Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Reading al Qaeda

Our friend John von Heyking sends this along. Like Yassir Arafat, who used different rhetoric before Western and Palestinian audiences, al Qaeda says one thing in messages directed at the West and something else--something much more chilling--to its Muslim audiences.

Discussions - 4 Comments

Should we have expected anything different?

The writings by al Qaeda members collected by this man in his book are nearly indispensable to English-speaking persons who want to understand the movement as its members understand it, and as they want their fellow Muslims to understand it. I find that many people tend to underestimate the venom of their enemies, as well as their intelligence. This was true in the Cold War, and it is still true. For example, I teach the Ayatollah Khomeini's book, "Islam and Revolution" in my course on comparative politics; it helps students learn what a real enemy is.

And, that teaching is relevant to not just the Middle East ...

A few years back, in the Dallas/Forth Worth Texas metroplex where I live, the Muslim community held a conference celebrating the teachings of Ayatollah Khomeini.

True...but the two messages are complementary. In the way that Bin Laden spins it our foreign policy simply serves as evidence that the house of peace can never reconcile itself with the house of war. Some Muslims need this evidence. Bin Laden doesn't need the physical evidence of this fact because he understands that the conflict is on the level of ideas, that conflict is inevitable so long as the west does not accept the "truth". For those capable of knowing things apriori Bin Laden and Al Queda preach that Islam must always be at war against the non-belivers. For those who need evidence of why Islam must always be at war...for why conflicting ideas/belief systems must always result in tension Bin Laden offers up the evidence in the message he sends to the west. It is a two pronged argument but it is the same argument.

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