Bin Laden Studied Economics

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I was going through some of essays from the university days and came across the following which I thought was relevant today. I wrote it in the year 1999 long before 9/11.

�.it might be worthwhile to consider bin Laden's ideological roots, and how someone who studied economics and management in King Abdul Aziz University turned out to be America's most wanted terrorist.

Some have argued that Laden is an outgrowth of America's misguided cold war policies when America aided the Afghan mujahiden fighting the Soviet-backed communist regime. Laden, a wealthy Saudi, participated in the war against Soviet troops in Afghanistan and was also involved in establishing a base for Arab mujahiden fighting in Afghanistan. Masoud (1998) suggests Laden is a product of Saudi Arabia's commitment to Wahabism, a strict and puritanical interpretation of Islam founded in mid-eighteenth century. Some of the views Laden expressed in an interview with Nida'ul Islam magazine seems to support Masoud's view.

The claim to legitimacy of the ruling regime of Saudi Arabia, the House of Saud, derives from its commitment to uphold the ideas of Wahabism. It is part of a deal struck between the founder of Wahabism, Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahab and ancestor of Saud family, Muhammad Ibn Saud: if Wahab's followers support him build a nation, Saud would make it a defender of Wahabism. Islam's two holiest cities are within the Saudi Arabia; the Saudi regime extended the holiness given to Mecca and Medina to all the land within the 60 year old boundaries of Saudi Arabia.

In school the young Laden was taught to refer to Saudi Arabia as the 'Land of the Two Holy Places' and the King was referred to as the 'Custodian of Two Holy Mosques' which the monarch encouraged so as to lend an air of divine right to the rule. Not surpassingly, Laden refers frequently to the presence of American troops in the 'country of two sacred mosques' (Nida'ul Islam 1996).

The troops are more than 600 miles away from Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina and the land where the troops are stationed were never considered holy. But to Ladin it is as if the American troops are in Mecca and Medina--hence, the need to start a jihad against the 'American occupation of the Land of Two Sacred Mosques'.

The influence of Wahabism does not explain the 'popularity' of Bin Laden in some Muslim countries. He has become something of a cult figure and in Pakistan and Afghanistan; many couples have named their newborn sons after Bin Laden. Some of the issues raised by Bin Laden, like western support for undemocratic governments in Islamic countries, Israeli treatment of Palestinian people, the issue of Kashmir and the UN sanctions against Iraq are genuine concerns of ordinary Muslims in such far away countries as Morocco, Indonesia, and Maldives.

The western world should not be surprised that the Muslim masses see their policy as hypocrisy since the West is selective in its choice of enemies as well as the UN resolutions it wishes to see implemented.

No doubt blowing up embassies and killing innocent people is terrorism. Sheikh Muhammad Sayed Tantawy, the grand imam of Al Azhar University in Egypt, the oldest university in the Muslim World has unequivocally condemned the embassy attacks as terrorism committed by a savage (Los Angeles Times 1998). Such terrorist acts runs counter to the Qur'anic tradition which says that if you save one life it is as if you saved all of humanity. But if the media is to be believed Bin Laden is the embodiment of Islam and what it stands for�.

Please remember that I wrote it in the year 1999. I think the media coverage has improved a lot since then like this excellent series from the Chicago Tribune ( thanks to Chapati Mystery). I still don�t understand why a group with such extremist views like Nida�ul Islam are based in a country like Australia- fellow Aussie bloggers �please explain�.

Finally, here is a free-read from the Hoover institution on fighting terrorism.

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Truck and Barter on Osama from Fair Crack of the Whip on October 23, 2004 7:39 AM

An archived post from Truck and Barter: Well worth a read. Read More

1 Comment

Very intersting site! Thanks ;)

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This page contains a single entry by Paul published on October 11, 2004 2:55 PM.

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