Messages to the World: The Statements of Osama bin Laden.

Position:Book review

Messages to the World


The Statements of Osama bin Laden

Edited by Bruce Lawrence

Translated by James Howarth

[pounds sterling]12.99 Verso

ISBN 1-84467-045-7

Despite the saturation of global media coverage, Osama bin Laden's own writings have been curiously absent from any analysis of the 'war on terror'. Over the last 10 years, Bin Laden has issued a series of carefully tailored public statements ranging from interviews with Western and Arabic journalists to faxes and video recordings.

These texts supply evidence crucial to an understanding of the mix of Koranic scholarship, CIA training, interventions in Gulf politics and messianic antiimperialism that has formed the core of Al Quaida.

In bringing together the various statements issued under Bin Laden's name since 1994, this volume forms part of a growing discourse that seeks to demythologise the terrorist network.

Newly translated from the Arabic, annotated with a critical introduction by Islamic scholar Bruce Lawrence, this collection places the statements in their religious, historical and political context.

It shows how Bin Laden's views draw on and differ from other strands of radical Islamic thought; it also demonstrates how his arguments vary in degrees of consistency and how his evasions concerning the true nature and extent of his own group, and over his own role in...

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