Exerpt from Letter to Osama bin Laden by Noman Benotman, from the Quillian website, September 21, 2010
In light of all these points, I recommend that al-Qaeda announce a unilateral halt to its military operations for a period of six months, for the following three purposes:
- To take a step back from fighting to study and consider the organization’s vision, approach and strategy; for instance by attempting to answer the following questions: How would a suspension of al-Qaeda’s military activity affect Islam and Muslims around the world? Will it hurt their interests or will it allow them to make greater progress towards achieving peace and the freedom to practice and preach their religion? What would Islam lose if al-Qaeda were to end its violence?
- To explore public opinion in Muslim communities around the world and their position vis- à-vis al-Qaeda, in terms of support or rejection on both the ideological and operational levels.
- To seek the guidance of those scholars such as Sheikh Salman al-Auda who have rejected your approach and concept of jihad, as well as others who are ‘accepted as speaking with the voice of the
Ummah’ (Talaqqathum al-umma bil qabul).
I believe that adopting this strategy will also be the first step towards ending the occupation of Afghanistan and establishing peace and security in the region.
In urging you to halt your violence and re-consider your aims and strategy, I believe I am merely expressing the views of the vast majority of Muslims who wish to see their religion regain the respect it has lost and who long to carry the name of “Muslim” with pride.
Abu Muhammed Al-Libi
10 September 2010
1 Shawwal 1431 AH
There words, if they succeed in their purpose, could do much to restore the world to a minimal peace, as it was prior to September 11, 2001.
Certainly, all the U.S. bombs, and all the hundreds of thousands of ISAF fighting forces have not moved the Al Qaeda leadership to change their view of their apocalyptic role in converting the world to Islam through outright force of arms.
One is prompted to recall the wisdom of Karen Armstrong's book, The Case for God, in which she points out that extremists of any faith persuasion seem to move to a more stringent and defensive position whenever they are attacked. Fear always grows exponentially in the face of more threat.
It is a point of both wisdom and fact that the American government, especially under George W. Bush, was unwilling even to consider, because of their embedded and unshakeable motive of revenge on behalf of the American people for the attacks of 9/11.
Revenge, even the outrageous revenge of a crack-pot so-called christian "pastor" threatening to burn the Qur'an in Gainesville Florida, is always a regressive, unproductive and venal act. It demonstrates only the bankruptcy of the perpetrator, and the complicity and co-dependence of the organization, even the government or the church or any group that supports its enactment.
And religion seems to be a warm, fertile incubator for revenge, and that includes all religions. In the name of God (however that figure may be defined) acts of revenge, vengeance, hostility and punishment have been inflicted by sometimes a few on a single "outcast" and sometimes by more on larger groups whose actions, beliefs and attitudes were not in compliance with those of the perpetrators.
We of all faith persuasions, and those of no faith persuasion, hope (and pray) that the words of Mr. Benotman will penetrate both the consciousness and the unconscious mind of Osama bin Laden, and that such penetration will occur in short order rather than over a longer, more tragic period of time.