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hy do people follow Osama bin Laden? Could it be that they see
him as expressing what they themselves believe? Could it be that
what Osama bin Laden says has an element of truth to it, which
Americans fail to see, and that what he says simply makes a lot of sense to
some people?

I think the answer to these questions is undoubtedly: Yes; what Osama

bin Laden says does make a lot of sense to some people and these same
people also see him as someone who can articulate—well—that which they
themselves believe.

I vehemently despise the taking of innocent human life—life is

precious—and I believe that those who intentionally take innocent lives
through acts of murder, terrorism, and war should be prosecuted for their
horrendous crimes. But I can also appreciate Osama bin Laden’s positions
and his arguments, and I can also admire him, his cause, and the
dedication he has to that cause.

Osama bin Laden and his followers are strict adherents of a specific,
Arabian sect of (Sunni) Islam known as Wahhabism, which takes its name
from its founder: Muhammad Ibn Abd al Wahhab, who believed and
taught that the Qur’an and the sayings and life-example of the prophet of
Islam (i.e., Muhammad) should be adhered to quite literally.

Most Muslims, however—being human—don’t like this literal

application of the Qur’an and the life of the Prophet Muhammad; any
more than most Christians—being human—like a literal application of the
New Testament and the life-example of Christ. Most believers—whether
Islamic or Christian—prefer doing as little as possible in order to gain
eternal life; despite what the founders of their (respective) religions have

Osama bin Laden and the Wahhabists believe they should take the
teachings of the Qur’an and the life-example of the Prophet Muhammad
very seriously; and I greatly respect them for doing so. Likewise, I, too,
take the teachings of the New Testament and the life-example of Christ
very seriously. So, Osama bin Laden and I do have something important in
common: we are both believers whose actions are based upon our beliefs,
which we take very seriously.

We have many other things in common as well, such as the belief that
it’s wrong for the U. S. to put its military forces in Arabia; that it’s wrong
for the U. S. to prop-up the current regime of the House of Saud in Saudi
Arabia; that it’s wrong for the U. S. to invade and occupy Muslim lands
which, traditionally, have been a part of the Ottoman Empire—until the
end of World War I—for hundreds of years (1299-1923); and that it’s
wrong for the U. S. to support the Zionist state of Israel and its murderous
oppression of the Palestinian peoples.

Actually, I probably have more in common with Osama bin Laden and
al Qaeda than I do with most Americans—including, especially, American
Christians—except for his/their wanton, murderous disregard for innocent
human lives, which I detest. And that, of course, is the deal-breaker with
me. If I were going to blow up a building—as a symbolic act of political
violence—I would at least phone ahead in order warn everyone to get out
of the building before I set off the bomb. This is what the old Irish
Republican Army often did and the symbolic, political statement they
wanted to make was still made yet no innocent people were killed in the
process. In truth, I don’t like the use of bombs in acts of political violence
anyway; because they are just too dangerous and someone can easily—and
unintentionally—be harmed by them (i.e., there’s no such thing as an
explosives expert).

Unlike most Americans, I’ve seen many people die a violent death—
including someone who was killed in an explosion. Perhaps this is why I
have such a great appreciation for life, and perhaps this is also why I so
detest the heartless taking of innocent human lives? (I suppose we’d have
to ask a psychiatrist about this . . .)

So, while we love to demonize Osama bin Laden, he is—to some

people—the spokesman of their beliefs and a man to be admired. A point
once made by Osama bin Laden, which really resonates with me, was the
accusation of terrorism he once made against America regarding our
treatment of the Japanese peoples during World War II. And I’m not
talking here about the concentration camps many Japanese-Americans
were interred within, which is bad enough, rather, I’m speaking about
America’s decimation of two, large Japanese cities (i.e., Hiroshima and
Nagasaki), which incinerated tens of thousands of innocent men, women,
and children.

I think Osama bin Laden makes a valid point here. Does he not?

Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda believe they are justified in killing
innocent Americans and Israelis because we struck the first blows—by
killing innocent Iraqis (during the Gulf War) and Palestinians respectively.

Al Qaeda was never a threat to the U. S. until that time (i.e., 1990) and
al Qaeda will cease to be a threat the moment we decide to do the right
thing: leave the Muslim world to sort-out its own problems; stop our
support of Israel; and apologize to the Muslim world for what we’ve done
to it. In other words, America needs to come clean and repent of its evil
deeds and its hypocrisy.

If we say that we believe in justice, liberty, and freedom for all who are
oppressed; and if we say that we believe it is wrong to take innocent
human lives, then we need to start acting like it.
Until then, people like Osama bin Laden, his followers, and myself will
continue to call America to account for the evil we have done and the evil
we continue to do unto this very day—with no foreseeable end in sight.