Osama Bin Laden's
Excerpt of an Analysis by Bernard Wasserstein
On February 23, 1998, Al-Quds al-Arabi, an Arabic newspaper published in London, printed the full text of a "Declaration of the World Islamic Front for Jihad against the Jews and the Crusaders." . . . The statement -- a magnificent piece of eloquent, at times even poetic Arabic prose -- reveals a version of history that most Westerners will find unfamiliar. Bin Ladin's grievances are not quite what many would expect. . . "The three areas of grievance listed in [Bin Laden's Feb 23] declaration -- Arabia, Iraq, and Jerusalem -- will be familiar to observers of the Middle Eastern scene. What may be less familiar is the sequence and emphasis. For Muslims, as we in the West sometimes tend to forget but those familiar with Islamic history and literature know, the holy land par excellence is Arabia -- Mecca, where the Prophet was born; Medina, where he established the first Muslim state; and the Hijaz, whose people were the first to rally to the new faith and become its standard-bearers. . . Thereafter, except for a brief interlude in Syria, the center of the Islamic world and the scene of its major achievements was Iraq, the seat of the caliphate for half a millennium. For Muslims, no piece of land once added to the realm of Islam can ever be finally renounced, but none compares in significance with Arabia and Iraq. . ." After the success of the jihad and the recapture of Jerusalem, Saladin and his successors seem to have lost interest in the city. In 1229, one of them even ceded Jerusalem to the Emperor Frederick II as part of a general compromise agreement between the Muslim ruler and the Crusaders. Jerusalem was retaken in 1244 after the Crusaders tried to make it a purely Christian city, then eventually became a minor provincial town. Widespread interest in Jerusalem was reawakened only in the nineteenth century, first by the European powers' quarrels over custody of the Christian holy places and then by new waves of Jewish immigration after 1882. . . "To most Americans, the declaration is a travesty, a gross distortion of the nature and purpose of the American presence in Arabia. They should also know that for many -- perhaps most -- Muslims, the declaration is an equally grotesque travesty of the nature of Islam and even of its doctrine of jihad. . ."
Foreign Affairs, Nov 1998
Text of Fatwa Urging Jihad Against Americans -1998
Note - The following is the statement of Bin-Laden in 1998. It is not accepted Moslem opinion, and is definitely not the view of MidEastWeb or anyone associated with MidEastWeb.
London Al-Quds al-'Arabi in Arabic -- 23 Feb 98, Page 3
"Text of World Islamic Front's Statement Urging Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders" -- Al-Quds al-'Arabi headline; in a front-page report, Al- Quds al-'Arabi says that the statement was "faxed to Al- Quds al-'Arabi and signed by Shaykh Usamah Bin-Muhammad Bin-Ladin (the prominent Saudi oppositionist); Ayman al-Zawahiri, amir of the Jihad Group in Egypt; Abu- Yasir Rifa'i Ahmad Taha, a leader of the [Egyptian] Islamic Group; Shaykh Mir Hamzah, secretary of the Jamiat-ul-Ulema-e-Pakistan; and Fazlul Rahman, amir of the Jihad Movement in Bangladesh"
Praise be to God, who revealed the Book, controls the clouds, defeats factionalism, and says in His Book: "But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the pagans wherever ye find them, seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war)"; and peace be upon our Prophet, Muhammad Bin-'Abdallah, who said I have been sent with the sword between my hands to ensure that no one but God is worshipped, God who put my livelihood under the shadow of my spear and who inflicts humiliation and scorn on those who disobey my orders. The Arabian Peninsula has never -- since God made it flat, created its desert, and encircled it with seas -- been stormed by any forces like the crusader armies spreading in it like locusts, eating its riches and wiping out its plantations. All this is happening at a time in which nations are attacking Muslims like people fighting over a plate of food. In the light of the grave situation and the lack of support, we and you are obliged to discuss current events, and we should all agree on how to settle the matter.
No one argues today about three facts that are known to everyone; we will list them, in order to remind everyone.
First, for over seven years the United States has been occupying the lands of Islam in the holiest of places, the Arabian Peninsula, plundering its riches, dictating to its rulers, humiliating its people, terrorizing its neighbors, and turning its bases in the Peninsula into a spearhead through which to fight the neighboring Muslim peoples.
If some people have in the past argued about the fact of the occupation, all the people of the Peninsula have now acknowledged it.
The best proof of this is the Americans' continuing aggression against the Iraqi people using the Peninsula as a staging post, even though all its rulers are against their territories being used to that end, but they are helpless. Second, despite the great devastation inflicted on the Iraqi people by the crusader-Zionist alliance, and despite the huge number of those killed, which has exceeded 1 million... despite all this, the Americans are once against trying to repeat the horrific massacres, as though they are not content with the protracted blockade imposed after the ferocious war or the fragmentation and devastation.
So here they come to annihilate what is left of this people and to humiliate their Muslim neighbors.
Third, if the Americans' aims behind these wars are religious and economic, the aim is also to serve the Jews' petty state and divert attention from its occupation of Jerusalem and murder of Muslims there.
The best proof of this is their eagerness to destroy Iraq, the strongest neighboring Arab state, and their endeavor to fragment all the states of the region such as Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Sudan into paper statelets and through their disunion and weakness to guarantee Israel's survival and the continuation of the brutal crusade occupation of the Peninsula.
All these crimes and sins committed by the Americans are a clear declaration of war on God, his messenger, and Muslims. And ulema have throughout Islamic history unanimously agreed that the jihad is an individual duty if the enemy destroys the Muslim countries. This was revealed by Imam Bin-Qadamah in "Al- Mughni," Imam al-Kisa'i in "Al- Bada'i," al-Qurtubi in his interpretation, and the shaykh of al-Islam [not further identified] in his books, where he said "As for the fighting to repulse [an enemy], it is aimed at defending sanctity and religion, and it is a duty as agreed [by the ulema]. Nothing is more sacred than belief except repulsing an enemy who is attacking religion and life."
On that basis, and in compliance with God's order, we issue the following fatwa to all Muslims
The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies -- civilians and military -- is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it, in order to liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque and the holy mosque [Mecca] from their grip, and in order for their armies to move out of all the lands of Islam, defeated and unable to threaten any Muslim. This is in accordance with the words of Almighty God, "and fight the pagans all together as they fight you all together," and "fight them until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in God."
This is in addition to the words of Almighty God "And why should ye not fight in the cause of God and of those who, being weak, are ill- treated (and oppressed) -- women and children, whose cry is 'Our Lord, rescue us from this town, whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from thee one who will help!'"
We -- with God's help -- call on every Muslim who believes in God and wishes to be rewarded to comply with God's order to kill the Americans and plunder their money wherever and whenever they find it. We also call on Muslim ulema, leaders, youths, and soldiers to launch the raid on Satan's U.S. troops and the devil's supporters allying with them, and to displace those who are behind them so that they may learn a lesson.
Almighty God said "O ye who believe, give your response to God and His Apostle, when He calleth you to that which will give you life. And know that God cometh between a man and his heart, and that it is He to whom ye shall all be gathered."
Almighty God also says "O ye who believe, what is the matter with you, that when ye are asked to go forth in the cause of God, ye cling so heavily to the earth! Do ye prefer the life of this world to the hereafter? But little is the comfort of this life, as compared with the hereafter. Unless ye go forth, He will punish you with a grievous penalty, and put others in your place; but Him ye would not harm in the least. For God hath power over all things."
Almighty God also says "So lose no heart, nor fall into despair. For ye must gain mastery if ye are true in faith."
Comments below are not those of MidEastWeb, but shed light on the Islamic position and on Bin-Laden.
Editor's Note on the word "fatwa": it means judgement
Mr. Bin Laden has been involved in the declaration several "fatwas." He allegedly uses this these fatwas to justify his "holy war" or "Jihad" against America and her allies.
According to the Islamic science called "Usul al-fiqh" (Principles of Jurisprudence), a fatwa is binding when these four conditions are satisfied:
1) It is in line with relevant legal proofs, deduced from Koranic verses and hadiths;
2) It is issued by a person (or a board) having due knowledge and sincerity of heart;
3) It is free from individual opportunism, and not depending on political servitude;
4) It is adequate with the needs of the contemporary world.
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Osama Bin Laden - Fatwa of 1998