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Why Al Qaeda Attacked Us


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Why al Qaeda attacked us Steve Elsey March 9, 2011 POLS 3100

The attacks on September 11, 2001 were one of the most shocking things to happen on U.S. soil. The attacks are regarded as the most deadly terrorist attack to ever happen on American soil. It is one of the events that will happen in your life where you remember exactly where you were when you heard about it. I remember being in a high school photography class, where we didn’t even do anything to with photography that day, we just watched the news to see what was happening. Most of the American people wondered why we would be attacked in such a way, and what would possibly cause someone to hate us so badly. Osama bin Laden issued a letter to Americans explaining his reasoning behind the attacks, and their desire to continue attacking afterwards. The reasons he gives are that we attack them and continue to attack them; we have oppression and aggression towards them; and finally, they attack civilians because civilians chose our government, and are thereby responsible for the government actions. He also tells us what is required for them to stop attacking, which include: being called to Islam; stop our “oppression, lies, immortality and debauchery; to take an honest stance with ourselves to find that we are “a nation without principles or manners, and that the values and principles to you are something which you merely demand from others, not that which you yourself must adhere to”; stop supporting Israel; leave their lands; end support of corrupt leaders in their countries; and lastly, to deal with them on a basis of mutual interests and benefits. (Full text: bin Laden's 'letter to America’) In this paper I will try to explain at least some of the motives behind al Qaeda’s decision to attack us on that morning. The people involved with al Qaeda believe that the United States and their allies have, and will continue to, attack them. In their fatwa of 1996, it is stated that “It should not be hidden

from you that the people of Islam had suffered from aggression, iniquity and injustice imposed on them by the Zionist­Crusaders alliance and their collaborators; to the extent that the Muslims blood became the cheapest and their wealth as loot in the hands of the enemies.” As well as “The people of Islam awakened and realised that they are the main target for the aggression of the Zionist­Crusaders alliance” (Bin Ladens Fatwa) Again in his 1998 fatwa he claims that “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.” He also declared that these “crimes and sins” that were by the Americans are a direct attack on Allah, muslims, and his messenger.(Jihad against Jews and Crusaders) Bin Laden has also stated that attacks will continue to happen so long as the United States supports Israel. He went so far as to say “It is not fair that Americans should live in peace as long as our brothers in Gaza live in the worst conditions.” (Rueters) He also argues that we “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.” (Full text: bin Laden’s ‘letter to America). Regardless of my feelings on oil prices(I personally feel that middle eastern nations collude to raise prices), these followers believe that they are being robbed by us. Al Qaeda believes it has much justification in attacking civilians for its cause. In that letter bin Laden addressed to the United States, he gives several arguments as to why they feel like it is necessary to attack the civilians. The first example he gives is that the American

people choose their government, and thereby have chosen a government that is intent on persecuting Palestine and thereby must be punished. He even states that “the American people have the ability and choice to refuse the policies of their Government and even to change it if they want.” He states that the taxes we pay are what funds the planes and bombs which attack their land. He states that the American army is the same as the American people, which employ both men and women, and thereby they have no reason to be sympathetic to either. He states that “Allah, the Almighty, legislated the permission and the option to take revenge. Thus, if we are attacked, then we have the right to attack back. Whoever has destroyed our villages and towns, then we have the right to destroy their villages and towns. Whoever has stolen our wealth, then we have the right to destroy their economy. And whoever has killed our civilians, then we have the right to kill theirs.” (Full text: bin Laden’s ‘letter to America’) In the 1998 fatwa it is also written that “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 al­Aqsa 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 Allah, ‘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 Allah.’” It seems that they have a belief that every follower has a duty to kill every American. One of their main priorities is to attack the Jews and all who support them. Bin Laden stated that “It brings us both laughter and tears to see that you have not yet tired of

repeating your fabricated lies that the Jews have a historical right to Palestine, as it was promised to them in the Torah. Anyone who disputes with them on this alleged fact is accused of anti­semitism. This is one of the most fallacious, widely­circulated fabrications in history. The people of Palestine are pure Arabs and original Semites.”(Full text: bin Laden’s ‘letter to America’) He believes that “the aim is also to serve the Jews' petty state and divert attention from its occupation of Jerusalem and murder of Muslims there.” (Jihad against Jews and Crusaders) In a 1999 Time interview, bin Laden was asked about a December attack on Iraq and he responded with: “There is no doubt that the treacherous attack has confirmed that Britain and America are acting on behalf of Israel and the Jews, paving the way for the Jews to divide the Muslim world once again, enslave it and loot the rest of its wealth.”(Osama bin Laden: Conversation with Terror) The al Qaeda seem content to attack the Jews and their allies, in person or in speech, at every possible moment awarded to them. The al Qaeda does not support any United States presence in any part of the middle east. “Bin Laden is most enraged by the American military presence in Saudi Arabia. Bin Laden was incensed when the Saudis invited U.S. troops to their defense after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. Bin Laden—like many Muslims—considers the continued presence of these armed infidels in Saudi Arabia the greatest possible desecration of the holy land. “(Plotz, David) Most of the hatred they have towards us is our western ideals. They do not agree with much of the practice that happens in “Western Society.” Bin Laden wrote “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.”(Full text: bin Laden’s ‘letter to America’). He even goes so far as to say that “It is saddening to tell you that you are the worst civilization witnessed by the history of mankind.”( Full text: bin Laden’s ‘letter to America’) He goes on to address the immoral acts that President Clinton had in the Oval Office, and condones us for not making him accountable. They believe that the sexual, economic and overall state of our country needs to be punished. Since they feel Islam should be promoted throughout the world, they feel it is their duty to combat these lifestyles. In closing the best way to finish is by a quote bin Laden had in his 1999 Time interview “Hostility toward America is a religious duty, and we hope to be rewarded for it by God. To call us Enemy No. 1 or 2 does not hurt us. Osama bin Laden is confident that the Islamic nation will carry out its duty. I am confident that Muslims will be able to end the legend of the so­called superpower that is America.”

References “Full text: bin Laden’s ‘letter to America”. 24 November 2002. “Bin Laden’s Fatwa”. August 1996. “Jihad against Jews and Crusaders”. 23 February 1998. Rueters. “Bin Laden: Attacks on U.S. to go on as long as it supports Israel”. 24 Jan 2010.

“Osama bin Laden: Conversation with Terror”. Time. 11 January 1999. <,9171,989958­1,00.html> Plotz, David. “What does Osama bin Laden Want?”. Slate. 14 September 2001. <>

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