CAIRO — Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden called for the creation of a new relief body to help Muslims in an audiotape released Friday, seeking to exploit discontent following this summer's devastating floods in Pakistan by depicting the region's governments as uncaring.
"What governments spend on relief work is secondary to what they spend on armies," bin Laden said on the 11-minute tape entitled "Reflections on the Method of Relief Work."
"If governments spent (on relief) only one percent of what is spent on armies, they would change the face of the world for poor people," he added.
Asked about the new bin Laden message, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said he doubts the victims in Pakistan would be "comforted in getting the aid that is necessary from somebody that is not showing their face to the world."
"I think they'll be comforted by the relationship — the bilateral relationship they have with this country that has no problem standing up here or standing up anywhere in the world and pledging our commitment and assistance to help its people in a tragic time," said Gibbs.