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Sunday, July 21, 2024

Letter from Osama Bin Laden goes viral

The late jihadist’s justifications for attacks on America have drawn praise on on TikTok amid the Israel-Hamas war

More than two decades after the attacks that ignited the US ‘War on Terror,’ Osama Bin Laden’s anti-Jewish letter justifying terrorism against Americans has resonated on social media and captured the imaginations of pro-Palestinian activists amid the Israel-Hamas war.

Videos with the hashtag “LettertoAmerica” have been viewed more than 13.5 million times on TikTok, apparently beginning with a post on Tuesday by a user named Lynette Adkins“I need everyone to stop what they’re doing right now and go read – it’s literally two pages – go read ‘A Letter to America,’” she said. “And please come back here and just let me know what you think because I feel like I’m going through, like, an existential crisis right now, and a lot of people are, so I just need someone else to be feeling this, too.” 

Read more: Osama bin Laden used adult movie collection to send secret messages: report

Other users reacted similarly to the recently rediscovered letter, which is over 20 years old. Another TikTok user who claimed to be suffering an “existential crisis” said of the letter, “I will never look at life the same; I will never look at this country the same.”

For his part, US Senator Marco Rubio suggested in a post on X (formerly Twitter) that the reactions show terrorist sympathies: “They now understand terrorism is a legitimate method of resistance against ‘oppression,’ and America deserved to be attacked on 9/11.”

Bin Laden, who addressed the 2002 letter “to the American people,” condemned the US for supporting the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory and argued that Jews controlled American policies, capital, and media. “The creation of Israel is a crime which must be erased,” he wrote. “Each and every person whose hands have become polluted in the contribution toward this crime must pay its price – and pay for it heavily.” 

Read more: Did Nawaz Sharif receive funding from Osama bin Laden?

The Al-Qaeda founder went on to call for the blood of Palestinians to be avenged. “It is commanded by our religion and intellect that the oppressed have a right to return the aggression,” Bin Laden said. “Do not await anything from us but jihad, resistance, and revenge. Is it in any way rational to expect that, after America has attacked us for more than half a century, we will then leave her to live in security and peace?”

The UK’s Guardian newspaper had posted a copy of the letter since an English translation was first published in November 2002. The outlet took down the document on Wednesday. A spokesman for The Guardian told Fox News that the paper had removed the letter because it was being widely shared on social media “without the full context.” The page now links to an article that provides context.

Adkins, the social media user who posted the letter on Tuesday, includes a link on her TikTok page to a fundraising site for “Palestinian rights.” The site calls for a ceasefire in West Jerusalem’s war with Hamas, saying the Palestinians in Gaza are “living through genocide as Israel bombs, starves, and displaces them.”