Saturday, November 19, 2005

Osama bin Laden wants the United States to convert to Islam, ditch its constitution, abolish banks, imprison homosexuals and sign the Kyoto climate treaty.

The first complete collection of the Saudi’s statements published last week portrays a world in which Islam’s enemies will take the first steps toward salvation by embracing the “religion of all the prophets.”

“Messages to the World: The Statements of Osama bin Laden” is billed as the first accurate compendium of the terrorist leader’s words, threats and ruminations from 1994 to 2004.

Its editors have rooted out many statements they identified as forgeries and retranslated to correct “horrendous” errors.

Bin Laden’s terms for America’s surrender appeared after the September 2001 suicide attacks and include demands that amount to the abandonment of much of Western life.

Alcoholic drink and gambling would be barred, and there would be an end to women’s photos in newspapers or advertising.

Any woman serving “passengers, visitors and strangers,” presumably anyone from airline flight attendants to waitresses, would also be out of a job.

The West must “stop your oppression, lies, immorality and debauchery that has spread among you” and has become the “worst civilization witnessed in the history of mankind.”

Verso, the publisher, said it expected criticism for publishing the thoughts of a terrorist, but denied that the volume would be the terrorist equivalent of Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf.”

Verso spokesman Gavin Browning said that disapproval “is something that we’re anticipating.”

“The idea is to have an annotated, scholarly collection of bin Laden’s words,” he said. “Until now, his words have only been available in poor translations or sound bites.”

Mr. Browning emphasized that publishing bin Laden’s views did not imply any approval of them by the publishers.

The book’s introduction is written by professor Bruce Lawrence, who teaches Islamic studies at Duke University and describes the terrorist as “one of the best prose writers in Arabic.”

Many past translations of the words of bin Laden have been “horrendous” and often wrong, he said.

In the book, the terrorist responsible for killing nearly 3,000 civilians on Sept. 11, 2001, says that killing the innocent is wrong.

In bin Laden’s world, a global conflict is under way between the Muslim community and nonbelievers.

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