While the earlier messages by subordinates were angry, urging followers to rise up, bin Laden took a softer, even humanitarian tone — apparently trying to broaden al-Qaida's appeal by presenting his group as a problem-solving protector of the poor.
"What governments spend on relief work is secondary to what they spend on armies," bin Laden says on the 11-minute tape titled "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 said.
He said a new "well-funded" relief organization should be created to study Muslim regions near bodies of water to prevent future flooding, to create development projects in impoverished regions and to work on farming and agriculture to guarantee food security.
"The famine and drought in Africa that we see, and the flooding in Pakistan and other parts of the world, with thousands dead along with millions of refugees, that's why people with hearts should move quickly to save their brothers and sisters," he said. He urged Muslim businessmen to develop unused agricultural land in Sudan — where bin Laden was based in the 1990s — to boost food security in case of disaster.
The audiotape was posted on Islamic militant websites, according to the U.S.-based Intelligence which monitors jihadi forums and provided a copy of the message. Its authenticity could not be independently confirmed, though the voice resembled that of bin Laden in confirmed messages by him. The tape is aired over a still photograph of a smiling bin Laden superimposed over a picture of a man distributing aid.