Leading Islamic Scholar: Osama Bin Laden is “A Man After My Own Heart”

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In an interview broadcast on Al Jazeera March 16, 2007, top Lebanese Islamic cleric Fathi Yakan, described by IslamOnline as a prominent scholar with a Ph.D. in Arabic and Islamic Studies, says Osama bin Laden is a man after his own heart. (Courtesy of MEMRI TV.)

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Interviewer: But there was an operation, for which Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility - the bombing of the Twin Towers in America, and what was described as terrorist attacks against the Americans. In this case, for example, are you with him or against him? Were you happy when you saw the towers collapse?

Fathi Yakan: If we examine the ideology of Al-Qaeda and Bin Laden in depth, we see that he has become completely convinced that the only way to curb the disease that is afflicting the Islamic world… The only way to stop this octopus is to crush the serpent’s head.

Interviewer: Do you share this opinion?

Fathi Yakan: It’s fine with me. I might have crushed the serpent’s head in a different way. I might have crushed it by means of the Islamic resistance in South Lebanon, by attacking Israel. But Bin Laden said: “No, I will strike it in its own home. I will strike it in the World Trade Center, and shake its economic status.” This is his methodology, and he should bear responsibility for it, but I am not sad or depressed that this happened, and I do not condemn it. In all honestly, I have never condemned this. Just like it had negative ramifications, it had positive ones as well.

Notice that the Al Jazeera interviewer is very much on Yakan’s side, and specifically refrains from calling the 9/11 attacks “terrorism.” This is the network that many US liberals think should be allowed access to American airwaves.

The Middle East Forum has more information on Fathi Yakan: Islamism in Lebanon: A Guide to the Groups.

The Islamic Association (al-Jama’a al-Islamiya), 5,000 members: An Islamist group whose origins go back to the height of Gamal Abdel Nasser’s efforts at Arab unity in 1964, when members of an older organization established the Islamic Association in Tripoli. Following the Arab defeat in 1967 and the decline of Nasserism, the Islamic Association and other Islamist groups throughout the Arab world gained strength. During the civil war, its militia, called the Mujahidin, fought with the Lebanese National Movement against Christian Maronite forces; in 1982-83 it participated in fighting the Israelis.

The Islamic Association follows the doctrines of militants among the Muslim Brethren in Egypt and Syria. Fathi Yakan, a follower of Sayyid Qutb’s radical brand of Islamist thought, is its main ideologue. Yakan joined Sa’id Hawwa of Syria’s Muslim Brethren in the wake of the 1967 war to advocate a holy war (jihad al-muqaddas) against the Western and Israeli “crusaders.” Later, the Islamic Association tacitly rejected Hizbullah’s model of an Islamic state. It believes in achieving an Islamic order based on the Shari’a (Islamic sacred law) through jihad of the heart (spiritual struggle), jihad by word (education and propaganda), and jihad by hand (economic, political and military action).

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