Osama’s name flows in our blood: Ex-rapper

International

Cuspert says that Shariah, the legal code of Islam based on the Quran, permits self-defence. "My duty is to use my voice for telling people the truth, and the truth is, jihad is a duty," he said.

At the end of June, Cuspert recorded a nasheed that praised al-Qaeda's late leader, Osama bin Laden. "Your name flows in our blood," he sings.

"I have sworn allegiance to Mullah Muhammad Omar, emir of the Taliban," he said in the interview, smiling. "He is one of the greatest men."

In his speeches, Cuspert has said that his biggest wish right now is the death of President Barack Obama, "an enemy of Islam."

Authorities say they have not had enough evidence to arrest him for his speeches, but they are trying to put him behind bars for offences they say he committed during his former life as a rapper. On August 18, Cuspert was tried here on charges of possessing illegal weapons. German security officials said they sought to jail Cuspert and stop his "video propaganda for jihad." The trial judge convicted and fined Cuspert, but spared him a prison sentence.

Before he took his new name, Abou Maleeq, Cuspert had another life. He was born and reared in Berlin by his German mother. His father, from Ghana, left the family when Cuspert was a baby.

When conflicts increased at home with his stepfather, a former American Army soldier and disciplinarian, Cuspert was sent to a home for difficult children. After five years, he returned home. "I grew up with racism," he said. "Though my mother is German, teachers back then would call me 'Negro' and treat Muslim kids bad."

His argument with American foreign policy grew in 1990 in the months leading up to the first Persian Gulf war, and he joined demonstrations in Berlin. "We marched, shouted and burned the American flag," he said, smiling.

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