Sunday, May 07, 2006

Bin Laden: Death to "Freethinkers"

Some critics of the War with Radical Islamism, such as Michael Scheuer, have argued that it is wrong to say that Osama bin Laden "hates freedom". In their view, bin Laden is simply angered by specific American policies, and would cease to be an adversary if only those policies were to change. Implicit in Scheuer's writings is the idea that if only America would pull out of the Middle East and throw Israel to the wolves, we could enjoy peaceful relations with Caliph bin Laden and his Islamist superstate.

In some of his more recent remarks, such as his October 2004 channeling of Michael Moore, and his January 19th offer of a truce, bin Laden himself disputed the idea that he hates freedom. However, in his videotape released on April 23, Osama bin Laden finally put the lie to the idea that he doesn't hate freedom, but merely opposes specific policies. Here is a portion, courtesy of the invaluable Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI):

"To the entire Islamic nation...: This speech comes to further urge you and prompt you to [come to] the aid of the Prophet and punish those responsible for the vile crime being committed by some journalists from amongst the Crusaders and the apostate heretics, who have insulted the Prophet Muhammad…

"Imam Ahmad [3] said: 'Whoever reviles the Prophet or belittles him, be he Muslim or infidel, should be killed.' The freethinkers and heretics who defame Islam, and mock and scorn our noble Prophet - their case and the law concerning them have been clearly expounded by Imam Ibn Qayyim [Al-Jawziyya]. [4] He made it clear that the crime committed by a freethinker is the worst of crimes, that the damage caused by his staying alive among the Muslims is of the worst kind of damage, that he is to be killed, and that his repentance is not to be accepted...

(emphasis added-DD)

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that someone who believes that "heretics" and "freethinkers" who "defame Islam" should be murdered does indeed hate freedom. In fact, bin Laden even demanded that the Danish cartoonists who drew the controversial images of the Prophet Mohammed be handed over to al Qaeda, for trial and certain execution. Bin Laden's deputy, the Egyptian Ayman al-Zawahiri, stated in early March that freedom of speech was to blame for the Danish cartoon controversy. The obvious implication is that al Qaeda and its allies would do away with this troublesome concept if given the opportunity, and not just in the Muslim world.

Does bin Laden hate specific American policies? Yes, because he considers us "infidels", and thus whatever we do is wrong. See, for example, his condemnation of any effort to halt the genocide inflicted by the Islamist Sudanese regime in Darfur. However, as his recent remarks make clear, he desires a world with no place for "freethinkers". This is not something that America, or the rest of the civilized world, can live with.


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