I got into a debate with someone about whether religion was used an excuse by the plotters of 9/11 who were “really” more interested in power or, as I argued that 9/11 was done for political reasons exclusively derived from an ultra right interpretation of Islam. Then she asked me for the “sources” employed in my research. This was my reply….typos and all:
Well first of all anyone who wants to understand Islam should read the Koran and some of the Hadith. The NJ Dawood translation is a good one.
“Milestones” by Said Qutb which is the ideological guidebook that Bin Laden and Zawahiri’s spiritual mentors followed, those mentors being Abdullah Azzam and Omar Abdel Rahman.
Next read “The Osama Bin Laden I Know” compiled by Peter Bergen for interviews with childhood friends, family members, Al Qaeda operatives, and journalists who knew Bin Laden personally.
JM Berger’s excellent Intelwire website offers collections of Al Qaeda statements and a documentary reader containing the organization’s founding documents.
There are many Al Qaeda public statements available from videotapes and uploads to interviews with newspapers and letters sent by Al Qaeda leaders to the press and of course the Al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula magazine “Inspire”.
A good place to start is “Anti-American Terrorism and the Middle East” (a documentary reader) compiled by Barry Rubin and Judith Colp Rubin.
To look specifically at the planning of the 9/11 attacks which began with brainstorming by three Baloch childhood friends in the Philippines in 1994 leading to the failed attempt by Algerian GIA to crash an Air France airliner into the Eiffel Tower in December 1994 and later in 1995 to the arrest of 9/11 plotters Abdul Hakim Murad (a pilot originally meant to be the lead suicide hijacker who would crash into the CIA HQ) And Ramzi Yousef (real name Abdul Basit, an engineer and the bomb maker in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing).
Some of the best and most important books by investigative journalists on the planning of the 9/11 attacks include:
The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright
1000 Years for Revenge by Peter Lance
Triple Cross by Peter Lance
Perfect Soldiers by Terry McDermott
I would also highly recommend having some online discussions with jihadists right here on FB. They are easy to find and when you are done you can turn them in to INTERPOL or the FBI or other appropriate authorities. I have debated with Al Nusra (Al Qaeda’s Syrian branch), Tunsian Ansar Sharia, and Islamic State mujahedin And supporters and just like the leaders of Al Qaeda and the Islamic State and the Taliban and Al Shabab and Boko Haram and Ansar Sharia and Hizb ut-Tahrir, they were all deeply pious religious fanatics convinced that they are doing “God’s will”. Yes they are interested in power but only the power to be “slaves of Allah” and impose “his” Sharia and the only riches they are concerned with are in the supposed “afterlife”.
Remember that Osama bin Laden gave up a life of wealth and privilege to travel to Pakistan to give away his inheritance to Abdullah Azzam’s fighters in Afghanistan. The 9/11 hijackers sacrificed their lives for their religion as did UBL who did not live a life of luxury. Most of the hijackers other than the 5 who were pilots, were not even told anything about the mission they were being sent on by their “emir” other than that it was a martyrdom operation.