Text of Fatwa Urging Jihad Against Americans (1998)

Bin Laden Osama

in Islam in Transition: Muslim Perspectives

Published in print January 2006 | ISBN: 9780195174304
Published online November 2007 |
Text of Fatwa Urging Jihad Against Americans (1998)

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Born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Bin Laden received a degree in public administration in 1981 from King Abdul-Aziz University. His religious worldview was influenced by Saudi Arabia's Wahhabi-brand of Islam as well as the militant ideas of Sayyid Qutb and Abdullah al-Azzam. From 1979 to 1982, he vigorously supported the Afghan jihad against Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, later creating al-Qaeda, the base, to organize and track the channeling of fighters and funds for the Afghan resistance. Bin Laden's opposition to the American-led coalition in the Gulf War of 1991 placed him on a collision course with the Saudi government and the West. Assuming a leadership role in international terrorism, he issued a Declaration of Jihad in 1996 to drive the United States out of Arabia and in 2000 formed the World Islamic Front for the Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders. Bin Laden and al-Qaeda have been behind the September 11 attacks and many other acts of global terrorism.

The justification for bin Ladens statement urging Muslims to kill the Americans and their alliescivilians and military as a duty incumbent on every individual rests on three grounds: (1) the U.S. military presence and their unacceptable conduct on the Arabian peninsula, (2) American military actions in Iraq, and (3) American support for Israel. In the eyes of many jurists, the call to kill civilians violates the doctrine of individual responsibility in Islamic law and theology.

Chapter.  1331 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture ; Islam

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