Bin Laden Preaches Against U

Bin Laden Preaches against U.S.

Asim Daraz, an Egyptian journalist who lived in Afghanistan and associated for a while with Usama Bin Laden, showed videotape excerpts in London yesterday that help explain Bin Laden’s hatred for the U.S., according to ash-Sharq al-Awsat.

One was a sermon Bin Laden delivered in Jidda at his family’s mosque in 1990, in which he spoke of the first Palestinian intifada or uprising. Daraz points out that the Palestinian struggle, and U.S. support for Israel, were central to Bin Laden’s hatred for America. Already in 1990 Bin Laden appeared in the sermon to have forgotten all about the Soviet foe, which had withdrawn from Afghanistan the year before. He concentrated all of his hatred on the U.S., because, he said, of the humiliation every Arab and every Muslim feels over the treatment of the Palestinians by the Israelis and the U.S. backing for the latter.

Over the years in interviews and statements, Bin Laden did in fact make Palestine central to his struggle, usually referring to Jerusalem and speaking in terms of the issue of the occupation of Islam’s holiest cities by infidels. While he was also referring to the US bases in Saudi Arabia, one of his referents was definitely Palestine. Many observers in the U.S. press have suggested that the Arab-Israeli conflict was irrelevant to al-Qaida, but this is simply not the case.

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