Zawahiri said in an audio message posted on militant websites that Obama was "the direct opposite of honourable Black Americans" such as Malcolm X, The Telegraph reported. "It is true about you and people like you ... what Malcolm X said about the house negros," he said, naming former US Secretary of State Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, the incumbent. The terror group's media wing, as-Sahabm, released the 11-minute audio featuring a statement by Zawahiri titled, "The Departure of Bush and the Advent of Obama."
Zawahri began his remarks by congratulating Muslims on the election of Obama, describing it as, "the American people's admission of defeat in Iraq," noting that the American people had voted for the candidate who wanted to withdraw US troops from Iraq. The tape features audio extracts from Malcolm X's speech in Selma, Alabama, in 1965, in which he unfavourably compared the 'house negro' - a docile slave ingratiating himself with his master - with the embittered 'field negro' who laboured outdoors.
Still images on the video that accompanied the audio message showed a picture of Malcolm X, an advocate of black power who was also a Muslim convert.
Zawahiri's message, entitled "The departure of Bush and arrival of Obama", warned the US President elect of a "heavy legacy of failure" awaiting him in office.
It also juxtaposed a portrait of Zawahiri wearing a white turban next to Obama praying at the Western Wall in Jerusalem during a pre-election visit to Israel.
He scolded Obama for "choosing to be an enemy of Islam and Muslims," saying that the Muslim "nation had bitterly received" the President-elect's pledge of support to Israel.
"You have chosen to stand in the ranks of the enemies of Muslims and pray the prayer of Jews, although you claim that your mother is Christian," Zawahiri said.
Zawahiri tells Obama that his plan to re-concentrate military efforts in Afghanistan is doomed to failure.
He warns the new leader that by doing so, not only will his forces be defeated, but he himself will be met by the same fate as Bush and former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf - both of whom arguably saw their popularity wither thanks to their respective actions in the US-led war on terror.
The US government condemned what it called "despicable" comments.