NEW YORK (AP) – An English translation of interviews with Osama bin Laden (news – web sites) and writings by his second in command, Ayman al-Zawahri, will be published by Doubleday. The book, tentatively titled The al-Qaida Reader, is scheduled to come out next year.
“It’s important to know what our enemy is thinking,” Doubleday spokeswoman Suzanne Herz said Thursday. “It gives us a beeline into their thoughts, ideas and teachings.”
Herz said the book mostly consists of translations of two separate works released in Arabic: A collection of interviews with bin Laden that came out in Egypt and a book of al-Zawahri’s writings, Bitter Harvest, published in Jordan. The book will also feature additional interviews with bin Laden that appeared in the Arab press.
Raymond Ibrahim, a language specialist for the Near East section of the Library of Congress (news – web sites), will translate the works and provide scholarly commentary. Ibrahim came across the writings while reviewing texts from the Middle East. Through a mutual friend, historian Victor Hanson, Ibrahim got in touch with New York literary agent Glen Hartley.
“I saw this a chance for people to see the passions and motivations of people who want to destroy the West,” Hartley said.
Financial terms were not disclosed. Herz said Doubleday regards the texts as “historical documents” and that the publisher would not pay royalties to either terrorist leader. She said Doubleday, an imprint of Random House, Inc., had not discussed whether it would give any proceeds to charity.