LONDON, England – Usama bin Laden singled out Australia as an enemy of Islam because it helped East Timor win independence from Indonesia, according to a videotape broadcast Saturday by the British Broadcasting Corp.
In the brief video clip, which showed only a close-up of bin Laden's face, he said the "crusading Australian forces were on the Indonesian shores and they actually went in to separate East Timor, (which) is part of the countries of the Islamic world."
Bin Laden spoke in Arabic on the taped message that the BBC said was made in November.
The BBC's current affairs program "Panorama" suggested the message may have been a coded signal to extremists in Southeast Asia to begin preparing attacks against Australia.
It was not immediately known how "Panorama" obtained the tape.
A "Panorama" investigation into possible Al Qaeda links to the Oct. 12 bomb attack on the Indonesian island of Bali was broadcast in Britain on Oct. 20 and around the world on the BBC World channel Saturday.
Australia led an international peacekeeping force into East Timor to stop a killing rampage by pro-Jakarta militias after East Timorese voted overwhelmingly for independence from Indonesia in 1999.
A Portuguese colony until 1974, East Timor remains a mostly Christian nation despite its 25 years of rule by Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim country.
More than 90 Australians are believed dead or missing in the Bali bombings.
The main suspect in the bombing is Islamic extremist group Jemaah Islamiyah, which on Friday was placed on a U.N. list of groups and individuals with ties to Al Qaeda.
Jemaah Islamiyah's goal is to build a pan-Islamic state across Southeast Asia.