Before September 11th I, along with most of the country, hadnt heard much about a man named Usama Bin Laden for the past eight months Ive heard his name countless times. I know through the news stories what part he played in the World Trade Center bombing, but I also know that this wasnt his first attack on the United States. I tried to get information from articles written before September 11th as well as articles written after the attacks. Through this speech I would like to share what I have learned about Usama the man, his terrorist activities, and his reasoning behind the attacks.
Ill start with some personal information and background on Usama. According to a US government fact sheet He was born around 1955 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. He is the youngest son of Muhammad Bin Laden, founder of a Saudi based construction firm heavily involved with the Saudi government. Usama is a multi-millionaire because of inheritance, not by any effort of his own. Usama left Saudi Arabia in 1979 to join the fighting in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union. He co-founded an organization known as the MAK to help funnel fighters and money to the Afghan resistance.
The MAK had recruitment centers all over the world including the United States. In 1988 he formed the now infamous al-Qaida which contains many of the more extremist former members of MAK. The goal of al-Qaida in Usamas own words is to unite all Muslims and to establish a government which follows the rules of the Caliphs. The caliphs were the first leaders after the death of the prophet Muhammad, they ruled over the Muslim community as a whole. Because of his anti-government activities he was expelled from Saudi Arabia in 1991. And upon threat of UN sanctions he was expelled from Sudan in 1996.
In August of 1996 he declared war on the United States. Now that you know a little about his background Ill move onto the things he has either confessed to or is the main suspect in. Usama has used his families wealth to back terrorist activities all over the world. The most alarming of his previous attacks was the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993. It is a testament to his dedication to destroying the US.
For this attack the terrorists used a 1200 to 1500 lb fertilizer bomb. They were unsuccessful in the first attempt to bring down the towers. In August of 1998 al-Qaida is charged in connection to bombings at us embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. These attacks killed 200 people and injured 4,000 only 12 of the dead were American citizens. According to a US government fact sheet he admitted to attacks on US military personnel in Somalia and Yemen. The October 200 attack on the USS Cole which blasted a 40 foot by 40 foot hole in the side of the ship.
Of course we all know about the massive attacks on September 11th that included the World Trade Center, the pentagon and a third highjacked plane that was crashed after a struggle between highjackers and passengers. It seems that Usama is intent on killing Americans at every opportunity he gets. Now I would like to touch on the reasoning Usama gives for his brutal attacks against the US and our interests. In an article I found on a website called the Atlantic Online he was quoted referring to an American pilot who was killed then stripped naked and dragged through the streets of Mogadishu his statement was It was a pleasure for every Muslim .
The main complaint Usama has against the United States is our support of Israel. In a 1999 article in Esquire magazine Usama states The American imposes himself on everyone. Americans accuse our children in Palestine of being terrorists- those children, who have no weapons and have not even reached maturity. At the same time, Americans defend a country, the state of Jews, that has a policy to destroy the future of these children.
This is the propaganda used by the al-Qaida to ensure the continued hatred for the United States amongst anti Israeli extremist Muslims. In much of the reading I have done Usama accuses the United States of killing Muslim children, even though many of the missions he refers to are missions to deliver humanitarian aid to starving Muslims. I have given you a look into the life of Usama, his terrorist activities, and some of the reasoning behind his activities. I hope you will go and read what you can to get a better understanding of Usama. I know I am far from finished learning about this topic.
One thing I know is that every American will remember where they were when they heard the news of the attacks on September 11th.