The Al Qa’ida General Command issued a written eulogy of Osama bin Laden, announcing his death and vowing unspecified vengeance on the Western world.
The Associated Press and the Middle East Media Research Institute both carried the story. The statement, appearing on many jihadist websites, does not name Bin Laden’s successor nor threaten any specific retaliation. Calling Bin Laden’s death “an (sic) historic day in the days of the great Muslim Ummah,” the authors praised Bin Laden’s career in carrying out jihad against all the enemies of Islam and propounding the “spirit” of jihad.
Jihad literally means “struggle” or “striving.” Muslim apologists commonly call this a personal striving against sin in general or a particular besetting sin. But close examination of the Qur’an and other founding documents of Islam shows that jihad actually means “holy war” against anyone who is not:
- A Muslim, or
- A good-enough Muslim.
That last explains why so many of Al Qa’ida’s targets turn out to be practicing Muslims themselves, and might explain why the more general Arab reaction to Bin Laden’s death has included relief by some that he is dead.
As mentioned, the Al Qa’ida statement names no specific targets. But it does say, in general terms, that:
the blood of the holy warrior sheik, Usama bin Laden, God bless him, is precious to us and to all Muslims and will no go in vain. We will remain, God willing, a curse chasing the Americans and their agents, following them outside and inside their countries.
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Some parts of the statement betray concern that the movement that Bin Laden organized, financed, and encouraged will die with him:
The soldiers of Islam will continue in groups and united, plotting and planning without getting bored, tired, with determination, without giving up until striking a blow.
It is impossible, impossible. Sheik Osama didn’t build an organization to die when he dies. The university of faith, Quran and jihad from which bin Laden graduated will not close its doors.
Al Qa’ida hinted that it would release an audio tape of the last speech that Bin Laden recorded before his death.
Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.
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