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Those who read the child-killer Anders Behring Breivik’s manifesto following his misadventure in Oslo were understandably quick to accuse the murderer of hypocrisy for his stated admiration of Osama bin Laden. How could a man so virulently anti-Islam and willing to confront Islamism speak in a positive voice about the leader of al-Qaeda?
It actually makes sense the more you think about it. Indeed, I think I also feel a twinge of respect for the 9/11 ringleader (as hideous as that sounds). You only have to read his notorious ‘Fatwa against America and Israel’ to realise the wildcat millionaire was by-and-large on the money about Western-Islamic relations.
Bin Laden recognised, long before most, that Islam and modernity were (and are) incompatible and that (eventually) one must make way for the other. He knew that the only way Islam could reassert itself as an alternative to modern living was through huge waves of violence; that Islam will have to outdo the modern world in savagery if it cannot (and it cannot) compete in terms of economic growth or cultural vibrancy. Most importantly, he also knew that there is a dark place in human nature that respects violence, even of the most horrid and savage kind and that this respect can sometimes overcome the rational part of the mind that values banks, music stores and coffee shops. It is out of ignorance of this that we are shocked by the pampered London Muslims who abandon Kensington, iPhones and PlayStations for Syria and Iraq. Bin Laden understood only too well the ancient, occult lure of the primitive and all its apparent ‘purity’.
I suppose bin Laden was also (though we are loathe to admit it) something of a freedom fighter. It’s not pleasant to acknowledge, but bin Laden was exactly correct about American policy in the Gulf. It was (and is) deeply hypocritical of America to posture about democratisation in the Middle East whilst at the same time maintain a relationship with a hand-severing despotism in Riyadh. And to be sure, were bin Laden’s aims limited to the liberation of his homeland from the House of Saud, it wouldn’t have been crazy for liberals to have supported him.
He was not limited to such noble aims of course, despite what the Left occasionally argues. He wanted an Islamic superpower under his direct command, primed to target and bully the free world for outlandish demands. Those who replace him maintain those aims, but lack entirely the reason he undeniably possessed.
It serves all the while to remember this though. Bin Laden was a monster, but the sleep of reason that gave birth to him was our own.