Sunday, October 01, 2006

Through Osama bin Laden's Own Words

A relatively new book titled Messages to the World: The Statements of Osama bin Laden which was released a few months ago makes it very clear that Osama bin Laden's ideology isn't remotely influenced by the religion of Islam. It was edited and introduced by Duke University religion professor Bruce Lawrence. The is an excerpt from the review on the news section of the Duke University site (my empasis in pink):
A major goal of the book is to show, through his own words, how bin Laden’s views differ from mainstream Islam and even other radical Muslim thought, said Lawrence, the author of several books on Islam, including “Defenders of God: The Fundamentalist Revolt Against the Modern Age” (1989), “Shattering the Myth: Islam Beyond Violence” (1998) and “New Faiths, Old Fears: Muslims & Other Asian Immigrants in American Religious Life” (2002). By reviewing the decade-long record of his public declarations, readers can better grasp how bin Laden shifts his interpretations of the Quran and manipulates his audiences to his own ends.

“It is not enough to say he is a terrorist and the scum of the Earth,” Lawrence said. “I think we need a balance. We need to better understand how bin Laden has wrapped himself in the cloak of Islamic legitimacy to support his cause and to attract followers.

"The majority of the Muslim community supports peace, equity and living in a way that balances the good and condemns the bad,” he observed. “Radical Islam exists on the fringes, yet attempts to co-opt the center, with a significant number of extremists drawn to bin Laden and his message of anger and vengeance against the world.

“My hope -– and it is the best hope, I think -- is to have more Americans, both Muslim and non-Muslim, understand the goal of bin Laden and then reject it in search of a common agenda for productive change.”

"Messages to the World" is the first of three upcoming books by Lawrence that, to varying degrees, look at bin Laden.
There you have it -- straight from the horse's mouth! It is sufficient to say that Osama bin Laden's actions are borne out of passion and rage and not Islam. The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) once said that there will be some Muslims who'll say that they're fighting for Islam but in truth they'll be doing nothing of the sort. The first paragraph of the book description at Amazon hits the bull's eye:
Despite the saturation of global media coverage, Osama bin Laden's own writings have been curiously absent from analysis of the "war on terror." Over the last ten years, bin Laden has issued a series of carefully tailored public statements, from interviews with Western and Arabic journalists to faxes and video recordings. These texts supply evidence crucial to an understanding of the bizarre mix of Quranic scholarship, CIA training, punctual interventions in Gulf politics and messianic anti-imperialism that has formed the programmatic core of Al Qaeda.
Why won't Uncle Sam make the study of Osama bin Laden a priority? Are they worried that he might have some bad things to say about US policy (which are probably true), and/or will the foundation of the so-called war on terror crumble if it's found out that Islam isn't the enemy? They'll have to find new enemies then. And that seems to be a bit of an "oilee" problem.

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