You are all guilty, say soldiers of Islam : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

You are all guilty, say soldiers of Islam

By DANA MILBANK Friday 19 October 2001

"Surely they were innocent, weren't they?"

Obaidur Rahman, a cherub-faced foot soldier for Osama bin Laden and radical Islam, paused to consider whether 6000 people deserved to die when two hijacked airliners crashed into New York's World Trade Centre last month. His answer was as guileless as his angelically smooth skin and delicate hands.

"There were no innocent people in those skyscrapers," said Rahman, with chilling earnestness.

There are few details about the mind-sets of the men who carried out last month's attacks on the United States. The hijackers are dead. Their accomplices are under arrest or on the run. Yet here, in a prison in rebel-controlled northern Afghanistan, Rahman and other inmates provide clues to their thinking.

For these militant Islamists, the guilt or innocence of Americans and hundreds of other foreigners killed in the attack is no issue. In a world they view as a battleground between believers and infidels, there are no shades of complicity, only good versus evil. The assault on the US was a victory in a war, and an occasion only for rejoicing.

"When I heard the news, I was happy. I thought, `Muslims are becoming strong'," Rahman said. And if his fellow mujihadeen are responsible for mailing anthrax-treated letters to US journalists and law makers? "All the better."

The world as Rahman knows it has been divided into believers and non-believers ever since he can remember. Born in Yemen to farming parents, he attended an Islamic religious school. There, he was imbued with the fiery teachings of Abdul Majid Zandani, the head of Yemen's Iman University who advocates a return to an austere, early brand of Islam and urged Rahman and other students to wage war against infidels for the survival of their faith. First, however, they had to go to Afghanistan for military training.

Few exhortations were needed. While most non-Muslims know little, if anything, about Afghanistan, Rahman and many other Muslim youth viewed it as a shining symbol of empowerment.

In the 1980s, up to 25,000 Arab and Muslim young men had answered the call of bin Laden and other recruiters to converge on Afghanistan and help expel the Soviet army. With the aid of Pakistan, the US and Saudi Arabia, they succeeded.

Ten years later, Afghanistan beckoned another generation of Muslim youth - this time not to fight Soviet soldiers but to help establish true Islamic states worldwide. Students of the last great battle of the Cold War, the fresh recruits were keen to become shock troops for the new campaign, launched from its base in Afghanistan.

"There was no question of becoming a farmer like my father. My decision was to fight pagans," Rahman said.

With the financial help of local businessmen, Rahman said, he travelled first to Karachi in Pakistan, then to a military training camp operated by bin Laden's al Qaeda network near the Afghan city of Khost. After he learned to shoot a Kalashnikov rifle, he was deployed alongside his religious kinsmen, the ruling Taliban militia, to fight the opposition Northern Alliance. After only three months, he was captured. He was just 17 years old.

Five years later, Rahman's contempt for the US is unabated, his scorn rooted in what he says are America's evil policies toward the Islamic world - its persecution of Iraq, its support of Israelis over Palestinians and the presence of 5000 US troops in Saudi Arabia, the site of the prophet Mohammed's birth and death.

The ambition that burns inside remains unquenched: to wage holy war against infidels, free Islamic countries from the grip of US influence and help fundamentalist Muslims from the Philippines to Chechnya establish pure Islamic governments.

While Rahman believes ordinary Americans are guilty because they are accomplices of anti-Muslim policies carried out in their name, not all of his fellow prisoners believe the equation is quite that straightforward.

Mistakes have been made, said Salhuddin Khalid, a 27-year-old Pakistani who also fought with the Taliban until he was captured by Northern Alliance forces five years ago.

The deaths of at least 229 Kenyans and Tanzanians in car-bomb attacks on the US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam in 1998 were an "accident", Khalid said. Twelve Americans were killed in the blasts, which US officials say were masterminded by bin Laden.

As for last month's attacks, Khalid said the complicity of the victims in anti-Islamic policies was insignificant compared to the responsibility of the CIA and the US Army. Still, he insisted, their deaths were merely the moral equivalent of a landmark event in another war.

"Lots of innocent people were killed by the atomic bomb that America dropped on Hiroshima."

This story was found at:

-- Martin Thompson (, October 18, 2001


Well, if I'm guilty of being a PAGAN, then i'm gonna have to go enlist to fight these guys now, cause i have to help out my fellow PAGANS. And I'm 53 years old! (got me mad now!- bonzi! jihad! allah! allah!)

-- jimmie-the-weed (, October 18, 2001.

Talk about warped thinking -- this takes the cake.

-- RogerT (, October 18, 2001.

In case someone has not figured out what is going on, I'll state what should be obvious.

The "version" of Islam -- and the view of what is going on in the world -- in the minds of these deluded "solders" is political extremism, not religious. It is no less an aberration than what is espoused by any fanatic. Unfortunately, in the Muslim world, politics and religion are strongly linked. Their whole view of governing is based in religion.

Muslim clerics are dumbfounded by what has emerged over the last 20 years or so. The problem is they remained silent for all this time and, as a result, gave tacit approval of the Islamic political extremism that has festered and grown in the disaffected regions of the Muslim world. They, and the rest of the world, are paying a price.

The case has been made a 100 times that this is not "true" Islam. Sorry to say, though, it is becoming one "segment" of the Muslim world.

It's gotten too big, to be discounted and "not part of Islam".

IMO, the clerics who represent the ("true"?) Islam of peace and justice have to stand up, now.


-- Jackson Brown (, October 18, 2001.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ