The Historical and Spiritual Ignorance of Ladenist Terrorism
Osama bin Laden - Drawing
Introduction: Spiritual and Historical Ignorance
The influential poet and critic, T. S. Eliot, is noted for having quipped, ". . . for our lives are mostly a constant evasion of ourselves." Philosophers, critics of humanity, and self-help instructors often point out the damage done the human heart, mind, and soul by that very evasion.
"Holy War" is an Oxymoron
Today there is widespread focus on the religion of Islam. There is a concept in Islam called jihad, which is translated into English as struggle, but often misinterpreted as the oxymoron "holy war." That struggle refers to the spiritual striving to overcome "the lower self in order to reach a state of higher God-consciousness leading to the pure soul." Becoming soul-realized is not the purview of one religionist controlling the religion of an entire country or culture.
The terrorists led by the late Usama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri have perverted the original Islamic concepts to fit their own ego-driven desire to conquer and control the world. That madness is not new; charismatic madmen have historically used religion to run rough-shod over others. Spiritual striving leads to individual awareness, not power over others. Spiritual power cannot be used to change others without their consent.
Bin Laden's Ignorance of History
In one of his longer letters to America, Usama bin Laden tells Americans—and by Americans he really means Western culture—what he wants from them that will make him stop using terror against the West. Bin Laden's first request is, "The first thing that we are calling you to is Islam." But one cannot be called to a spiritual way of life in order to stop the religionists doing the calling from killing one.
Bin Laden's remark is an ignorant thing to say, and the rest of the letter is also a vast display of ignorance not only of human psychology but also of history. For example, he appears to be woefully uninformed of the history of Israel, suggesting that Israel was originally "Palestine" and was created by the West and has thus existed for only 50 years. He quotes generously from the Koran (Qur'an) but seems not to know that "Palenstine" is never mentioned in that religious text. The Land of Israel goes back thousands of years and has always been the homeland of the "Jews":
The birthplace of the Jewish people is the Land of Israel (Eretz Yisrael). There, a significant part of the nation's long history was enacted, of which the first thousand years are recorded in the Bible; there, its cultural, religious, and national identity was formed; and there, its physical presence has been maintained through the centuries, even after the majority was forced into exile. During the many years of dispersion, the Jewish people never severed nor forgot its bond with the Land. With the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, Jewish independence, lost 2,000 years earlier, was renewed.
The following two paragraphs from bin Laden's screed reveals not only a man steeped in religious hate but also one dismayingly unaware of historical facts regarding the issues he is addressing:
- Palestine, which has sunk under military occupation for more than 80 years. The British handed over Palestine, with your help and your support, to the Jews, who have occupied it for more than 50 years; years overflowing with oppression, tyranny, crimes, killing, expulsion, destruction and devastation. The creation and continuation of Israel is one of the greatest crimes, and you are the leaders of its criminals. And of course there is no need to explain and prove the degree of American support for Israel. The creation of Israel is a crime which must be erased. Each and every person whose hands have become polluted in the contribution towards this crime must pay its*price, and pay for it heavily.
- 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 anti-semitism. This is one of the most fallacious, widely-circulated fabrications in history. The people of Palestine are pure Arabs and original Semites. It is the Muslims who are the inheritors of Moses (peace be upon him) and the inheritors of the real Torah that has not been changed. Muslims believe in all of the Prophets, including Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon them all. If the followers of Moses have been promised a right to Palestine in the Torah, then the Muslims are the most worthy nation of this.
Even as offer copious quotations from the Koran (Qur'an), he seems unaware that "Palenstine" is never mentioned in the Koran nor does it appear in the Judeo-Christian Bible. The name, Palestine, was foisted upon the Land of Israel by the Romans who conquered the Jewish people, causing the diaspora of Jews throughout the world. The Romans renamed Israel "Palestine" to attempt to eliminate the last vestige of Jewishness from existence.
The name mentioned in the Torah, referred to by bin Laden, is "Philistine" or "Peleshet," referring to a people who were neither semitic nor Arabic, many of whom had relocated to that area from Greece:
The use of the term "Palestinian" for an Arab ethnic group is a modern political creation which has no basis in fact - and had never had any international or academic credibility before 1967.
Thus those two paragraphs from bin Laden's screed is nothing more than propagandistic, historically fact-deficient drivel.
Terrorism has no religion
A Constant Evasion of the Self
Bin Laden accuses America, saying: "It is saddening to tell you that you are the worst civilization witnessed by the history of mankind." Is the United States really a worse civilization than the worst elements of the Roman Empire, the Ottoman Empire, Hitler's Third Reich, or Japan before World War II? Even if the United States were the worst civilization ever in history, the spiritual path taken by each individual American is totally irrelevant to that supposed fact.
Bin Laden and his ilk are supreme examples of those who are in "constant evasion of" their "selves" or souls. They are so busy thinking up ways and procuring the means to kill non-Islamic, and even Islamic people who do not agree with them, that they have no time for true religion that offers the methods for genuine spiritual striving to know the self.
The terrorists, their leaders, and their sycophants have excised passages from scripture and recontextualized them, thus creating an excuse, not a reason, for their murderous activities. Approaching the Great Divinity requires a calm heart and a steady eye. Writing screeds of spiritually depraved and historically fact-free balderdash while scurrying from cave to cave to avoid being captured and brought to justice leaves little time for effective study and true meditation on the Divine.
- Full text: bin Laden's "letter to America." The Guardian. Nov 24, 2002. Accessed Dec 2, 2018
- "Israel: Origins of the Name “Palestine'.” Jewish Virtual Library. Accessed Dec 4, 2018.
- "History of Israel:Timeline of Historical Highlights." Mission of Israel to the UN Geneva. Accessed Dec 6, 2018.
- Joseph E. Katz. "The History of the Words'Palestine' and 'Palestinians'." Eretz Yisroel. Accessed Dec 7, 2018.
Osama bin Laden letters released
© 2017 Linda Sue Grimes