Messages to the World: The Statements of Osama bin Laden

From The Liberal:

Lawrence_messages THIS volume repays attention for two reasons. The first is that it leaves the reader in no doubt about the ideology or intent of its subject; and, as Bruce Lawrence argues, bin Laden must be understood if he is to be defeated. The second is that it gives some insight into the Left’s understanding of ‘political Islam’. Lawrence believes that bin Laden’s terrorism is essentially a response to the West’s “much greater” terrorism. He quotes approvingly from Michael Mann: “Despite the religious rhetoric and the bloody means, bin Laden is a rational man. There is a simple reason why he attacked the US: American imperialism”. For Lawrence et al., the equation is simple: remove this reason and bin Laden’s war will cease.

It is true that bin Laden’s statements define his jihad as reactive: that is, as a legitimate response to Western aggression against Muslims, and one that will cease once its causes have been removed. But let us be clear about what he perceives those causes to be. They include the “Crusader-Jewish” presence in all the lands of Islam. By this he is not referring solely to the presence of US troops in Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Afghanistan, or to Israel’s incursions beyond its 1967 borders. He is referring to the entirety of Israel-Palestine, and (a tricky one for the EU) to Moorish Spain. Bin Laden goes further: “In our religion, it is not permissible for any non-Muslim to stay in our country” (emphasis added). Lawrence et al. might view giving bin Laden what he wants as a “rational” response to the threat of terrorism, but moral honesty requires that we call this solution what it is: ethnic cleansing as a mode of appeasement.

More here.