Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Osama Bin Laden and the Muslim Brotherhood | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Osama Bin Laden studied under Sheikh Abdullah Azzam, who is a symbol of the Palestinian “Muslim Brotherhood”, therefore the “Muslim Brotherhood” is a terrorist organisation or at the very least [it provides the kind of] environment that spawns terrorism. This is the conclusion that some intellectuals arrived at following America’s assassination of Osama Bin Laden. At first glance, this seems like it could be logical, but let us apply this “logical” sequence to other situations to see whether or not it remains plausible. The Palestinian terrorist Abu Nidal, who took several planes hostage, blew up others and killed hundreds of civilians, is also affiliated with the Palestinian Liberation Organization, which in turn is affiliated with the liberal Palestinian trend, therefore the PLO is a terrorist organization or at the very least spawns terrorism. Sheikh Omar Abdul Rahman, who was placed on an international terrorist watch list by the US, studied at Al Azhar, therefore Al Azhar is a terrorist institution or spawns terrorism. During the period of the Rightly Guided Caliphs, the Kharijite figures who recanted their faith studied under a large number of the Prophet’s honourable Companions therefore…I am sorry I will not continue; let us stop this disturbing sequence as it is clear this is a fruitless argument, so we do not need to continue out of respect for the honourable Companions.

This is just one of the incorrect theories that have emerged following the assassination of Bin Laden. There is another theory that is also on the verge of collapse; with a number of intellectuals suggesting that Osama Bin Laden embroiled his followers and those convinced of his ideology and made them targets of the state security apparatus. Thus they became fugitives hidden in deserts or wastelands, or were sent to prison, whilst Bin Laden enjoyed living in comfort in a mansion valued at one million dollars, in the company of his youngest wife. Of course the facts on the ground later proved that the house was substandard in its design, furniture and contents, and that Osama was actually locked up in a kind of voluntary prison for five years. Indeed, he suffered a great deal and sacrificed a lot because of the ideology he was convinced of, when he could have lived in the most beautiful palaces and resorts, and enjoyed the world’s luxuries, owing to his large fortune. The problem here is that some people used the sacrifices, the suffering and the difficult life that Bin Laden lived, as an excuse to turn a blind eye to the crimes that Al Qaeda committed against his country, the Islamic nation, and also against humanity. This is what people like Ismail Haniyeh have ignored, when praising Osama’s attacks, his heroism, and his hostility towards the US-Zionist alliance, without warning against the disease of extremist ideology, which Bin Laden and Al Qaeda helped spread all over the Islamic world, and which caused the killings of thousands of innocents in cold blood.

I would have liked to have heard Ismail Haniyeh’s commentary on Bin Laden and the Al Qaeda ideology if, prior to his death, a group of Bin Laden’s followers targeted a number of security headquarters affiliated to the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip, killing dozens of Hamas security cadres and dozens of citizens who happened to be in the area at the time, or if one of the symbolic figures of Hamas were assassinated, because of his possible acceptance of [establishing an independent Palestinian state according to] the1967 borders? What would Haniyeh have said then?

Osama Bin Laden’s feats in Afghanistan, and his resistance against the Soviet occupation through his money and effort, would have immortalised him as a hero in the eyes of the [Islamic] nation, had he not changed his thinking by allowing the harmful union that took place between his movement, and the extremist ideology of the Egyptian Gamaa al Islamiyya, headed by Ayman al Zawahiri. Bin Laden’s jihad against the Soviets, his campaign against the US-Zionist alliance, his austerity, asceticism, and even his condemnation, will not make us forget his extremist ideology, and will not deter us from warning against this kind of thinking, and condemning all those who remained silent about it. We will never forget the crimes committed by Al Qaeda against Islam, Muslims and humanity and we will never forget the devastating blow dealt to charity work because of Al Qaeda and its ideology. All of these sins are just as bad as the way America buried Osama, the large gaps in the story of Osama’s assassination, and finally the sin of making Osama Bin Laden’s ideology universally accessible to all those who had a connection to him.