Seeds for new jihadist generation in America are sown


Following October 7 pogrom in Israel, as the Jewish State is continuing its anti-terror operation in Gaza targeting mega-terror outfit Hamas, Al Qaeda kingpin Osama Bin Laden ‘Letter to America” went viral on TikTok while some Americans said they sympathize with this jihadist monster. Describing this extremely disturbing and dangerous scenario, CNN in a report said:

Dozens of young Americans have posted videos on TikTok this week expressing sympathy with Osama bin Laden, the notorious terrorist who orchestrated the September 11 attacks, for a two-decade-old letter he wrote critiquing the United States, including its government and support of Israel.

The letter, which attempts to justify the targeting and killing of American civilians, was first published in 2002. It began to recirculate this week on the social media platform, and videos on the topic had garnered at least 14 million views by Thursday [November 16, 2023]. Many of the videos, which supported some of Bin Laden’s assertions and urged other users to read the letter, were shared in the wider context of criticism of American support for Israel in its ongoing war against Hamas.

TikTok said on Thursday that videos promoting the letter violate its rules against “supporting any form of terrorism”. The company said the number of videos promoting the letter were “small” and added “reports of it trending on our platform are inaccurate”.

…Many of the videos were shared with the hashtag #lettertoamerica. By Thursday, views of those videos had exceeded 14 million, yet some videos were from users expressing frustration and disgust about the letter and how it was being praised by others on the platform.

In one video no longer available on the platform that had been viewed more than 1.6 million times, a New York-based lifestyle influencer encouraged others to read the letter and said, “if you have read it, let me know if you are also going through an existential crisis in this very moment, because in the last 20 minutes, my entire viewpoint on the entire life I have believed, and I have lived, has changed”.

According to New York Post:

A furious group representing scores of 9/11 families says it is “appalling” that young TikTok users are sharing Osama bin Laden’s “Letter to America” and showing “sympathy” for the terror leader.

“No Americans should ever not know Osama bin Laden was a terrorist who helped mastermind the murder of nearly 3,000 innocent Americans on Sept. 11, 2001”, seethed Terry Strada, national chair of 9/11 Families United — an organization that represents more than 10,000 relatives of the slain victims, survivors and those sickened or injured in the terror attacks — to The Post in a statement.

“These Americans were our husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and daughters”, she said of the terror attack victims.

“It is appalling to witness younger Americans voicing sympathy for bin Laden’s dangerous and antisemitic worldview 22 years after our nation was horrifically attacked and our loved ones were callously murdered by Islamists who were financially supported by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and at Osama bin Laden’s direction”, Strada continued.

“We strongly encourage these Americans who are not old enough to remember the brutality of 9/11 to seek out reliable sources to educate themselves instead of forming their misguided opinions based on TikTok videos”…

In another report quoting White House New York Post said:

The White House has denounced those sharing Osama bin Laden’s “Letter to America” as an “insult” to the “innocent” victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks — as TikTok vowed to erase all mentions of the madman’s propaganda.

“There is never a justification for spreading the repugnant, evil and antisemitic lies that the leader of Al Qaeda issued just after committing the worst terrorist attack in American history — highlighting them as his direct motivation for murdering 2,977 innocent Americans,” White House spokesman Andrew Bates said.

“No one should ever insult the 2,977 American families still mourning loved ones by associating themselves with the vile words of Osama bin Laden, particularly now, at a time of rising antisemitic violence in the world, and just after Hamas terrorists carried out the world slaughter of the Jewish people since the Holocaust in the name of the same conspiracy theories”, he said.

“Like President Biden said this year in remembrance of the Americans who lost their lives because of Osama bin Laden, ‘it’s more important now than ever that we come together’ against a rising tide of hatred and extremism”.

Commenting on America’s and Western nation’s new jihadist generation, Politico in a commentary said:

There were nearly 300 videos on TikTok of people suggesting the al-Qaeda leader’s writing gave them a new perspective on US foreign policy, namely America’s staunch support for Israel. Bin Laden cited that, and Palestinian suffering, among his reasons to justify killing nearly 3,000 people in New York City, Washington, DC and Shanksville, Pa.

The letter is many things, but it is an antisemitic screed. Its sudden fame comes as debate — online and IRL — over the Israel-Hamas war intensifies during Israel’s operation at Gaza’s al-Shifa hospital.

Emerson Brooking, a senior fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, told us the “rediscovery” of the letter began around Nov. 12, as social media users were surprised to learn bin Laden wrote about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at all. More and more videos sharing reactions to his message were filmed, many of them showing a person’s silent, sympathetic reflection with overlaid music. Then the backlash to the trend began, inviting the inevitable backlash to the backlash.

Interest spiked again after The Guardian took the letter down from its site, inviting cries of media and government censorship. “This is feeding further conspiratorialism as people ask what ‘they’ don’t want you to know,” said Brooking.

The letter, which anyone can find online, is feeding a sense that bin Laden was fighting for oppressed Palestinians against the Israel-supporting West. To make that point, TikTok users mime their cheers upon hearing the U.S. killed bin Laden before cutting to their newfound shame after learning of the supposed freedom fighter’s intention.

Senator Mark Warner said it was “disturbing that more than 20 years after the worst terror attack in US history, some misguided Americans are seeking to take inspiration from the words of its architect”.

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) in its report said, jihadist Telegram channel “Teacher Haroun”, which had previously shared content related to Al-Qaeda’s Syria-based affiliate, Hurras Al-Din, wrote that the trend had revived bin Laden’s legacy more than a decade after his death. Bin Laden was killed in May 2011 in Pakistan.

“Teacher Haroun” also shared an article authored by “Nasser Al-Haqq” (Supporter Of Victory), who wrote that the “message revived the memory and remembrance of the largest operation against the global Zionist-Crusader alliance, which is the blessed September strikes”, referring to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States. The article frames the attack on the US as an act in support of Palestinians.

Commenting on the possible implications, the post predicted that the trend augured well for a new generation of jihadist supporters.

“Bin Laden planted in every country of the Islamic world a seed of jihad, some of which has matured and some of which is about to mature”.

The post argued that any negative associations with Al-Qaeda were the result of a campaign launched by international operatives.

“A campaign by the Coalition operatives who infiltrated some groups has smeared Al-Qaeda based on accusations of collaboration.” The message continues, asking Allah to publicly expose these agents of the “Zionist-Crusader Coalition”.

The Shahada news agency, the media arm of Al-Shabab, Al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Somalia, published a lengthy article on the Tik Tok trend with an emphasis on dissident voices in the US.

Although largely hewing to the facts, in content and tone, the article highlighted voices in the US that cast doubt on assertions of US moral superiority over its jihadi opponents in the Global War on Terrorism.

Quoting author and activist Frederick Joseph, the video “went viral not because people necessarily agreed with Osama bin Laden’s actions or morality, but because the letter offers perspective on America’s hypocrisy, the hypocrisy of settler-colonial states, etc”.

The article also credited the popularity of the letter to the realization by some users about “how much money members of Congress from both the Republican and Democratic parties received from the Zionist lobby”.

In addition to emphasizing the link between the attacks of 9/11 and the plight of Palestinians, the article noted that some users connected the subject to the displacement of Native Americans by the US government.

The piece also wrote, without providing a citation or source, that “90 percent of Arabs and Muslims supported Bin Laden as a reaction to American support for the Zionist aggression”. The article later described the international coalition fighting terrorism as a “satanic alliance”.

SomaliMemo, a website linked to Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Shabab, published a short article in Somali, highlighting positive reactions to “Sheikh” bin Laden’s letter, using an honorific to describe the late terrorist leader.

After accusing the West of hypocrisy for removing the article, the piece claimed that the step was spurred by “fear that the message would spread”.

In contrast, it wrote, Westerners have become inured to the violence that has spread on television screens following Hamas’ surprise assault on southern Israel on October 7, but states:

“On the other hand, the barbaric attacks of the Jews have blinded the eyes of the truth after they killed thousands of children and women”.

The piece closed by accusing the West of hypocrisy, suggesting that the Tik Tok trend indicated that beliefs in common values had collapsed.

“In general, the propaganda of the West, where people used to dream of ‘Human Rights’, has collapsed”.

Several jihadi users circulated a short clip of bin Laden, in which the Al-Qaeda founder links the group’s goals with Palestinians, stating, “I swear by Almighty Allah, who raised the sky without pillars, that neither America nor anyone who lives in America will dream of security before we experience it as a reality in Palestine”.

Claiming that the letter was in fact written by bin Laden’s successor, Aymen Al-Zawahiri (who was killed in 2022) and celebrating its resurgence, the channel asserted in an accompanying that the trend was indicative of growing support for Al-Qaeda and jihad in the US, and diminishing support for Israel.

“The beginnings of an intellectual revolution are taking place among the Americans, led by the speech of Sheikh Osama bin Laden. It has received tremendous response among them, as they have discovered the truth of what Sheikh bin Laden told them, and where the American government’s support for the Jews will lead”.

Who are these new generation jihadists?

Within days of entering office, US President Joe Biden removed Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Yemeni terrorist group Houthis from the designation list. During election campaign, Biden’s running-mate Kamala Harris said in an interview with The Arab American, “We will take immediate steps to restore economic and humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people, address the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza, reopen the US consulate in East Jerusalem, and work to reopen the PLO mission in Washington.

According to the US Senate, the Trump Administration designated the Houthis as an FTO in January 2021, however the Biden Administration reversed the designation in February 2021, citing humanitarian concerns. Following years of Iranian support, the Houthis have one of the most sophisticated arsenals of ballistic missiles and drones among Iran’s allies and proxies, which they have used to target US partners and interests. Finally, Joe Biden realizes, his decision of reversing Houthis from designation status was a blunder. But he still is to decide about another blunder centering the PLO.

The next blunder of Biden was centering Afghanistan, as he had abruptly retreated from the country thus leaving Afghans into the hands of Taliban jihadists.

Biden has also been committing blunder centering Iran where his administration has been enthusiastically unfreezing billions of dollars of Iranian cash thus enabling Tehran to push forward its nuclear ambition as well as terrorist agendas mainly targeting Israel.

Joe Biden is visibly uninterested in taking any action against Iran, Turkey and Qatar which are providing hundreds of millions of dollars to mega-terror outfit Hamas as well as other terrorist groups in Gaza and West Bank. According to media reports, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s close relations with Hamas, the public record of which goes back nearly 20 years, appear to have been largely unaffected by Hamas’s October 7 attack on Israel.

Meanwhile, it is reported that Qatari regime has turned Hamas into a monster by spending billions of dollars for years. It is further reported that for years, Qatar has been furthering its agenda of establishing its tremendous influence on the Western societies by breeding future jihadists in American educational institutions by spending hundreds of millions of dollars.

While directly or indirectly patronizing nations that consider destructing Israel, America and the Western countries as their “religious obligation” Biden administration is also playing a very dangerous game by targeting several Muslim nations in Asia and Africa with the agenda of helping ultra-Islamist, anti-Semite and pro-jihadist forces in capturing power and turn those nations in neo-Taliban state and terrorist launchpads. Bangladesh is the latest playground of the Biden administration, where Washington is attempting to help ultra-Islamists return to power.

With such extremely disturbing scenarios, where seeds for the new jihadist generation are sown in the United States and rest of the West countries, the most crucial question here is – how such a dangerous trend can be countered. Though the answer remains in the hands of the American people, if they have to wait until December 2024 – things may turn further complicated, disturbing and volatile.


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