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Issue 10 - A Journal of Letters and Life
It's the Crusades, Stupid!
by Frederick Zackel

We are at war. But it's not Pearl Harbor Redux. Nor is it World War Three.
     It's a continuation of the Crusades.
     Don't let me convince you.
     Osama bin Laden said it himself back on 10 June 1999; his enemies are "the Crusader-Jewish alliance being led by the United States and Israel."
     Our ties to Israel are stronger than we may imagine. Our US national policy commits us to Israeli national policy. Should we send American troops to the Golan Heights? The polls say we should. To Bosnia? The same polls were diametrically opposed to it. To Haiti? We went, but we grumbled every step of the way.
     Israel gets the greatest proportion of our foreign aid, currently $3 billion a year. We have "loaned" it more than $10 billion dollars that nobody in Washington expects to see back. And let's remember that forgotten Palestinian squirreled away in a California jail, Sirhan Sirhan, who killed Bobby Kennedy. He is still a hero on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. He was a Lone Zealot. He was on a crusade.
     Legend says Paul was beheaded around 65 AD during the Persecutions of the Emperor Nero. The word "martyr" comes from the Greek word "martus" or "witness." While suffering, a martyr bears witness to his faith. Gradually, as more suffered, the word came to mean "baptism by blood," or death. The Arabic equivalent is "mashhad," which is "a place of witness," and is now mostly associated with Shi'a Muslim shrines.
     bin Laden sees himself a martyr for Islam. His own special brand of Islam, of course. He knows what the God of Abraham wants done.
     Larry Johnson, an expert on international terrorism and a former US intelligence officer, has pointed out that "bin Laden is not doing the ordinary, but rather has taken it upon himself to carry out a clear mission. He believes that the United States is desecrating the cradle of Islam in Saudi Arabia, and has thus directed his war against American interests."
     bin Laden has always been this zealous.
     bin Laden's father was a contractor who worked on one of Islam's holiest shrines in Jerusalem. As bin Laden notes, "Then when (my father) found out that the Government of Jordan announced a tender for restoration work on the Dome of the Rock Mosque, he gathered engineers and asked them to estimate the cost price only, without profit. They said to him: With God's help, we will be awarded the project and make some profit as well. He said to them: Calculate only the cost price of the project. When they did, they were surprised that he, God have mercy on his soul, reduced the cost price in order to guarantee that God's mosques, and this mosque in particular, are well served. He was awarded the project."
     bin Laden knows and accepts in his heart that he will die for his crusade.
     Die for Islam, and you go directly to paradise. You also gain revenge, personal glory, and your family gets a stipend from the militants. There are no shortage of recruits to make this theme central to their lives. In a zealot's death, there is a sense of hope and moral victory. In a zealot's death, there is no despair, no defeat, and because you go directly to paradise, no death.
Let's quote the Sheik Mohammed Sayed Tantawi, head of Al Azhar Mosque and University in Cairo, who in April, 1996, said: "Someone who blows himself up among the enemies of God who have occupied our land and have killed our children and kills dozens of them and protects his own honor and his religion, there is no doubt he is a martyr." Because the land belongs to Muslims. Allah told them so.
     Twenty Americans died at Khobar Towers, a high rise apartment complex at a US military base near Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, on June 24, 1996. It was the worst loss of life in the Middle East since the bombing of the US Marine Corps barracks in Beirut in 1983 when 241 US servicemen were killed. The fuel truck explosion was the second bombing in six months.
     The bombings came because the land belongs to Muslims. (There was a mosque down the street from the Towers, by the way.)
     Most Islamic fanatics like bin Laden "know in their hearts" that Westernization is the betrayal of Islam. Consider the Muslim Holy Lands from the Islamic point of view. Consider the thousand year old memories of the Christian Crusades. Consider what the image of Christian soldiers with all their weaponry--which you can't match!--parked on Islam's Holiest Soil.
Should we be surprised that the worst attack on US military personnel in the Persian Gulf took place at the El Khobar installation? That it followed by six months a smaller explosion? The five thousand pound bomb was twice the size of the bomb that went off in Oklahoma City; it left a 35 foot crater. We need to live in this world; what more must we know for our own self-protection?
     Then there's the Gulf War, too, that President George Bush thought was a simple war against Iraqi aggression. To bin Laden and the Islamic zealots, Christian soldiers were stationed on the holiest soil in all Islam. They had arrived a half-million strong for the Gulf War, and their continued presence was considered a betrayal of Islam by the Saudi family.
bin Laden complained, "As I said, we are pursuing our rights to have them [the Americans] evicted from the Muslim world countries and to prevent them from dominating us. We believe that the right to self-defense is to be enjoyed by all people."
     Can it really be that same old story?
     In 1017 Sultan Alp Arslan and his Persian armies took over the Holy Land while creating his own empire. In 1095 Pope Urban II called upon his followers in the west to free the Holy Land.
     Jerusalem was the center of the world. It needed to be saved from infidels. In return, the papacy promised to cut the time spent in Purgatory for sins committed and delay any debts owed to the Church. With that impetus, who could refuse?
     Orthodox Christianity defined the issue. Since Jerusalem was the center of its maps, that alone justified the Crusades. The Holy Land must be liberated from the infidels. Killing Saracens (a very loosely defined word) was righteous.
     The Crusades were fighting pilgrimages to take the Cross back into Jerusalem. Those who died on the way there or in battle received total remission of their sins. If you retreated, you were excommunicated. Those who won were allowed to take all the infidels' possessions.
     The First Crusaders in the Holy Land were barbarous buffoons who quickly became renown for their brutality. Not only did the French soldiers in the Turkish capital of Nicaea place the heads of Muslims on their spears, but they roasted the slain bodies of indigenous Christian civilians and ate them. Yes, they grilled Christian children on spits and ate their flesh. During that same First Crusade, German Crusaders killed enough indigenous peoples of Turkey to leave behind a mountain of bones.
     The Crusaders didn't know or care that there were many Christians living in the Holy Land. But the First Crusaders slaughtered all the locals--Muslims, Christians and Jews--because they couldn't differentiate among the various languages spoken by the locals or their Turkish overlords.
     The First Crusade entered Jerusalem in triumph in July, 1099. The Crusaders who took Jerusalem in 1099 burned Jews alive in the Great Synagogue and looted the Temple of the Rock. They thought to cleanse the Holy Land with human sacrifice. Any wonder why the Arabs called the Crusaders "the pagan race?"
     Lex talionis is the law of tit for tat.
     The infidels circumcised the Christians.
     The Crusaders not only took property, but pillaged all within sword's radius. Naturally the Muslims struck back. The jihads, or holy wars, began. The mujahadins are those who would die in a holy war.
     Holy War.
     In their famous fatwah, bin Laden and his buddies wrote, "For over seven years the United States has been occupying the lands of Islam in the holiest of places, the Arabian Peninsula, plundering its riches, dictating to its rulers, humiliating its people, terrorizing its neighbors, and turning its bases in the Peninsula into a spearhead through which to fight the neighboring Muslim peoples."
     The Turk Saladin was the greatest Arab military leader and thus the greatest opponent of the Western Christian Crusades. In 1187 AD he retook Jerusalem from the Crusaders, and Europeans never again came that close to conquering the Holy Land.
     The Crusades never ended.
     Or as the Fatwah says, "All these crimes and sins committed by the Americans are a clear declaration of war on God, his messenger, and Muslims."
     The French Crusaders cried, "Deus le volt!" God wills it! The Muslims fought back. "Allah Ackbar!" God is Great! Same God. Different sides of the same story.
     The infidels circumcised the Christians.
     The late great American author Ambrose Bierce defined "a fanatic" in his Devil's Dictionary as "Somebody who does what God would do if He knew all the facts of the case."
     The word "assassin" comes from the French nickname "hashishin," given to a radical Muslim sect of Shi'ites in the late 11th and early 12th centuries who smoked hashish to get the courage to (at first) murder the rival Sunni Muslims and (later on) the Christian Crusaders. It took the Mongol Hordes to wipe them out.
     "Allahu Akbar!"
     In the spring of 1995 that's what the outlawed Islamic Salvation Front member cried after he successfully master-minded a drive-by shooting in Kouba, a suburb of Algiers. The terrorist group proclaimed that the current Algerian government is "the infidel state."
     bin Laden was born in Saudi Arabia, a country he now considers "an apostate state." Apostasy is abandoning what you most believe in. It is the most grievous sin. Saudi Arabia is one of his sworn enemies.
     bin Laden laments that those Islamic regimes in power that aren't battling the West must either be reformed or overthrown.
     Twenty-odd years ago he fought with the Islamic rebels against the Russians in Afghanistan. (Well, he gave them money, anyway.)
bin Laden speaks about the Taliban, saying, "God blessed the Muslims with the coming of the Taleban rule. It was not a force being pushed in from abroad, as the Crusaders in the western media try to depict them; but it was rather a pulling force from the inside."
     He knows that almost all Islamic youth does not support his crusade, calling them "a generation of students who did not experience the heat of jihad. They were affected by the US media that invaded Islamic countries."
     He states that, "Our enemy, the target -- if God gives Muslims the opportunity to do so -- is every American male, whether he is directly fighting us or paying taxes."
     bin Laden thinks Americans have lost their moral compass.
     "You may have heard these days that almost three quarters of the US people support Clifton's strikes on Iraq. They are a people whose president becomes more popular when he kills innocent people. They are a people who increase their support for their president when he commits some of the seven cardinal sins. They are a lowly people who do not understand the meaning of principles. "
     bin Laden truly believes that the United States (with Israel support) is occupying sacred soil in Islamic holy lands to build a powerbase where it can plunder the region's wealth and humiliate all Muslims.
     "Let us say that there are two parties to the conflict: The first party is world Christianity, which is allied with Zionist Jewry and led by the United States, Britain, and Israel; while the second party is the Muslim world. In such a conflict, it is unacceptable to see the first party mount attacks, desecrate my lands and holy shrines, and plunder the Muslims' oil. When it is met by any resistance on the part of the Muslims, this party brands the Muslims as terrorists. This is stupidity. People's intelligence is being belittled. We believe that it is our religious duty to resist this occupation with all the power that we have and to punish it using the same means it is pursuing against us. "
     He truly believes that the United States (with Israel support) is occupying sacred soil in Islamic holy lands to build a powerbase where it can plunder the region's wealth and humiliate all Muslims.
     Where did he get that silly idea?
     On June 26 in the Year of Our Lord 1203, this Greek Christian city of Constantinople was sacked by French and Venetian Christian soldiers of the Fourth Crusade. The city was the greatest treasure chest of Christian relics, and this Crusade was born a sham. This Crusade was launched to plunder and slaughter Christians. When the French armies took the city, the result was, quite simply, totalerkreig. For three days they raped, plundered and looted. The slaughter ended because the soldiers grew weary of slaughter. The booty became the great treasures of the West.
Because of the rivalry between the Roman Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Fall of Constantinople was almost inevitable. The City was totalerkreiged, of course. One expects that in warfare. But what came next was sacrilege. These Christians stole whatever religious relics they wanted from a treasure trove said to be "equal to all the other relics in the rest of the world." Then they intentionally desecrated religious artifacts, even the Eucharist itself. They violated all that was sacred.
     It is said two-thirds of Europe's wealth was in Constantinople at its fall. Some of that loot is still on display inside Saint Mark's in Venice, Italy. (The relics of Saint Mark himself had been smuggled by Venetians out of Alexandria around 828 AD.)
     Within its first seventy-five years of existence Islam had overrun all of Africa north of the Sahara and had invaded Southern Europe. A Short History of Africa says, "Ibn Khaldun, the greatest of Arabic historians, who was Tunisian born, described the Banu Hilal and the other Beduin invaders as 'a swarm of locusts destroying all in their path.'"
     When bin Laden and his fellow fanatics issued their fatwah against the West, they wrote, "The Arabian Peninsula has never -- since God made it flat, created its desert, and encircled it with seas--been stormed by any forces like the crusader armies now spreading in it like locusts, consuming its riches and destroying its plantations."
     This image of "a swarm of locusts destroying all in their path" is consistent with other representations of the frightening juggernaut that is religious fanaticism and will reappear and reverberate across history.
     The Muslims were in Canton, China, as early as the Ninth century. From 800 to 1300 AD, the Arab culture was the only superpower on the face of the globe.
     Southern Spain is also known as Andalusia, from the Arabic "Al-Andalus," which is another way of describing the land that the Arabs took from the Vandals (i.e., the Visigoths) in 720 AD.
     For the next 700 years the Arabs, the Jews and the Christians lived in comparative peace in Andalusia. There were over 70 libraries, and freedom of worship was permitted. When warfare broke out between neighbors, there was an intermingling of religious beliefs. Even the Jews were generally allowed to live in peace in Andalusia . . . at least until the Christians took it over.
What began in 1391 with a series of pogroms that swept through the Iberian peninsula grew into a more formidable persecution that caused thousands of Spanish Jews to convert to Christianity. They were called "conversos," but many Jews and Christians (then and now) presumed these converts remained "crypto-Jews," that is, secret practitioners of Jewish rites.
     Then Isabella came to the throne. Isabella made her own personal confessor Tomas de Torquemada the first Assistant Inquisitor. A year later Torquemada would become the Grand Inquisitor. He made quite a name for himself.
The Spanish Inquisition was created in 1478 by both the monarchy and the Spanish clergy. (No separation of Church and State here.) The Inquisition decided the "conversos" were really heretics guilty of apostasy. These "Marranos," as they were also called, were Jews who had accepted Baptism, while still honoring their own religion in secret. It was widely agreed, again by both Jew and Christian, that those "conversos" who died during the Inquisition were considered Jewish martyrs for their faith.
In 1492 all Jews were ordered expelled from Spain. Torquemada gave the Spanish Jews three months to either convert to Christianity or leave the country and forfeit whatever assets couldn't be carried out.
Columbus did not sail from Cadiz, the main Spanish seaport on the Atlantic coast, but from Palos de la Frontera near the mouth of the Rio Tinto on August 2, 1492. He could not sail from the main seaport that day because that harbor was crowded with ships. Cadiz was the principal "embarcadero" for the Jews being expelled from Spain by Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand.
The Spanish Inquisition was in office for 350 years. Marranos were burned alive as late as 1647. Nobody was safe. The Inquisition twice imprisoned Saint Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, the religious order set up in 1534 to counter the Reformation.
     In theory, Muslims divide all humanity into Believers and Non-Believers. History is viewed as the progress of Islam to convert the entire world.
     Islam grows. Today Muslims are one-fourth of the world's population.
     Muslim fundamentalists believe that the Jews and the Christians follow "inauthentic texts," that is, the Bible. For them, only the Koran is authentic.
     The Koran is the Word of God. Mohammed's message reads "La ilaha illa'llah Muhammadun rasulu'llah." "There is no God but God; Mohammed is the Messenger of God." Not the exact same phrase, but still, "I am the Lord Thy God, and Thou shall have no strange gods before me."
     The Koran must be memorized from childhood. It is a call to worship five times daily. The Koran is a Muslim's life. All else is subservient to it. The name "Islam" itself is Arabic for "one who surrenders" to the Will of God.
     The jihad is the war against infidels. The Koran permits no peaceful coexistence. All that is not it is its sworn enemy. Ask any "al-muwahhidun" (or "monotheist" as Arabic translates it). Ask any "al-murabitun," or "soldier for true Islam," a jihad is a great unifying force. Warfare based on religious vows can only end with "victory or martyrdom."
     In 1529 Ahmad bin Ibrahim totalerkreiged Christian Ethiopia after the battle of Shimbra Kure. His "scorched earth policy" was total war: religious war and total plunder.
     Some goals haven't changed in a dozen centuries. Hamas is an Islamic terrorist group who claims the Holy Land is sacred Islamic territory that must be liberated. The word "hamas" is Arabic for "zeal." Ask a Hamas believer and you will be told, "To die for our cause lets us enter heaven." To the followers of Hetzboullah, a fatal bullet from an Israeli rifle is a one-way ticket to paradise. Their very name translates as "Party of God." At the same time, "Taliban" means "student of religion."
     But let us not forget that Islam is fighting itself these days. Civil war--religious war--goes on in Algeria, in Pakistan (with its nuclear arsenal at stake), in Tunisia, in Egypt and elsewhere.
     Algerian Junior Interior Minister Noureddine Kasdalli was quoted in early 1995 that Algerian security forces had killed 20,000 Muslim militants in a two and a half year period. In addition, more than six thousand more--all civilians--were killed in 1994 alone. Egypt alone has arrested over 20,000 Muslims, while Sunni Muslims stalk and ambush Shiite Muslims in and around Karachi mosques.
     Religious war. Over the past two decades millions of Islamic refugees have fled to Europe. Terrorists find it easy to infiltrate those refugee crushes.
     Religious zealots get this fanatical all the time. Religious warfare is an ongoing story. See Northern Ireland where the Protestants and Catholics have been united only in bloodshed. Religious warfare like this by the Sons of Abraham would be viewed by Martians as stupendously ludicrous, were it not so tragic.
     Masada was a Roman garrison overlooking the Dead Sea that was conquered by the Zealots in 66 AD who held onto it until 73 AD. It was a very long siege that ended in honor and death. Nine hundred and sixty Jewish zealots--men, women, and children--are said to have committed mass suicide rather than surrender to Flavius Silva (and the Roman Commander Titus, the son of the Emperor) after the Roman officer's year-long siege of their stronghold.
The Christians in the Coliseum in Rome were willing to be eaten by lions or impaled by gladiators because they knew their God promised them a home in heaven. Look at the slaughter of the Muslims at Constantinople in 1202.
     When the first Crusaders reached the great city of Byzantium, it was the greatest city on their maps and the greatest Christian city on Earth. When Byzantium was destroyed and sacked by the fanatical Muslims in 1247, some scholars say half the books in the world were destroyed in a single afternoon.
     All on the name of God.
     A blood bath in Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia by the Sultan Bajazet I six centuries ago ended with him slaughtering more prisoners than he left alive--in the name of religion. Martin Luther pressed for the annihilation of the Peasants' Revolt. The Wars of Religion in Western Europe could only be called mass slaughter. The Puritans wiped out the English theater of Shakespeare. Calvinists in their zeal even destroyed church organs.
     Actually, the Sultan Bajazet I, who fought Christians in the name of Islam, fought against "polytheists"--you know, those who believe in the Holy Trinity. His greatest military victory as far as the West is concerned was the Battle of Nicopolis in 1396, when his troops overwhelmed the French crusaders. Thousands died and thousands more were taken prisoners. After the battle the Sultan learned that three weeks earlier these noble Frenchmen had massacred the prisoners of Rachowa (a town with both Turkish and Bulgarian peoples) which had surrendered in good faith to them--because the Rachowans were "schismatics and infidels." (The official French explanation was that the prisoners of Rachowa were massacred because guards could not be spared to guard them.) Outraged, the Sultan ordered his executioners to slice throats and chop heads "from early morning to late afternoon." Some say the Sultan only killed 300 Frenchman that day. Others say ten times that died.
     In her brilliant book A Distant Mirror, Barbara Tuchman was dismayed by the whole Nicopolis event, for because the French lost here, Constantinople would fall to Bajazet's great grandson Mohammed II in 1453.
     Why . . . was the attitude of the French crusaders so steeped in arrogance and overconfidence? Why were they unable to take into account the fact of opponents who did not fight for the same values and who obeyed different rules? It could only be answered that a dominant idea is slow to change and that, regardless of everything, the French still believed themselves supreme in war . . . and for that their heads were to roll in blood-soaked sand at the Sultan's feet.
     Tuchman was right. But the slaughter in the east made it easier for the Western Master Narrative to flee westward again, this time across the uncharted seas.
     We got busy doing other things and we forgot the war was not over.
     Vasco da Gama sailed around the Cape of Good Hope, reached India, and then returned to Portugal from 1497 through 1478. The night before Vasca da Gama set sail, he prayed in a chapel.
     In 1502 da Gama was given the title of Admiral of the Indian Seas by King Manoel of Portugal for discovering and navigating the Cape of Good Hope. That February, he sailed on his second voyage around the Cape. He hugged the coast of Africa, then scooted over to the port of Cannanore, India. When a Muslim ship Meri came into sight, da Gama chased and overtook it. He boarded it and discovered it was carrying 380 passengers returning from a pilgrimage to Mecca. He confiscated the cargo, then locked the pilgrims in the hold. Then he set the ship on fire. The ship was hard to burn; four days passed before it finally sank, killing all the men, women and children on board.
     Da Gama arrived in Calicut, India, on October 30, 1502. When the Zamorin, the Muslim chief of the Hindu city, said he would be willing to sign a treaty with the admiral of the Portuguese fleet, Da Gama told him every Muslim would have to be banished from the city.
     Some local fishermen came to the Portuguese ships hoping to sell their catches. First, da Gama hung each of them from the yardarms. Then he cut off their hands and legs and let the parts of their bodies float ashore on the morning tide. Then he began shooting his Portuguese guns at the city.
     Da Gama returned a year later to Portugal with a grand cargo of spices and semi-retired from the mariner's life. He made another trip around the Cape in 1524 as Viceroy of Portuguese India, primarily to arrest the governor of Goa on charges of corruption. He died on Christmas Eve, 1524, and his remains were shipped around the Cape of Good Hope and were later buried in the same chapel he had prayed in the night before his great voyage of discovery.
     Vasco da Gama went to Calicut for "spices and Christianity." The last Portuguese (i.e., Roman Catholic) outpost was East Timor in the Islamic nation of Indonesia. For 45 decades East Timor in the Spice Islands was a Portuguese colony. The Portuguese left hurriedly in 1975, as rapidly as Robinson Crusoe left his island, without a look back.
     The Norwegian Nobel Committee said in its Nobel Peace Prize award citation, "It has been estimated that one-third of the population of East Timor lost their lives due to starvation, epidemics, war and terror" during the first twenty years of Indonesian occupation. Why? As The New York Times reported, "nearly 95% of the population of East Timor is Roman Catholic, while Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim nation."
     Now does the recent bloodshed become understandable?
     Look at modern day Lebanon. In my lifetime Beirut was world-famous as a resort for the rich and famous. Now, the entire country is still trying to rebuild from its ruins, a peculiar devastation that was caused by fanatical members of the three great religions, all who profess to believe in the same god, yet each side is killing the other for not following his god. The God of Abraham.
     When Jordan and Israel announced in 1994 that they would sign a peace treaty after forty-six years of religious warfare, King Hussein of Jordan spoke of "the mesmerizing fear" that had kept the two countries at war for so long. He seemed surprised by the number of years wasted. In 1994 Algerian Islamic extremists beheaded a mother in front of her children. Nothing there has changed since that atrocity. More atrocities in the name of God happen weekly. It is the same old story.
     To die for your God, your faith--what a concept! And once you discover you're willing to die for your God, then in no time at all, you're willing to conquer and kill for Him, too.
     Especially those apostates within your own religion who reject you.
     When he was sentenced on March 27, 1996, the confessed assassin and Orthodox Jew Yigal Amir told the Israeli court he killed Yitzhak Rabin for the Glory of God. He worshipped the same God Rabin worshipped, but to Amir, Rabin's God was a Strange God and not his God.
     Amir said he was following Jewish law to prevent The Land from being handed over to the Palestinians. He said, "Everything I did, I did for God, for the Torah of Israel, the people of Israel, and the land of Israel."
     At his sentencing, Amir was careful to wear the white shirt and black skull cap of an Orthodox Jew. He said, "I was compelled to carry out this act even though it contradicts my character and my personal philosophy . . . because the damage that was going to be caused (by Rabin's work) would have been irreversible."
Judge Edmond Levy pointed out that Amir was highly intelligent, but also (and more importantly) "has narcissistic and schizoid tendencies and sees the world in terms of black and white." Which could help draw a portrait of any Lone Zealot.
Judge Levy cited psychiatric findings that the assassin had acted rationally and suffered no mental illnesses or disorders. Amir acted, he said, "with premeditation and astonishing composure."
     The judge also said, "There is no greater desecration of God's name" than the attempt "to justify the murder as a religious commandment or a moral mission." Levy went on to say, "The attempt to give the murder of Yitzhak Rabin the seal of approval of Jewish law is out of place, and constitutes cynical and blatant exploitation of religious law to serve ends that are foreign to Judaism."
     Judge Levy, himself an Orthodox Jew, pointed out that there were democratic ways to replace Rabin. But religious war always speaks in absolutes.
     Although bin Laden refuses to accept responsibility for the embassy bombings in Africa, he does link them again to "the modern day crusaders."
     bin Laden is specific about Nairobi. "The brutal US invasion of Somalia kicked off from there. Some 13,000 from among our brothers, women, and sons in Somalia were killed under the banner of the United Nations. Reports, corroborated by photographs, said that our Somali brothers were grilled as if they were sheep."
     (Remember the French soldiers in the Turkish capital of Nicaea who roasted the slain bodies of indigenous Christian civilians and ate them? Some stories never get tired of being told.)
     As for the US Embassy itself, bin Laden says, "For the past few decades, plots have been hatched to partition Sudan from there. These plots are hatched in Nairobi. As is widely known, the US Embassy in Nairobi is the agency that is doing this. The greatest CIA center in eastern Africa is located at this embassy. Thanks to God's grace to Muslims, the blow was successful and great. They deserved it. "
     After the embassy bombings, the United States issued an arrest warrant against Osama bin Laden and promised a $5 million reward to whoever provides information leading to his arrest.
     Since then bin Laden's moves have been circumspect and limited because bin Laden has been protected by the Taliban. Until now.


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