In a 12-minute tape Al-Qaida says was recorded a week before his death, a man al-Qaida says is Osama bin Laden praised the Arab Spring, saying change would "blow over the entire Muslim world."
Islamists have been conspicuously absent in the uprisings in the Middle East that have largely been led by ordinary citizens angered by autocratic rule, corruption and mismanaged economies.
Al-Qaeda and other militant groups have waged bloody, but unsuccessful, campaigns to topple these same rulers and by praising the revolts, bin Laden, who was killed in a US raid on May 2 in Pakistan, appeared to be trying to make the Islamists relevant again.
"Let the truth ring out," The Guardian reports bin Laden said on the video. "Remember those that go out with a sword are true believers, those that go fight with their tongue are true believers, and those that fight in their hearts are true believers."
"The light of the revolution came from Tunisia. It has given the nation tranquillity and made the faces of the people happy," bin Laden said.
The tape was released by al-Qaida's media organization, al-Sahab. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.