In the echo chambers of social media, perspectives on historical figures can sometimes become distorted. Recently, TikTok trends have shed light on a concerning glorification of Osama bin Laden. As a Muslim Arab living in the US who’s deeply affected by the consequences of his actions, it is crucial to unequivocally state: No, Osama Bin Laden Was Not The Good Guy!
Osama bin Laden Was a Spoiled Rich Kid Who Chose Violence:
Osama bin Laden, born into a wealthy Saudi Arabian family with ties to the construction industry, inherited a significant fortune from his successful businessman father, Mohammed bin Laden. Despite his privileged background, bin Laden became motivated by a strong ideological commitment to jihad, or holy war, to defend Islam against perceived enemies.
From Financier to Founder:
His radicalization intensified during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, where he saw an opportunity to engage in what he considered a legitimate struggle. Supporting the Afghan resistance, known as the mujahideen, with his financial resources, bin Laden elevated his status within the jihadist movement.
Eventually, he founded al-Qaeda in the late 1980s, initially to support the Afghan mujahideen, but it evolved into a global jihadist organization with the goal of establishing Islamic states governed by strict Sharia law.
Bin Laden’s resentment towards the West, particularly the United States, grew over time. This resentment was fueled by perceived Western interference in Muslim lands, including the presence of U.S. military forces in Saudi Arabia. Instead of using his wealth for peaceful advocacy, bin Laden chose violence.
Now Looking at 9/11:
His growing radicalization culminated in the planning and execution of the September 11, 2001 attacks, resulting in nearly 3,000 deaths and marking a turning point in global perceptions of terrorism. For many in the Muslim Arab community, the memory of 9/11 is not just a historical event but a day of profound grief and sorrow.
Emphasizing the impact on civilians is crucial. The deliberate targeting of non-combatants during the 9/11 attacks made it clear that bin Laden’s actions were not only heinous but directly targeted innocent lives.
Many Muslims and Arabs were affected:
It’s important to note that Arabs and Muslims were among the victims of the 9/11 attacks, representing various backgrounds, nationalities, religions, and ethnicities. The tragedy sparked significant changes in global politics, security measures, and perceptions of terrorism.
The victims included 28 Muslims in the Twin Towers, three Muslims among the passengers on two hijacked planes, and others from diverse backgrounds. The attacks had a profound impact on communities worldwide, irrespective of religious or ethnic background.
Bin Laden’s ideology, rooted in a radical and distorted interpretation of Islam, deviated from the peaceful teachings of the religion. Engaging in discussions about the true principles of Islam is crucial, highlighting the stark contrast between bin Laden’s actions and the core values of compassion and peace.
Beyond the 9/11 attacks, bin Laden’s involvement in various acts of terrorism had severe humanitarian consequences, leading to displacement, suffering, and instability in different regions. Confronting misguided narratives that seek to portray Osama bin Laden as anything other than a mastermind of terror is essential.
As a Muslim Arab, I stand firm in proclaiming: No, Osama Bin Laden Was Not The Good Guy! Let us strive for a world where historical truths are acknowledged, Islam is understood in its true light, and the pain caused by acts of terror is never forgotten.