arrested on killed, and that he didn’t know many of the younger up-and-comers.
It is also unclear to whom the letters were addressed to. US intelligence officials believe he only communicated directly with his two top commanders, Ayman al-Zawahri (who is now the al-Qaeda boss), and Mustafa Abu al-Yazid (who was killed last year in a US missile air strike).