An Analysis of Al-Qa'ida's Worldview: Reciprocal Treatment or Religious Obligation?

Posted in Terrorism | 03-Jan-09 | Author: Raymond Ibrahim| Source: MERIA Journal

By analyzing what al-Qa'ida preaches to Muslims regarding Islam's relationship to the non-Muslim world at large, and what it states to the West are its reasons for battling it, this essay seeks to highlight the many disparities behind al-Qa'ida's words. Juxtaposed in themes, the following excerpts are all derived from Usama bin Ladin's and Ayman al-Zawahiri's writings and speeches as found in The Al Qa'ida Reader.[1]

Is al-Qa'ida waging war on the United States--issuing a fatwa to "kill the Americans and seize their money"[2] (p. 13)in retaliation to U.S. oppression, or is this animosity founded on something else? Is it mere reciprocity or is it a religion-based ideology? Talking to the West, al-Qa'ida insists it is reciprocal treatment; talking to fellow Muslims it insists that Islam demands this animosity. Consider the following discrepancies: