The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Bin Laden and Palestine

The latest Times Literary Supplement has a review piece on several books about al-Qaeda, notably its ideology. Here's a passage worth highlighting from Jihadi studies:

"Although his discourse has evolved, there are some constants, one of which is Palestine. For some curious reason, there has emerged a perception – particularly in the US – that Bin Laden did not care about the Palestinian cause until after 9/11, when he found it politically opportune to mention it. This is incorrect. As Bergen has made clear, Bin Laden’s first public speeches in the late 1980s were about Palestine and the need to boycott American goods because of the US support for Israel. In Lawrence’s book, Palestine is mentioned in seven of the eight major pre-9/11 declarations, and thirteen of the sixteen post-9/11 texts. Palestine is the ultimate symbol of Muslim suffering and Bin Laden’s message would be weaker without it. The belief that Palestine is irrelevant for the war on terrorism is arguably the greatest delusion of the post-9/11 era."

Read the rest of the review -- that passage was about Bruce Lawrence's Bin Laden reader, Messages to the World. Also mentioned are Omar Nasiri's Inside Jihad and an essay by Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Globalization and the Radical Loser.