This is an uncorrected transcript of a translation of Osama Bin Laden's response to the US attacks on Afghanistan. This statement by Bin Laden, taped prior to the beginning of the military action, appeared on Al-Jazeera.

Corrections will be made to this text as they come in.

Let the whole world know that we shall never accept that the tragedy of Andalucia would be repeated in Palestine. We cannot accept that Palestine will become Jewish.

And with regard to you, Muslims, this is the day of question. This is a new (inaudible) against you, all against the Muslims and Medina. So be like the followers of the prophet, peace be upon him, and all countrymen, lovers of God and the prophet within, and a new battle, great battle, similar to the great battles of Islam, like the conqueror of Jerusalem. So, hurry up to the dignity of life and the eternity of death.

Thanks to God, he who God guides will never lose. And I believe that there's only one God. And I declare I believe there's no prophet but Mohammed.

This is America, God has sent one of the attacks by God and has attacked one of its best buildings. And this is America filled with fear from the north, south, east and west, thank God.

And what America is facing today is something very little of what we have tasted for decades. Our nation, since nearly 80 years is tasting this humility. Sons are killed, and nobody answers the call.

And when God has guided a bunch of Muslims to be at the forefront and destroyed America, a big destruction, I wish God would lift their position.

And when those people have defended and retaliated to what their brothers and sisters have suffered in Palestine and Lebanon, the whole world has been shouting. And there are civilians, innocent children being killed every day in Iraq without any guilt, and we never hear anybody. We never hear any fatwah from the clergymen of the government.

And every day we see the Israeli tanks going to Jeanine, Ramallah, Beit Jalla and other lands of Islam. And, no, we never hear anybody objecting to that.

So when the swords came after eight years to America, then the whole world has been crying for those criminals who attacked. This is the least which could be said about them. They are people. They supported the murder against the victim, so God has given them back what they deserve.

I say the matter is very clear, so every Muslim after this, and after the officials in America, starting with the head of the infidels, Bush. And they came out with their men and equipment and they even encouraged even countries claiming to be Muslims against us. So, we run with our religion. They came out to fight Islam with the name of fighting terrorism.

People — event of the world — in Japan, hundreds of thousands of people got killed. This is not a war crime. Or in Iraq, what our — who are being killed in Iraq. This is not a crime. And those, when they were attacked in my Nairobi, and Dar Es Salaam, Afghanistan, and Sudan were attacked.

I say these events have split the whole world into two camps: the camp of belief and the disbelief. So every Muslim shall take — shall support his religion.

And now with the winds of change has blown up now, has come to the Arabian Peninsula.

And to America, I stay to it and to its people this: I swear by God the Great, America will never dream nor those who live in America will never taste security and safety unless we feel security and safety in our land and in Palestine.

Source: ABCNews.com, http://abcnews.go.com/sections/world/DailyNews/strike_binladentrans011007.html

Since Osama bin Laden is here making extensive use of rhetoric based upon Islamic history, I thought I'd better add a few explanatory notes, to aid your comprehension of his points:


1) "...we shall never accept that the tragedy of Andalucia would be repeated in Palestine. We cannot accept that Palestine will become Jewish...."

The "tragedy of Andalucia" is a reference to the Spanish Reconquista, the reconquest by Christian kingdoms of the Iberian Peninsula from the Muslim principalities which ruled the peninsula - the Reconquista was completed in 1492.

The use of the term Andalus (or Andalucia) plays upon the associations that many educated Arabs have with the Islamic culture of the Iberian Peninsula in that age - namely, that it was a "Golden Age" of Islamic science and culture. Thus, to many muslims, the fall of Andalus was akin to the Fall of Rome to the barbarians.

Notice, also, that bin Laden plays upon the perception (common in the Islamic world) that American actions in the Middle East are dictated by the "Jewish Lobby" in the U.S.A. - a supposed conspiracy to support Israel in conquest of the Palestine. The truth or fallacy of this argument is immaterial to its emotional impact.

2) "And with regard to you, Muslims, this is the day of question. This is a new (inaudible) against you, all against the Muslims and Medina. So be like the followers of the prophet, peace be upon him, and all countrymen, lovers of God and the prophet within, and a new battle, great battle, similar to the great battles of Islam, like the conqueror of Jerusalem. So, hurry up to the dignity of life and the eternity of death."

This is a direct reference to one of the early deciding incidents in the history of Islam, the battles between the Quraish of Mekkah/Mecca and the muslims of Madinah/Medina. Bin Laden is drawing a parallel, calling this a battle between believers and non-believers.

The phrase "the conqueror of Jerusalem" may be a reference either to the crusaders (in which case, bin Laden is likening the West to the crusaders) or to Saladin, who retook Jerusalem from the crusaders (in which case, it is pretty clear that he sees himself as a modern-day Saladin.... a trait he shares with Saddam Hussein).

3) "Thanks to God, he who God guides will never lose. And I believe that there's only one God. And I declare I believe there's no prophet but Mohammed."

The Muslim credo, repeated to ensure that the point is not missed. No different in rhetorical character, really, than the repeated invocations of the name of God in President Bush's televised addresses.

4) "People -- event of the world -- in Japan, hundreds of thousands of people got killed. This is not a war crime. Or in Iraq, what our -- who are being killed in Iraq. This is not a crime. And those, when they were attacked in my Nairobi, and Dar Es Salaam, Afghanistan, and Sudan were attacked."

Reference to the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and to the American involvement in the Gulf War. Pretty standard anti-American rhetoric.


More might be said on the subject of Osama bin Laden's rhetoric - but I think I'll leave that to others.

Qatar's al-Jazeera television broadcast this speech (in Arabic) from Osama bin Laden on Sunday, October 7, 2001 less than two hours after the United States and Britain launched their attack on Afghanistan. The station immediately provided the tape to all of the major news stations in the United States. It was also reported that CNN had an agreement with al-Jazeera whereby they had agreed to provide CNN with exclusive footage with a 6 hour delay for other stations, but Al-Jazeera obviously didn't comply. It is unclear when the videotaped statement was recorded, but it refers to the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

The statement was filmed against a rocky background with an assault rifle at his side. Bin Laden, wearing battle fatigues and a scarf and turban, appeared weary and looked mostly at the ground as he spoke, apparently without a script.

Taliban Foreign Affairs Ministry official Mohammed Qassem Halimi told al-Jazeera the Taliban had banned bin Laden from making public statements on television until after any U.S. attack. "We have now allowed him to release what is in his heart," he said.

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