About a year ago, I discovered that I had acquired an entry in Wikipedia, the free online encyclopaedia.Wikipedia is a controversial project. It is used by billions of inquirers who want easy-to-get-at information on every conceivable and many inconceivable subjects. But its entries are not subject to peer review. This means that literally anyone can register online and insert or modify an entry.
As with every message directed to the West, Osama bin Laden’s most recent address begins and ends with his hallmark sentence: “Peace to whoever follows guidance.”
What exactly are Americans and Europeans to understand by this simple statement?
A new book of never-before-translated documents and press statements by al-Qaida leaders offers new insight into the motives behind the group responsible for carrying out the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Raymond Ibrahim, a technician at the Library of Congress, edited and translated into English statements by Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri and others dating from 1998 to 2006 for “The Al Qaeda Reader.” Ibrahim said the inspiration for the book came about in the course of shelving Arabic books, one of his duties at the Library.
Few things are more demonstrative of the sad state of affairs of modern academia than the increasingly fictionalized portrayals of the founders of the two largest religions in the world: Jesus and Mohammad. Though the same dubious methods are used for both — ignore the most historically valid texts and documents, build ponderous theories atop evidence of the most tenuous kind — the goals are markedly different. In academia today, we find Jesus, far from the Son of God, portrayed at once as a wandering “magician” and a hippie-like philanderer inclined to homosexuality. Mohammad, whom the most authentic Muslim sources portray as, among other things, a warlord who had entire tribes executed and plundered, their women herded into harems, their children sold into slavery, appears as a peaceful and altruistic ruler whose governance ushered in, among other improvements, a sort of seventh-century “feminism.”
The cases of Pope Benedict and Osama bin Laden Private Papers After being accused of having a special vendetta against Muslims, Pope Benedict XVI is back in the spotlight for offending Jews, Protestants, and the Orthodox. In back to back moves, he formally removed restrictions from annually celebrating an old Latin Mass which includes prayers […]
This volume, a collection of essays and broadcasts by Ayman Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden, does the Al Qaeda leaders no favors. Whatever their capacities as terrorists, Dr. Zawahiri tends toward the wordy and Mr. bin Laden is inordinately proud of his military exploits. As he refights Tora Bora for the nth time deploying the salt cellar and the humidor, we might be in some soporiferous midtown gentlemen’s club.
Given that war, as both Sun Tzu and Mohammed preached, is deception, it behooves us to understand accurately the enemy’s motivations and not be fooled by his deceiving propaganda. Yet in the current war against Islamic jihad, the West has stubbornly refused to take seriously what the jihadists tell us, believing instead what Thucydides called the “pretexts” with which an enemy rationalizes his aggression. Osama bin Laden and his theorist Aymin al Zawahiri in particular have provided us with numerous texts outlining the Islamic foundations of their war against the West. A few of these pronouncements and manifestoes have long been available, but now thanks to Raymond Ibrahim’s The Al Qaeda Reader, writings previously unavailable in English can be studied and analyzed. Such study will provide powerful evidence that contrary to the deceptions of apologists and the naïve delusions of some Westerners, the bases of the jihadists’ actions lie squarely within Islamic tradition, not in the alleged Western crimes against Islam.
A recent poll released by the Pew Research Center indicates that, among other things, support for suicide-attacks—or, what are known in Islamic terminology as “martyrdom operations”—is on the decline in the Islamic world. There is no denying that there are a number of factors contributing to this new shift—not least of which is the fact that, increasingly, it is Muslims themselves who are suffering at the hands of suicide-bombers, such as the daily occurrences in Iraq.
As a 6’3″, 250 pound weightlifter of Middle Eastern descent, who sometimes wears a full beard, seldom wears a (perfunctory) smile, and who’s last name is “Ibrahim”—a name that sometimes appears in rather “unflattering” headlines, such as the recent attacks in Glasgow—I don’t mind telling you that, well, sometimes I get askance looks of “concern” whenever I board airplanes. Do I take any special delight in that? Not really. Do I understand it? Totally.
Recently, a shoeless President George Bush accompanied by female aides in makeshift hijabs (Islamic prayer scarves) spoke at the rededication of the Islamic Center of Washington. The president sang the praises of a “religion of peace,” despite the fact that the Center is a Saudi-funded promulgator of Wahhabism, a strict form of Islam that critics say has spawned Muslim fundamentalism and extremism. He extolled a “faith that has enriched civilization for centuries” as he stood surrounded by representatives from the