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Letter from bin Laden?
November 25, 2002 10:53 AM   Subscribe

A letter to the American people from Osama bin Laden is being circulated among Islamists in Britain. Although there's no way to confirm it's authenticity, the Observer claims that senior Arab journalists in the Middle Eastern media believe the letter is authentic, and calls it "the most comprehensive explanation of bin Laden's ideology to be issued for several years."
posted by homunculus (73 comments total)

 
It would be nice if there was a God that were to be seen, or available. We could just ask God what the deal is, and he would let us know. Yet, we are left to ourselves, and to Faith, and to War.
posted by four panels at 11:01 AM on November 25, 2002


Who can forget your President Clinton's immoral acts committed in the official Oval office? After that you did not even bring him to account, other than that he 'made a mistake', after which everything passed with no punishment. Is there a worse kind of event for which your name will go down in history and remembered by nations?

newt, quit pretending you're osama
posted by tsarfan at 11:06 AM on November 25, 2002


Wow. I go through all sorts of emotions while reading this. Anger, disbelief, agreement, hatred, hopelessness, sadness, indignity. He is so hypocritical:
1. WE treat our women badly? Yeah, right.
2. Allah is a God of Peace yet he sanctions and rewards murder?
3. Islam is a religion of peace yet people are killing and hating and destroying in its'name? Come ON!
He is also so myopic (e.g. that everyone must come to Islam or be killed. )

But he also makes good points such as:
1. Why do our Weapons of mass Destruction rules not apply to every country equally?
2. We are destroying the world for everyone else
3. We have given money to and supported Israel, which-despite how much I think it has a right to exist, has a long long history of doing awful and illegal things to the Arabs.
4. Why did we request not to be held accountable for war crimes?
etc. etc. etc.

What scares me is that there is no way to argue with people like this. Discuss why not everyone needs to be a muslim, why separation of church and government is good, why we don't see Islam as treating all people as equal, why we do what we do as a country. They are blind with hatred and we are doing nothing to try and change that.

Even if this isn't written by OBL, it's is a good discussion of why they all hate us so much.
posted by aacheson at 11:11 AM on November 25, 2002


By the way, this is SO typical. Why do our news organizations suck so badly? I see NOTHING about this on US news websites. NOTHING. Is this supression by the Executive office or just sloppy and lazy news?
posted by aacheson at 11:15 AM on November 25, 2002


Interesting that "Osama" floats the KKK canard that Benjamin Franklin warned against Jews taking over America. Based on some preliminary research, this bogus tract was actually written by someone else (around the same time?) and has been attributed by the KKK and other hate groups to Franklin. It has gained new life on the internet.

It goes to show that "Osama" or whoever wrote this letter, has been getting many of his "facts" from the internet. That being said, aacheson does make the important point that there is legitimate outrage that the author of this letter siezes on. Westerners and Muslims should not assume that the genuine injustices are what what motivate Bin Ladenism, rather they are covers to allow well-meaning people to either passively support them or invest meaning in their nihilistic, 7th century approach to the world. The genuine injustices in the Islamic world that Bin Laden addresses are the covers for his attacks, not the reasons behind them. They allow him to gain respect and followers much in the same way that he uses the Islamic religion. It is a front, and while those issues do deserve to be addressed (and have been, for the most part by the UN and others) they do not deserve respect as "Bin Laden's goals"-- with the possible exception of the West's support for corrupt dictatorships, which it seems closer to Bin Laden's real goals of taking power from the Saudis, Egyptians, and other states, and installing his own Theocracy.
posted by cell divide at 11:20 AM on November 25, 2002


2. Allah is a God of Peace yet he sanctions and rewards murder?

Have you read the bible? Goodness, not only does the God of the Jews and Christians condone murder, he condones rape, pillaging, sacrificing your daughters to an angry mob...etc.

My point is, Allah is no more blood thirsty than Jehovah. Perhaps even a little less, as the Koran says (if I'm interpreting it correctly), that the only justifiable war is a war in which you are a respondent, but not an instigator. Don't try to judge an entire religion based on one fanatic. It would be like trying to judge Christians by the snake-handling, oil anointing weirdness of Ashcroft.
posted by dejah420 at 11:21 AM on November 25, 2002


aacheson, this document was apparently found on the internet and translated by people sympathetic to the cause. There is no proof of a link to bin Laden or anyone else in particular. If you were a newspaper would you report this letter as fact?
posted by PrinceValium at 11:22 AM on November 25, 2002


I wonder about some of the items, for example the complaint that the US didn't sign the Kyoto treaty. Is bin Laden on record anywhere else as having environmental concerns? This is a standard complaint against America among Western leftists, but I don't recall ever hearing it from Islamists.

Are we sure this wasn't written by Chief Seattle?

The complaints against usury, though, are definitely in keeping with a fundamentalist interpretation of Islam. Indeed, the idea that lending money at interest is a sin is one of the things that has kept the Moslem nations poor as the rest of the world advanced.

The idea that the 'real Jews' are the not the people we know as Jews today, but someone else (in this view, the Palestinians) has been a standard idea expressed by anti-semites for at least a hundred years. bin Laden is well within this disgusting tradition.

If this is really by Osama bin Laden, then he confirms (rather to my surprise) what Bush has said repeatedly, that he and al Qaeda are against our 'American way of life'. He's not just railing against particular policies, but against Americans' freedom to chose lifestyles, pursuits, pleasures, and economic activities that are contrary to Shariah law. He hates everything about us, he hates what we are, he wants to destroy everything that we are in the name of his god.

I don't see any way you can reason with that. I don't see any way to deal with al Qaeda except to hunt it down and kill it.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 11:23 AM on November 25, 2002


"Osama bin Laden was a murderer and a terrorist when the US was arming and supporting him - Saddam Hussein was a tyrant, murderer and using weapons of mass destruction against his own people - while the US looked the other way and supported him" - Parker Palmer

What/who are the latest Frankenstein's being created in bush/cheney/ashcroft laboratory?
posted by specialk420 at 11:25 AM on November 25, 2002


Good points, aacheson.

This letter sounds exactly like what "our side" puts out...part undiluted truth, part righteous and justified indignation, part nonsense.

Not surprising, given that we are all human beings. Those who are warred upon all respond similarly...primarily by warring on others in turn.

So alike -- peoples at war wear different uniforms to tell themselves apart.

I don't see any way to deal with al Qaeda except to hunt it down and kill it.

OBL: I don't see any way to deal with America except to hunt it down and kill it.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 11:26 AM on November 25, 2002


Andrew Sullivan has a pretty thorough discussion of this letter. If it is OBL, the letter does a good job of undercutting those who argued that America needed to examine how its policies led to 9/11. Apparently OBL's main beefs have to do with the fact that (1) Americans have not completely submitted to Islamic law, (2) the U.S. has supported Israel, which must be "erased," and (3) the U.S. permits usury. Wow, I guess we do need to re-examine our evil policies.
posted by pardonyou? at 11:28 AM on November 25, 2002


I see NOTHING about this on US news websites. NOTHING.

Maybe they agree with Bush: "It's not that important. It's not our priority."
posted by homunculus at 11:29 AM on November 25, 2002


Have you read the bible? Goodness, not only does the God of the Jews and Christians condone murder, he condones rape, pillaging, sacrificing your daughters to an angry mob...etc.

Without, hopefully, getting into a flame war, may I suggest that you may want to do a little more reading to see that there is a difference between what the Bible condones versus reports.
posted by squidman at 11:35 AM on November 25, 2002


I noticed that Palestine/Israel was #1 on his list. Yet he hardly mentioned it at all after the initial attacks on NY and Washington preferring instead to harp on about US presence close to Mecca (Saudi Arabia).
posted by PenDevil at 11:38 AM on November 25, 2002


squidman: the bible condones conquering Canaan/Israel (the first time) killing homosexuals and adulterers, and slavery, just off the top of my head.
posted by callmejay at 11:38 AM on November 25, 2002


Who can forget your President Clinton's immoral acts committed in the official Oval office? After that you did not even bring him to account, other than that he 'made a mistake', after which everything passed with no punishment. Is there a worse kind of event for which your name will go down in history and remembered by nations?

Is there an Arabic version of freerepublic.com? Does Rush have an Arabic counterpart? :-)
posted by nofundy at 11:39 AM on November 25, 2002


i still say newt wrote it.
maybe drudge, but probably newt.
it woulda taken drudge a week to write that much.
posted by tsarfan at 11:40 AM on November 25, 2002


Psalm 137: 8-9
8.O daughter of Babylon, who art to be destroyed; happy shall he be, that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us.
9 Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.

Hosea 13:16
Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up.

1 Samuel 15:2-3
2. Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt.
3 Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.

A little Bible for dejah420.
posted by four panels at 11:40 AM on November 25, 2002


"Osama" or whoever wrote this letter, has been getting many of his "facts" from the internet.

Unlike us MeFites, of course.
What's Osama's username, by the way?
posted by matteo at 11:41 AM on November 25, 2002


The American people are the ones who pay the taxes ... So the American people are the ones who fund the attacks against us ...

osama, don't you watch tv? we also fund your attacks against us with our drug buys. we are equal opportunity consumers, just leave us be to enjoy our Miss Universe pageant, mmm K?
posted by danOstuporStar at 11:50 AM on November 25, 2002


...difference between what the Bible condones versus reports.

OK. Let take care of this. Joshua 6, KJV:

[2] And the LORD said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour.
[3] And ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days.
[4] And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams' horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets.
[5] And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram's horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him.
...
[20] So the people shouted when the priests blew with the trumpets: and it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city.
[21] And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword.
...
[24] And they burnt the city with fire, and all that was therein: only the silver, and the gold, and the vessels of brass and of iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the LORD.


That sounds like murder and pillaging, not only condoned, but directly ordered and assisted, by the LORD, doesn't it?

On preview, like four panels said...
posted by mr_roboto at 11:52 AM on November 25, 2002


Its all just more of the same from OBL, who lets face it, just doesn't get the same degree of erectile function from peace as he does war. He dug fighting the russians, he's having a ball taking on the west.
So "war be upon him" and expect us in Mecca and Karachi.
Sorry if that sounds harsh, cuz it is but there's no reasoning with a psychopath and his carefully chosen words are designed to leave no way out but for deadly confrontation.
posted by BentPenguin at 11:53 AM on November 25, 2002


Aacheson...a coverup from the Executive office makes no sense whatsoever. This letter - if it turns out to be real - is the best justification for the war on terrorism that anyone could possibly ask for. We already knew that fanatics believed this stuff...but it has been very hard to make the average American understand that these idiots want him/her dead or enslaved. If this is a real, Osama just did it for us - in the clearest possible language.

Aacheson says: But he also makes good points...

You're missing the point here...these aren't Osama's "good points" - these are the versions of those ideas expressed by Americans and Europeans on the left, who run on the assumption (which I share) that dialog on these issues should be encouraged. Westerners who bring this stuff up are usually arguing that the US is behaving incorrectly in various situations and that US policy should be changed by democratic means. That's a very legit viewpoint (despite what Rush Limbaugh may say).

Osama (if that's who this is) uses the same data, but his point is not to advocate a change in US policy. His point is that policies he objects to are evidence that the US is run by a satanic/Jewish conspiracy, and that all Americans should therefore be killed or forcibly converted to Islam and forced to observe Sharia law under a theocratic/fascist dictatorship. Not a "good point," at all. Not even close.


Psalm 137: 8-9
8.O daughter of Babylon, who art to be destroyed; happy shall he be, that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us.
9 Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.


On the Bible thing...another missed point. The problem with Islamic extremism is that its followers (the people who want to put all of the bad bits of the Koran into practice through the imposition of their literal interpretation of the Koran) are a major segment of the Islamic population - less than 1/5, but still large. They also have control of at least 2 heavily-armed governments. Christian Reconstructionists, who want to do the same thing with the Bible, are a tiny minority, armed for the most part with handguns and rifles. It's not the text that matters: its how many people are actively working to put the worst parts of it into practice, and what they're willing to do that count.
posted by 23lemurs at 11:57 AM on November 25, 2002


"This is God's justice," one of the onlookers says approvingly.
posted by danOstuporStar at 12:07 PM on November 25, 2002


Such nonsense may take in gullible Arab/Islmaists--after all they also believed that 9/11 was not done by Arabs/Islamists but by Jews and/or American...Sad to say, and I know it is perhaps not nice to say so, but I have found Arabs to be very gullible..example: they wallow in TV show put on in Egypt during Ramadan on Elders of Zion, a forgery that was long ago dismissed as silly.
Osama early on said nothing about an agenda other than wanting to rid the Gulf of Westerners...he ignored the Palestine/Israeli struggles etc Why then this carefully maped out program.
Let him seek out some virgins in heaven.
posted by Postroad at 12:17 PM on November 25, 2002


Oh, I'm not really making a point with the Scripture. My first post is more my feeling. I was merely giving dejah420 a little somthin somthin.
posted by four panels at 12:21 PM on November 25, 2002


By the way, this is SO typical. Why do our news organizations suck so badly? I see NOTHING about this on US news websites. NOTHING. Is this suppression by the Executive office or just sloppy and lazy news

Damn American media. Always wanting verify sources before simply printing a letter circulating on the internet (which is, of course, so widely known for always being absolutely truthful).

I don't see any way to deal with al Qaeda except to hunt it down and kill it.
OBL: I don't see any way to deal with America except to hunt it down and kill it.


So then, again we are simply moral equivalents. Your suggestion would be ... to find bin Laden and sign a peace treaty?
posted by MidasMulligan at 12:23 PM on November 25, 2002


I know it is perhaps not nice to say so, but I have found Arabs to be very gullible..example:

Unlike, for example, Germans, Americans, British, Russians, and others who actually produced and distributed this document, including Henry Ford, who continued to publish them even after they were shown to be forgeries. Maybe you should amend your statement to read:

I know it it perhaps not nice to say so, but I have found people in general to be very gullible-- examples are too numerous to mention.
posted by cell divide at 12:26 PM on November 25, 2002


Well you've got to admit, the guy is pretty angry. But you'd be angry too if you were stuck hiding in a cave in northern Pakistan, and the only lasting result of your terror attacks was to watch American hegemony spread even further into the Muslim world with an invasion of your former sanctuary in Muslim Afghanistan, preparations for another invasion of Muslim Iraq, increased support for Israel against the mostly Muslim Palestinians and a willingness to look the other way as Russia battered Muslim Chechnya.

And on top of all that, as Osama sits in his cave, growing more and more angry, he has to contend with the fact that the fickle, "godless" American public really doesn't care "why they hate us" anymore. That question is so last year. It's been just over a year since Osama toppled two of our tallest buildings and killed thousands of people, yet the American public in large measure has moved on. Eavesdrop on any conversation and the odds are about 50 to 1 that people are more likely talking about "Friends" or "The Osbournes" than about Osama. ... So yeah, he's pretty angry. What would you expect?
posted by TBoneMcCool at 12:32 PM on November 25, 2002


First of all, it sounds like a bitter Democrat wrote it, condemning Clinton the way an angry child yells at his parents for smoking pot. Osama, you've got at least four wives, shut up about Clinton. You can be pissed he shot those missiles at you, but still.

The Palestinian issue to one who is fond of Mecca? The Palestinians are hardly on his radar.

F-A-K-E.

Kinda like the letter from Al-Usuqof that fooled the Asia Times.

But if it is from Osama, I hope he's not getting too lonely as governments the world over are killing his henchmen.

Witness:
ALGIERS, Nov 25 (Reuters) - Algerian security forces have killed the top al Qaeda official in North Africa and the Sahel region in Batna province, 320 km (200 miles) east of Algiers, the official Algerian news agency APS reported on Monday.

Government security officials identified the man as Emad Abdelwahid Ahmed Alwan, alias abu Mohamed, a 37-year-old Yemeni citizen.

APS described Alwan as the "al Qaeda representative for the Sahel region and the Maghreb".
posted by swerdloff at 12:32 PM on November 25, 2002


"It is saddening to tell you that you are the worst civilization witnessed by the history of mankind"

Dang, he's mean. I bet he's not even all that saddened by it.
posted by hackly_fracture at 12:33 PM on November 25, 2002


Let him seek out some virgins in heaven.

Let him seek out some white raisins in heaven.
posted by homunculus at 12:38 PM on November 25, 2002


Oh, and not to quibble, but the Bible thing....well, Christains claim to draw the bulk of their inspiration and teachings from the New Testament of the Bible, which most certainly does not condone rape, violence, genocide, etc. Even if there are rife examples of all of this in the Old Testament.
posted by pjgulliver at 12:52 PM on November 25, 2002


You steal our wealth and oil at paltry prices because of you international influence and military threats. This theft is indeed the biggest theft ever witnessed by mankind in the history of the world.

So, oil is cheap then?

The rich Arab nations force oil prices up through their cartel, which in turn makes it harder for poorer countries in other parts of the world to buy oil. Their cartel makes oil a much more expensive product than it should be.
posted by einarorn at 12:56 PM on November 25, 2002


pjgulliver -- I think Christians would be better off, then, in putting out some sort of guide as to which part of their book(s) is the unquestionable word of the creator of the universe and which part is just in there cause, um . . .
posted by hackly_fracture at 12:58 PM on November 25, 2002


Hackly, though I was raised in the Episopal Chuch, I am by no means a serious Christian (certainly nonpracticing now) and do not claim anything other than the most cursory knowledge of Torah, Talmud, or of the Koran.

That being said though, any Christain will tell you unquestionably that the part of the Bible that deserves the most attention from Christains is the New Testament. The New Testament is the part of the Bible that chronicles the life of Christ and the correspondence (lessons) of the early Church. If Christains did not draw most of their moral code from the New Testament, they wouldn't be Christains, they would be Jews who decided to add a couple obscure books to the Torah.

Also, a prime difference between the Bible and the Koran is that the Bible is recognized by all as a living historical document. There is no preconcieved notion that everypart of the Bible was directly dictated by God. Yes, people may argue that God influenced the different writers, caused them in some way to write what they did. But the old Testament is recognized as the story of the Jewish people (in which God was a prime mover) just as the New Testament is the story of the life of Christ, narrated by four different authors. Muslims hold that the entire Koran was dictated by God to Mohammed and in its current form is a perfect copy of the origninal dictation. For interesting views on this subject from a current NYTimes article, see the post by homunculus.

So my point is, yes Christains have done horrible things. And yes there is enough pain in suffering in the Bible to make anyone who truly reflects on it sick. But at the end of the day the bulk of the Bible from whence Christian draw their belief system is a decidely peacefull document. Having never studied Koran I can't compare the two here.
posted by pjgulliver at 1:08 PM on November 25, 2002


pjgulliver -- I will concede that, for many, the Bible is indeed recognized as a "living historic document," and that more or less anyone is free to go in and take from any book that which they want and ignore the rest.

I also realize that, to a large extent, the Old Testament is included in the (Christian) Bible in order to prove that Jesus was foretold by "the prophets." For many Christians, indeed, the NT is the real deal.

Nevertheless, gotta tell you, I was raised Christian in a congregation that believed that every *word* of the Bible was directly dictated by God. And, indeed, we were not the only congregation. And when issues such as homosexuality come up Fundamentalist Christians have no problem leafing back in the book to find the appropriate Old Testament condemnation. Though they seem a bit more reluctant to eat kosher.

Peace, though. I was too snarky before.
posted by hackly_fracture at 1:18 PM on November 25, 2002


The letter sounds like a mixture of Hitler, Pat Robertson, Al Gore, and my uncle Phil from West Virginia.

Isn't that a scary combination?

We call you to be a people of manners, principles, honour, and purity; to reject the immoral acts of fornication, homosexuality, intoxicants, gambling's, and trading with interest.

Wow. To "Osama" that's why "they" hate us, but to me, that's a perfect description of a great Saturday night. I'll take our rich, Jew controlled, homosexual nation over his smelly, sanctimonious, murderous Sharialand any day.

I wish we as a species could get it through our thick heads that religion is slavery when literalized or enforced. Or I wish I had been born in the future, after the few remaining humans have cast religion into the toilet one and for all. The rotting corpse of the past that many among us are still chained to is starting to really stink.
posted by sir walsingham at 1:20 PM on November 25, 2002


Religion is just fine, until humans get their hands on it. Christianity, Islam - makes no difference when the monkeys try to interpret it "their" way.
posted by owillis at 1:21 PM on November 25, 2002


If Sharon is a man of peace in the eyes of Bush, then we are also men of peace!!!

Point taken.

The first thing that we are calling you to is Islam...It is the religion of Unification of God, sincerity, the best of manners, righteousness, mercy, honour, purity, and piety. It is the religion of showing kindness to others, establishing justice between them, granting them their rights, and defending the oppressed and the persecuted.

Uhhhh, wait a minute...
posted by subpixel at 1:22 PM on November 25, 2002


3. We have given money to and supported Israel, which-despite how much I think it has a right to exist, has a long long history of doing awful and illegal things to the Arabs.

Yeah. Sure.
posted by ParisParamus at 1:27 PM on November 25, 2002


If Christains did not draw most of their moral code from the New Testament, they wouldn't be Christains, they would be Jews who decided to add a couple obscure books to the Torah...But at the end of the day the bulk of the Bible from whence Christian draw their belief system is a decidely peacefull document.

Good points pjgulliver. Now I think if (certain) Christians would stop judging people and trying to force others to follow their rules, people would be much less hostile towards them.
posted by jsonic at 1:37 PM on November 25, 2002


The whole letter has as much internal consistency, rhetorical skill, logical strength, moral weight, and connection with reality as a Chick tract, and deserves a comparable amount of respect and attention.
posted by nickmark at 1:52 PM on November 25, 2002


This does have a slightly more authentic ring than the al Usuquf hoax interview that got Pep Escobar of Asia Times, but read them both. They do prattle on about many of the same things (like Kyoto), which makes me somewhat skeptical. (At least this one doesn't crow, ludicrously, about "conex bombs".) That 21st-century environmentalist message doesn't seem like something that would motivate OBL -- and if it's intended as propaganda (to appeal, for example, to Western leftists) the other stuff in the letter undercuts it (such as the moral arguments that might only appeal to religious conservatives). On that basis, perhaps there is something to it, i.e. it's self-contradictory enough to be authentic. But to me, it really seems cobbled together from several sources.

In the end, this may only have importance because it's circulating among his fringe followers -- and they believe it's authentic. The Escobar one may have been similarly circulating among the Tri-Border region Arabs in South America (allegedly the largest such community on that continent), but seemed more to come from the hands of Westerners even more removed from the inner circles. If it _is_ a hoax, I suspect we can expect OBL to disassociate himself from it in his next communiqué -- but I believe he won't.

At some level, they really do think like this. Consider the Indonesian cleric Bashir, asked for his message to Australians following the Bali bombing (in which his followers are implicated): "Convert to Islam as soon as possible."
posted by dhartung at 1:57 PM on November 25, 2002


But the old Testament is recognized as the story of the Jewish people (in which God was a prime mover) just as the New Testament is the story of the life of Christ, narrated by four different authors

fwiw (not much): it is taught in religious Jewish seminaries that every word of the Torah (and Talmud for that matter) was handed down, by god, at Sinai. Every word. And I've heard more than a few fundamentalist Christians claim the New Testament to be the literal word of the same source. Comparing fundamentalist Islam to moderate, modern perspective of the Old and New Testament isn't happening.

besides, what willis said.
posted by victors at 2:27 PM on November 25, 2002


It is saddening to tell you that you are the worst civilization witnessed by the history of mankind.

Troll.

Seriously, I noticed that there was an odd disconnect between the owner of the Bali bombing vehicle ("According to police, Amrozi even said he was sorry so many Australians had been killed - they had meant to kill Americans.") and OBL's alleged audio recording of the other week ("We had warned Australia about its participation in Afghanistan"). Personally, I believe the little guy -- it's just a vibe, but I think OBL's a bit of an opportunist.
posted by coelecanth at 2:30 PM on November 25, 2002


Victors....

Not to quibble, but the classic books of the Torah and what Christians refer to as the New Testament are too very different documents. The Old Testament has many books that take place after the tale of Exodus, etc, and thus, after the Sinai mountain incidint.
posted by pjgulliver at 2:38 PM on November 25, 2002


That 21st-century environmentalist message doesn't seem like something that would motivate OBL ...

Yeah ... I got a good giggle out of that one too. clearly marks the thing as a hoax ... OBL's fortune comes from oil money - somehow seems to be a bit of a stretch to think he's a big fan of Kyoto. One can almost see the anti-western activist that wrote this simply not being able to resist inserting it.
posted by MidasMulligan at 2:49 PM on November 25, 2002


Once again quibbling argument hounds miss the point.

Is the Bible filled with loads of God-condoned violence? Sure. Does that matter in the real world? Not really. So we got a lot of Christians here -- big deal. Most of the people in this country are too busy worrying about losing their jobs, or fixing their broken car, or wondering who their daughter is going out with to give a rat's ass about how they can be "better people under the eyes of God."

Religious? I got too much other shit to deal with right now.

And the reason our rules on weapons of mass destruction don't apply to every country equally is because some countries, like children, are simply not responsible enough to handle it. Complaining about it is like an 8-year-old complaining to his parents, "it's not fair! You get to play with the gun... why can't I? You're mean!" Gimme a break.

And my final thwacking on the back of your heads with the clue stick: most westerners DON'T support Israel. We acknowledge their right to exist, but don't agree with their policies against the Palestians. Personally, I think Israel is just another theocracy espousing it's dogma and "correctness" at the expense of non-believers -- little different than Saudi Arabia, or even Iraq. This is the goddamned 21st century, people. You can't have a stable country who's base of reasoning stems from "God has chosen us". Let's try something different... say, "Our people have chosen us."
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:03 PM on November 25, 2002


Not to quibble, but the classic books of the Torah and what Christians refer to as the New Testament are too very different documents.

These two books revolve around the same God? Did he change His mind? Can't imagine Jesus ordering the Flood, but since the Old Testament God was Jesus, He apparently did...
posted by laz-e-boy at 3:04 PM on November 25, 2002


Yes, God changed his mind between the "Old" and "New" Testaments. But since he also changes his mind within the "Old" Testament, this is not as suspect as I used to think.
posted by ParisParamus at 3:18 PM on November 25, 2002


fwiw (not much): it is taught in religious Jewish seminaries that every word of the Torah (and Talmud for that matter) was handed down, by god, at Sinai. Every word.

This is, at best, a highly misleading statement. Because even those few Jews who believe that the Torah is the literal word of God don't follow it literally: they rely on the Torah's interpretation from the Talmud.
posted by ParisParamus at 3:23 PM on November 25, 2002


Nice to see how eager so many people are to moderate the views of a hypocritical madman---BRING ON THE FATWAH! BRING IT ON!!!
posted by ParisParamus at 3:24 PM on November 25, 2002


a) We call you to be a people of manners, principles, honour, and purity; to reject the immoral acts of fornication, homosexuality, intoxicants, gambling's, and trading with interest.

Okay, you win. We'll get rid of Las Vegas.
posted by milnak at 3:31 PM on November 25, 2002


The Old Testament has many books that take place after the tale of Exodus, etc, and thus, after the Sinai mountain incident.

You would think this would play into what is taught at yeshivas every day and yet... and what Civil_Disobedient is logically correct as well. We are dealing with fundamentalists on all sides, they are not logical, I would think that ends it. The fact I was personally taught this for 10 years of my life in the US and Israel seems to be 'at best ... highly misleading' as well. OK, sure.

I'm guess I'm confused why every single discussion about these specific criminals that takes place here, fark, lgf, everywhere disintegrates into "my religion is better than yours" -- it's like we've got collective ADD or something -- distractions (as valid as they may or may not be -- fundamentalism, Sadaam, living wage issues, whatever) seem to cloud our focus. As far as I can tell we've got a bunch of criminals who willfully killed a bunch of people last September who are still out there, probably plotting the next strike. wtf?
posted by victors at 3:35 PM on November 25, 2002


you know what: pardon my use of the terms 'every single' and 'everywhere' -- bad debating tact that I hope doesn't undermine my point of genuine confusion...
posted by victors at 3:40 PM on November 25, 2002


Maybe a crazy American Christian terrorist can crash an airplane or two into Mecca.
posted by mrbarrett.com at 3:41 PM on November 25, 2002


It's a fake.

Not once did the writer mention the Great Satan.

Clinton, Kyoto, and Ben Franklin in the same document? Please.
posted by hama7 at 3:50 PM on November 25, 2002


Agree. This is a fake.
posted by muppetboy at 4:00 PM on November 25, 2002


What a hypocritical, ill-informed piece of trash. And lousy exegesis, to boot.
posted by drinkcoffee at 4:17 PM on November 25, 2002


Maybe a crazy American Christian terrorist can crash an airplane or two into Mecca

so you really think that finance (the WTC) and military force (Pentagon) are America's religion?
(they didnt crash planes in St. Peter on 9-11, remember -- what's the Mecca got to do with it?)
posted by matteo at 4:46 PM on November 25, 2002


pardonyou? The United States does permit usury, unless you don't think some of what I call "legalized loan sharks" are in the usury business - check-cashing services and whatnot. And they're everywhere now. Usury is not the lending of money, per se, but the lending of money at exorbitant rates. In any case, these little loan shark-ish operations are often operated by male Protestants. For not noticing this and myriad other reasons, Osama is the international relations version of a troll. Imagine - a troll with homicidal tendencies, overseeing an int'l criminal network.
posted by raysmj at 4:50 PM on November 25, 2002


One of the reasons Bin Laden says he's attacking the U.S. is because the U.S. is occupying land "too close to Mecca."

The WTC and Pentagon (and the White House, target of Plane #4) are symbols and were chosen as targets for their symbolic value.

Mecca is a symobl; and also a religious landmark, of course.

My *sarcastic* comment was meant to imply this. No I don't think the WTC and the Pentagon are religious symbols. But Bin Laden probably does.
posted by mrbarrett.com at 4:54 PM on November 25, 2002


I agree this document does not seem like the type of thing penned by a religious zealot, i do find it interesting to note the references to the Monica Lewniski scandal and the Kyoto treaty. These wouldnt rate so high on my list of grievances if i were an angry middle eastern warmonger. I have to wonder if they were put there simply to gain support for the cause among European / American populations.
posted by sophist at 5:02 PM on November 25, 2002


so you really think that finance (the WTC) and military force (Pentagon) are America's religion?

ok, this is exactly what I was talking about. But then I guess as goes the joke, so goes the point...

And Monica was a big deal to the Taliban because Clinton bombed some empty Afghan training camps the day of his impeachment. There's TV footage of them pointing to the bomb craters smiling and saying "This is Monica!"
posted by victors at 5:12 PM on November 25, 2002


re the old testament...maybe you guys can have some fun looking up the religious beliefs of the peoples the israelites attacked......rolling babies into fires during orgies etc....
posted by sgt.serenity at 6:15 PM on November 25, 2002


maybe you guys can have some fun looking up the religious beliefs of the peoples the israelites attacked

what does that have to do with finding and executing OBL, al-Zawahiri, et. al.?
posted by victors at 7:25 PM on November 25, 2002


You can't have a stable country who's base of reasoning stems from "God has chosen us"

Please, call President Bush and explain this to him.
posted by owillis at 7:28 PM on November 25, 2002


I loaded that document into Palm OS Memos and read it on the train ride home. Until I read the Kyoto referenced and felt this violent urge to delete all the threads.
posted by ParisParamus at 7:33 PM on November 25, 2002


I think a point larger than whether OBL wrote this is what the Muslim world in general thinks of it. In other words, is this representitive of what many of the Islamic people and/or leadership think of the U.S.?

I, for one, fear some serious backlash against the U.S., especially whenever our army rolls into Iraq...
posted by beth at 8:21 PM on November 25, 2002


The United States does permit usury, unless you don't think some of what I call "legalized loan sharks" are in the usury business - check-cashing services and whatnot. And they're everywhere now. Usury is not the lending of money, per se, but the lending of money at exorbitant rates.

Ray, that's the modern definition in Christian countries, true. But Islamists believe that any interest charges are usury; in fact, banking systems in several Islamic countries have prohibited usury (riba in Arabic), including parts of the Middle East, Sudan, Iran, and even in Pakistan, where a riba case went to the national supreme court before being overturned. (To be sure, in most of these the banks are able to charge other kinds of fees, and there is an entire philosophy of "Islamic banking".) The usury complaint is actually one that I imagine Osama might make; he's a disciple of Qutb, and this is exactly the sort of thing that made Qutb into a rabid detractor of Western cultures.

Most of the others, though, sound a lot like something a partially Westernized Arab might write.
posted by dhartung at 10:19 PM on November 25, 2002


"there's no reasoning with a psychopath and his carefully chosen words are designed to leave no way out but for deadly confrontation."

Good grief! Sounds so much like the way Bush et al do it!
posted by acrobat at 8:00 AM on November 26, 2002


My guess: this was actually written by some smart ass linguistics student, or Louis F (Nation of Islam wacko).
posted by ParisParamus at 9:50 AM on November 26, 2002


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