Skip to comments.The roots of Jihad; Excerpt from "The Looming Tower Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11"
Posted on 10/01/2006 3:12:13 PM PDT by Bean Counter
In the chapter "The Miracles",Lawrence Wright is discussing the roots of al Qaeda; specifically Ayaman al Zawahiri's ties to the assassination of Anwar Sadat, and detailing how Osama bin Laden's father was deeply involved in so many construction projects that he was revered throughout the Middle East, which led to Osama's personal wealth and ability to underwrite jihad.
In writing of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and how Arabs were being attracted to jihad against the Communists Wright says...
"Sheikh Abdullah (Azzam) called the small band of Arabs who gathered in Peshawar the "Brigade of The Strangers". The Arabs kept to themselves, establishing their own mosques and schools and newspapers. Some had arrived with nothing in their pockets but a telephone number. Thanks to bin Laden's generous subsidy, many of them settled in the suburb of Hayatabad, a neighborgood of two-story tract houses at the edge of the Tribal Areas, provided with all the modern convieniences - refrigerators, washing machines, dryers, and so on. Indeed, many of them lived more comfortably than (Osama) bin Laden.
Across the Khyber Pass was the war. The young Arabs who came in to Peshawar prayed that their crossing would lead them to maryrdom and Paradise. As they passed the time, they traded legends about themselves, about the call that had drawn young Muslims to free their brothers in Afghanistan. In fact the war was being fought almost entirely by the Afghans themselves. Despite Azzam's famous fatwa and bin Laden's subsidies, there were never more than three thousand of these outsiders - who came to be known as the Arab Afghans - in the war against the Soviets, and most of them never got out of Peshawar.
The Arab Afghans were often unwanted renegades in their own countries, and they found that the door closed behind them as soon as they left. Other young Muslims, prompted by their own governments to join the jihad, were stigmatized as fanatics when they did so. It would be difficult for many of them to ever return home. Those abandoned idealists were naturally looking for a leader. They had little to cling to except their cause and each other. As stateless persons they naturally revolted against the very idea of the state. They saw themselves as a borderless possee empowered by God to defend the entire Muslim people. That was exactly bin Laden's dream.
It was death, not victory in Afghanistan, that summoned many young Arabs to Peshawar. Martyrdom was the product that Azzam sold in the books, tracts, videos, and cassete tapes that circulated in the mosques and Arabic-language bookstores. "I traveled to acquaint people with jihad," Azzam said, recalling his lectures in mosques and Islamic centers around the world. "We were trying to satisfy the thirst for martyrdom. We are still in love with this." Azzam visited the United States each year-Kansas City, St. louis, Dallas, all over the heartland and the major cities as well---looking for money and recruits among the young Muslims who were mesmerized by the myths he spun.
He told stories of the mujahideen who defeated vast columns of Soviet troops virtually single-handed. He claimed that some of the brave warriers had been run over by tanks but survived; others were shot, but the bullets failed to penetrate. If death came, it was even more miraculous. When one beloved mujahid expired, the ambulance filled with the sound of humming bees and chirping birds, even though they were in the Afghan desert in the middle of the night. Bodies of matyrs uncovered after a year in the grave still smelled sweet and their blood continued to flow. Heaven and nature conspired to repel the godless invader. Angels rode into battle on horseback, and falling bombs were intercepted by birds, which raced ahead of the jets to form a protective canopy over the warriers. The miracle stories naturally proliferated as word spread that Sheikh Abdullah was paying for mujahids who brought him wonderful tales.
The lure of an illustrious and meaningful death was especially powerful in cases where the pleasures and rewards of life were crushed by government oppression and economic deprivation. From Iraq to Morrocco, Arab governments had stifled freedom and signally gailed to create wealth at the very time when democracy and personal income were sharply climing in virtually all other parts of the globe. Saudi Arabia, the richest of the lot, was such a notroriously unproductive country that the extraordinary abundance of petroleum had failed to generate any other significant source of income; indeed, if one subtracted the oil revenue of the Gulf countries, 260 million Arabs exported less than the 5 million Finns. Radicalism usually prospers in the gap between rising expectations and declining opportunities. This is especially true where the population is young, idle, and bored; where the art is impoverished; where entertainment - movies, theater, music -- is policed or absent altogether; and where young men are set apart from the consoling and socializing presence of women. Adult illiteracy remained the norm in many Arab countries. Unemployment was among the highest in the developing world. Anger, resentment, and humiliation spurred young Arabs to search for dramtic remedies.
Matrydom promised such young men an ideal alternative to a life that was so sparing in its rewards. A golrious death beckoned to the sinner, who would be forgiven, it is said, with the first spurt of blood, and he would behold his place in Paradise even before his death. Seventy members of his household might be spared the fires of hell because of his sacrifice. The maryr who is poor will be crowned in heaven with a jewel more valuable than the earth itself. And for those young men who came from cultures where women are shuttered away and rendered unattainable for someone without prospects, matyrdom offered the conjugal pleasures of seventy-two virgins -- "the dark-eyed houris," as the Quran describes them, "chaste as hidden pearls." They awaited the matryr with feasts of meat and fruit and cups of the purest wine."
That is who we are talking about, when we discuss these "detainees" in Club Gitmo. "Detainees" like Kahlid Sheik Mohammed, and his ilk are the ones John McCain and others are so worried about. When the day comes that we capture Ayaman al Zawahiri, the Democrats would have us put him on trial in New York City, with more rights than any of us would ever have.
Folks, if you never read another book, make sure you read this one!
Know thy enemy.
This is an excellent book. The roots of this terrorist hate cult go deep. They hate our freedom. We should never stop killing them because they want us dead. You cannot negotiate with terrorists.
Agreed. This book clearly shows the monstrous socipaths we're dealing with, and why we are truly in a death struggle. It's either them or us. They want to kill us. Period. Any questions? Read this book.
I've about finished reading it, and can hardly put it down. If there's a more comprehensive, fascinating book about the events that lead to 9/11 (and it ain't the 9/11 Commission Report; this book blows that away), then I'd love to read it, too!
-These are the Killer Links- the best ( or worst ) I could locate.--
The videos are particularly damning...
...and for my troubles I've been called the usual assortment of meme's, talking points, and poorly-defined insults by the Usual Suspects.
But that's alright with me- if being predjudiced about a belief system that wants to saw my head off while filming my dying agonies, oppress the women I care about, and exterminate my Jewish friends makes me a bigot in some fools minds, then, so be it... I carry the appellation proudly.
I've said it all differently, but never better, than I have here:
"I suggest to you that the time has come to get hard, and stay hard... it really is the time for Fire, and Blood, and Iron..."
Another point on this that we must not ignore, is that the timeframe I am taling about in this quote is the late 1970's and early 1980's. Despite what the Democrats would have you belive, Muslem Yoots have been pursuing jihad long before George W. Bush invaded Iraq. No matter what anyone in the West does, no matter what compromise we seek, no matter if we capture Osama bin Laden himself, the rest of these maniacal animals we are discussing would be out there trying to kill someone in the name of Allah.
At least they are flocking to Iraq to take on the American Army. Our military is taking them on, instead of our local Sheriff and the County Court. I hate that our soldiers are being killed, but I'm glad that our guys have killed thousands of potential jihadists that could have easily been over here detonating themselves in the Mall where my wife and daughter go shopping.
You are absolutely right.