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Unformatted text preview: Osama bin Laden, Letter to America Published on al-Qaedas website al-Qalaa (October 6, 2002) and translated in The Observer (Manchester, UK, November 24, 2002) Osama bin Laden was born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in 1957. His family was one of the richest in the country, with close ties to royalty. He was raised as a devout Wahhabi Muslim and studied economics and business administration. He has four wives and somewhere between twelve and twenty-six children. Some time after 1979 he moved to Afghanistan to fight the Soviet occupation and set up Maktab al-Khadamat, an organization that funneled money to the mujahideen. After the Soviet collapse in 1989 he returned to Saudi Arabia and founded al-Qaeda. A violent critic of Saudi accommodation with the United States after Saddam Husseins invasion of Kuwait in 1990, he moved to Sudan in 1992 and then returned to Afghanistan in 1996. Throughout the 1990s he sponsored terrorist attacks on the United States and secular Arab governments, culminating in the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington, D.C. Since the collapse of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan in late 2001 bin Laden has probably been in hiding in Pakistan. He periodically releases videos or letters, of which the October 2002 Letter to America is the most important. In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful, "Permission to fight (against disbelievers) is given to those (believers) who are fought against, because they have been wronged, and surely Allah is Able to give them (believers) victory" [Quran 22:39]. "Those who believe, fight in the Cause of Allah, and those who disbelieve, fight in the cause of Taghut (anything worshipped other than Allah, e.g., Satan). So fight you against the friends of Satan; ever feeble is indeed the plot of Satan." [Quran 4:76] Some American writers have published articles under the title 'On what basis are we fighting?' These articles have generated a number of responses, some of which adhered to the truth and were based on Islamic Law, and others which have not. Here we wanted to outline the truthas an explanation and warninghoping for Allah's reward, seeking success and support from Him. While seeking Allah's help, we form our reply based on two questions directed at the Americans: (Q1) Why are we fighting and opposing you? (Q2) What are we calling you to, and what do we want from you? As for the first question: Why are we fighting and opposing you? The answer is very simple: (1) Because you attacked us and continue to attack us. (a) You attacked us in Palestine: (i) Palestine, which has sunk under military occupation for more than eighty years. The British handed over Palestine, with your help and your support, to the Jews, who have occupied it for more than fifty years; years overflowing with oppression, tyranny, crimes, killing, expulsion, destruction and devastation. The creation and continuation of Israel is 1 one of the greatest crimes, and you are the leaders of its criminals. And of course there is one of the greatest crimes, and you are the leaders of its criminals....
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This note was uploaded on 03/06/2012 for the course IHUM 69B taught by Professor Morris during the Spring '11 term at Stanford.
- Spring '11