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An American spokesperson for Al Qaeda, Adam Gadahn, concluded last year that because of church scandals Catholics were “fertile ground” for conversion. According to newly declassified documents, Gadahn wrote to Osama Bin Laden in January 2011 and laid out reasons for reaching out to Catholics, particularly in Ireland, and urged Bin Laden to use public anger over the church’s mishandling of clerical abuse to encourage conversions to Islam. The letter was among files allegedly found at Bin Laden’s Pakistan hideout after he was killed by U.S. special forces in Abbottabad, Pakistan, last May. The letter from Gadahn particularly highlighted reasons for approaching the Irish, noting Ireland was not a participant in “Bush’s Crusade wars” and “the increasing anger in Ireland towards the Catholic Church.” He noted the hunger of youths because of Ireland’s economic downturn and wrote that Irish people—”the most religious of atheist Europe”—were moving toward secularism. “Why do not we face them with Islam?” he asked.

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