Bush and Bin Laden on TV

Bin Laden on TV

Text of Bin Laden's Oct 7, 2001, Speech:

Praise be to God and we beseech Him  for help and forgiveness.  We seek refuge with the Lord of our  bad and evildoing. He whom God  guides is rightly guided but he whom  God leaves to stray, for him wilt thou  find no protector to lead him to the  right way.  I witness that there is no God but  God and Mohammed is His slave and  Prophet.  God Almighty hit  the United States  at its most  vulnerable spot. He  destroyed its  greatest buildings.  Praise be to God.  Here is the United States. It was  filled with terror from its north to its  south and from its east to its west.  Praise be to God.  What the United States tastes today  is a very small thing compared to  what we have tasted for tens of  years.  Our nation has been tasting this  humiliation and contempt for more  than 80 years.  Its sons are being killed, its blood is  being shed, its holy places are being  attacked, and it is not being ruled  according to what God has decreed.  Despite this, nobody cares.  When Almighty God rendered  successful a convoy of Muslims, the  vanguards of Islam, He allowed them  to destroy the United States.  I ask God Almighty  to elevate their  status and grant  them Paradise. He  is the one who is  capable to do so.  When these  defended their  oppressed sons,  brothers, and sisters in Palestine and  in many Islamic countries, the world  at large shouted. The infidels  shouted, followed by the hypocrites.  One million Iraqi children have thus  far died in Iraq although they did not  do anything wrong.  Despite this, we heard no  denunciation by anyone in the world  or a fatwa by the rulers' ulema [body  of Muslim scholars].  Israeli tanks and tracked vehicles  also enter to wreak havoc in  Palestine, in Jenin, Ramallah, Rafah,  Beit Jala, and other Islamic areas and  we hear no voices raised or moves  made.  But if the sword  falls on the United  States after 80  years, hypocrisy  raises its head  lamenting the  deaths of these  killers who  tampered with the  blood, honour, and  holy places of the Muslims.  The least that one can describe these  people is that they are morally  depraved.  They champion falsehood, support  the butcher against the victim, the  oppressor against the innocent child.  May God mete them the punishment  they deserve.  I say that the matter is clear and  explicit.  In the aftermath of this event and  now that senior US officials have  spoken, beginning with Bush, the  head of the world's infidels, and  whoever supports him, every Muslim  should rush to defend his religion.  They came out in  arrogance with  their men and  horses and  instigated even  those countries that belong to Islam  against us.  They came out to fight this group of  people who declared their faith in  God and refused to abandon their  religion.  They came out to fight Islam in the  name of terrorism.  Hundreds of thousands of people,  young and old, were killed in the  farthest point on earth in Japan.  [For them] this is not a crime, but  rather a debatable issue.  They bombed Iraq and considered  that a debatable issue.  But when a dozen  people of them  were killed in  Nairobi and Dar es  Salaam,  Afghanistan and  Iraq were bombed  and all hypocrite  ones stood behind  the head of the  world's infidelity - behind the Hubal  [an idol worshipped by pagans before  the advent of Islam] of the age -  namely, America and its supporters.  These incidents divided the entire  world into two regions - one of faith  where there is no hypocrisy and  another of infidelity, from which we  hope God will protect us.  The winds of faith  and change have  blown to remove  falsehood from the  [Arabian] peninsula  of Prophet  Mohammed, may  God's prayers be  upon him.  As for the United States, I tell it and  its people these few words: I swear  by Almighty God who raised the  heavens without pillars that neither  the United States nor he who lives in  the United States will enjoy security  before we can see it as a reality in  Palestine and before all the infidel  armies leave the land of Mohammed,  may God's peace and blessing be  upon him.  God is great and glory to Islam.  May God's peace, mercy, and  blessings be upon you. 

October 9, 2001  NYT 

Bin Laden's Media Savvy: Expert Timing of Threats

     With his turban and camouflage jacket, his ornate Arabic and harsh vows of continued terror against America,
     Osama bin Laden revealed in his speech the instinctive cunning that has made him such a formidable foe.
This was in fact Mr. bin Laden's fourth call for jihad, or holy war, but this appeal differed in important ways from his
earlier ones. First and foremost was the elevation of the suffering of Iraq, and especially of Palestine, as leading causes
of his righteous indignation.

Moreover, the taped speech, broadcast over a popular Arabic satellite channel and rebroadcast repeatedly by CNN and
other networks, gave the Saudi-born exile his most visible platform ever to vent
a litany of grievances widely shared in the Arab world.
His choice of outlets was apt:officials complained today that Al Jazeera,
the Arabic network, had obeyed Mr. bin Laden's instructions to delay broadcasting the speech until after the start of the American bombing of Afghanistan.

This use of modern media to make his pitch fits neatly with what has by now become a familiar bin Laden tactic: turning the West's own modern technology against it.
The timing, as well, was designed to deny President Bush a media monopoly for his declaration of war against terrorism. Just as Mr. bin Laden's followers hijacked America's jet planes and turned them against its symbols of
economic and military might, Mr. bin Laden stole Mr. Bush's media thunder. A few Arabic newspapers even featured
pictures of the two men side-by-side on their front pages.

Perversely mirroring the president's division of the world into those who stood with America in rejecting terrorism and
those who stood against her, Mr. bin Laden, too, divided people into the "faithful" who side with him, and those who
oppose him, the "infidels." What seemed a deliberate mockery of Mr. Bush's appeal made some in Washington uneasy.
"I'm a little disturbed that his press people may be as good as ours," one official lamented.

While a vast majority of Muslims are repelled and horrified by Al Qaeda's methods, said Nawaf Obaid, a Saudi
analyst, "the speech suggests he has the gift to strike at the very core of the grievances that the common Arab man in the
street has toward his respective government, especially in Saudi Arabia."

Whether it be his evocation of Palestine, his vow to end the 80 years of "humiliation and disgrace" that Muslims have
endured since the carving up the Ottoman empire, or his desire to re-create the caliphate, the Muslim empire that
scholar Bernard Lewis notes was based for half a millennium in Iraq, Mr. bin Laden's words have disturbing resonance
among many Muslims.

Mr. bin Laden's first appeal for a holy war, issued in 1992, urged believers to kill American soldiers in the horn of
Africa, Somalia, and of course, in Arabia, the custodian of Islam's two holiest places, said David Schenker, a research
fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. There was virtually no mention of Palestine.

The 1996 fatwa, a sprawling 40- page document, cited the oppression of Palestinians by Israel, but the condemnation
was buried in an endless list of Muslim grievances against the United States and injustices endured by Muslims in
Bosnia, Kosovo, Chechnya, Somalia, Kashmir, the Philippines, Tajikistan and Eritrea, to name a few.

A three-page call-to-arms, published in February 1998, focused first on the plight of Muslims in the Arabian peninsula,
second on the Iraqi people, and finally, not on Palestinians, but on the "occupation" of holy Jerusalem.

But while this declaration of war by the newly formed World Islamic Front for Jihad against Jews and Crusaders was
signed by the leaders of militant groups from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Egypt, among others, there were no signatores
from militant Palestinian groups, Mr. Schenker notes.

In seeking to justify mass murder and align his terrorism with the Palestinian cause, Mr. bin Laden understands — and,
former associates note, even envies — the appeal. Mr. bin Laden is trying to expand his terrorist base, says Daniel
Benjamin, a former White House official in the Bush administration who is writing a book on religious terror.

Each fatwa is more savage and ambitious than the last, these experts note. While the earlier opinions targeted American
soldiers in Africa and the Gulf, the latest call for jihad indicts and targets all Americans. It revels in the "horror from
north to south and east to west" that has been inflicted by those whom he praises as "vanguard Muslims."
October 9, 2001
Bin Laden Images Mesmerize Muslims

    CAIRO, Oct. 8 — Osama bin Laden's internationally televised speech on Sunday mesmerized many Muslims with its
    religious and historical imagery, a powerful combination that only magnified his standing with people who wanted
to see him as a heroic spokesman for the weak against the strong.

Framed in the camera's eye by barren rock and a solitary rifle, Mr. bin Laden summoned up Islam's desert roots. He
spoke of swords and horses and the camp of the infidel enemy. His language recalled the contained fury of passages in
the Koran where God promises Muslims that they will triumph over nonbelievers and hypocrites who only pretend to
accept Islam.

"The way he talks, his tone and his quiet voice, his vocabulary and his logic — it's all so charismatic," said Doaa
Mostafa, a student of Arabic literature at Ain Shams University in Cairo. "He is so convincing. This was the first time
I've seen him on TV and I felt sure he is not a terrorist. I felt his aim is to protect Islam, nothing more."

But while Mr. bin Laden impressed many Muslim listeners with his simple phrases, his championing of the Palestinians
and his flowery contempt for the United States, he also frightened others with his vision of an apocalyptic war between
Muslims and non-Muslims.

"He made me feel he is defending the Arabs' rights, since all Arab leaders are silent," said Mohammed Ahmed, another
Ain Shams University student. "But I would prefer that he stop using violence and negotiate instead of kill. We agree
with him on his point of view, but we do not agree with his methods."

In his speech, the Saudi exile condemned the Muslim leaders who have sympathized with Americans over the attacks on
the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. He called them hypocrites, a word with particular resonance for Muslims
because it is used throughout the Koran to describe people who falsely claim to be Muslim.

According to Islam, which considers the Koran the word of God, hypocrites are doomed to a hell worse than the one
that awaits nonbelievers. "The hypocrites," the Koran states in one of many such passages, "will be in the lowest depths
of the fire."

"This is language that can really reach the people, especially in the gulf where the tension is very high," said Fahmi
Howeidi, an influential writer on Islamic politics for Al Ahram newspaper in Cairo.

Similarly, the historical episodes Mr. bin Laden chose to invoke revealed much about his view of the conflicts that
continue to simmer in the Arab world, placing them among Islam's greatest defeats. His reference to 80 years of
"humiliation and disgrace" was apparently a timeline that began with the end of the Ottoman empire and the beginning
of British colonization of the Middle East after World War I.

In the same broadcast, Ayman al- Zawahiri, Mr. bin Laden's deputy and the leader of the Islamic Jihad group, vowed
that "the tragedy of al Andalus" would not be repeated. He was referring to the period widely considered the Islamic
golden age in Andalusia, in Spain, that ended in the ignominy of Muslims being driven out of Europe by Christian
armies in the 15th century.

Such historical allusions may well tap into the widespread sense of siege among many Muslims who see themselves
threatened by a modern world dominated by the United States and Western secularism.

But Mr. bin Laden was not the first would-be savior of the Muslim world to use the language of religion as part of his
appeal. Most recently, the Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein, whose political roots are in secular Arab nationalism, tried to
portray himself as a champion of Islam to garner support.

But Mr. bin Laden has the unique advantage of having been born into one of the richest families in Saudi Arabia, while
now living the austere life of mountain warrior.

"Here you have a simple man who presents himself as someone who left behind millions of dollars to defend Muslim
dignity," Mr. Howeidi said. "He has become the symbol now of challenge to the West."

Still, there was little evidence, so far, that anyone in Egypt was ready to answer Mr. bin Laden's call for battle against
the nonbelievers and Americans.

About 30 students, all members of a group devoted to the Arab nationalism of the late Gamal Abdel Nasser, held a
brief protest rally at Ain Shams. A young woman climbed the iron fence to the university grounds and shouted out
anti-American slogans, while police armed with bamboo sticks surrounded the protesters. Small demonstrations also
erupted at a few other universities.

"We all feel sympathy and admiration for bin Laden," said Mostafa Rushdi Ali, a business administration student at
Helwan University in Cairo. "But Egypt must remain neutral because if we interfere this will worsen our economy."