Beliefs and IdeologyMain article: Beliefs and ideology of Osama bin Laden
According to former CIA analyst Michael Scheuer, who led the CIA's hunt for Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaeda leader was motivated by a belief that U.S. foreign policy has oppressed, killed, or otherwise harmed Muslims in the Middle East, condensed in the phrase "They hate us for what we do, not who we are."
Bin Laden also said only the restoration of Sharia law would "set things right" in the Muslim world, and that alternatives such as "pan-Arabism, socialism, communism, democracy" must be opposed. This belief, in conjunction with violent jihad, has sometimes been called Qutbism after being promoted by Sayyid Qutb. Bin Laden believed that Afghanistan, under the rule of Mullah Omar's Taliban, was "the only Islamic country" in the Muslim world. Bin Laden consistently dwelt on the need for violent jihad to right what he believed were injustices against Muslims perpetrated by the United States and sometimes by other non-Muslim states, the need to eliminate the state of Israel, and the necessity of forcing the United States to withdraw from the Middle East. He also called on Americans to "reject the immoral acts of fornication, homosexuality, intoxicants, gambling, and usury", in an October 2002 letter.
Bin Laden's ideology included the idea that civilians, including women and children, are legitimate targets of jihad. Bin Laden was anti-Semitic, and delivered warnings against alleged Jewish conspiracies: "These Jews are masters of usury and leaders in treachery. They will leave you nothing, either in this world or the next." Shia Muslims have been listed along with "heretics, America, and Israel" as the four principal "enemies of Islam" at ideology classes of bin Laden's al-Qaeda organization.
Bin Laden opposed music on religious grounds, and his attitude towards technology was mixed. He was interested in "earth-moving machinery and genetic engineering of plants" on the one hand, but rejected "chilled water" on the other.
His viewpoints and methods of achieving them had led to him being designated as a terrorist by scholars, journalists from The New York Times, the BBC, and Qatari news station Al Jazeera, analysts such as Peter Bergen, Michael Scheuer, Marc Sageman, and Bruce Hoffman. He was indicted on terrorism charges by law enforcement agencies in Madrid, New York City, and Tripoli.
Bin Laden's overall strategy against much larger enemies such as the Soviet Union and United States was to lure them into a long war of attrition in Muslim countries, attracting large numbers of jihadists who would never surrender. He believed this would lead to economic collapse of the enemy nation. Al-Qaeda manuals clearly outline this strategy. In a 2004 tape broadcast by al-Jazeera, bin Laden spoke of "bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy".
Read more about this topic: Osama Bin Laden
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