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Articles after 2004
The connection between the Bin Laden family and Osama
Destroying world monuments in the name of religious intolerance

  • (September 2004) The connection between the Bin Laden family and Osama: none. A recent book by Jonathan Randal, an expert in middle-eastern politics, "Osama" (2004), offers a survey of the Bin Laden's tribe and of Osama's life. People are quick to relate the actions of any member of the Bin Laden family to Osama, but most people probably never cared to check the relationship between Osama and the other Bin Ladens. Osama is one of the 54 children of Mohammed Bin Laden (yes, fiftyfour). Mohammed had children from more than 20 women. Islam allowed him to marry only four of them. Osama was the son of one of the others. His father never had any other children from Osama's mother, Alia Ghanem, so technically Osama only has half-siblings (not brothers and sisters) in the Bin Laden family. Many members of the family met Osama only once or never. When people (including Michael Moore) refer to "Osama's family", it is not clear who they refer to: Osama's father died when Osama was ten years old, his mother lives secluded in Jeddah, and, technically speaking, he has no brothers or sisters.
    The book reports how Osama offered to defend Saudi Arabia from Iraq and was turned down by the Saudi family (that preferred the more reliable USA army). Osama's grudge towards the USA may be more easily explained with elementary psychology (the bastard child neglected by his family, jealous of the friends that his family prefers to him) than with Islamic faith.
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  • (February 2002) Saudi Arabia is destroying world monuments in the name of religious intolerance. The Taliban destroyed two of the greatest monuments in the world, the giant Buddha statues of Bamiyan, because they thought it was a sin to worship "idols". Saudi Arabia has been quietly doing the same on its own territory. The government (not some fanatic extremist) has authorized the destruction of all historical sites. The reason is apparently mad but perfectly logical: each historical site of Islam (each place in which the prophet lived or traveled) is a temptation to worship a "place", a "building", a "relic", instead of embracing Allah per se. The puritanical sect that has run Saudi Arabia's society for more than a century does not tolerate any passion for historical facts. One has to believe in their idea of Allah. Period. This became law of the land in 1994.
    Soon, nothing will be left of early Islam. This will be a tragic loss for world historians. It will be a tragic loss for world art. But Islam (in Saudi Arabia) is not about historical truth, it is about fanatical belief. The prophet himself is an embarrassment. The Saudi clerics want to erase any proof of what he did or said.
    The Taliban were the grandchildren of a puritanical Islamic movement that was born in Saudi Arabia. They were taught by fanatical Islamic clerics from Saudi Arabia, they were funded by wealthy Saudi businessmen, they were recognized by the Saudi government. Al Qaeda is made mainly by young Saudis who learned the same theological lessons. The Taliban and Al Qaeda merely exported to Afghanistan the ideology that was born and rules in Saudi Arabia.
    What happened in Afghanistan was simply the consequence of what is taught and done in Saudi Arabia.
    Terrorists may not have a face or a name, but they do have an address.
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