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Friedman Reveals Many Reasons Why Arabs Secretly Root for bin Laden

New York Times columnist Tom Friedman wrote an excellent editorial today cataloging the many reasons that Arabs quietly root for Osama bin Laden. Among other thoughts Friedman collected in a number of candid talks with Arab journalists, business people, and Muslim community leaders:

  • a "serious Arab journalist in Bahrain who said that Arabs could never have pulled off something as complex as Sept. 11",
  • a European convert to Islam who said that "the bin Laden tape where he boasted of the World Trade Center attack" was clearly doctored by U.S. authorities,
  • a Pakistani who confided that all of the students in his children's elementary school believe the urban legend that all of the Jews who worked in the World Trade Center were told to stay home on September 11.

Friedman also offers a constructive suggestion to the U.S. Government that we have not heard elsewhere: "The Bush team has yet to provide a dossier, in Arabic, detailing all the evidence against bin Laden. It is not too late for that, although facts alone will not be enough."

But most telling is the point he makes near the end of his column: "...{We} have to admit that bin Laden touches something deep in the Arab-Muslim soul, even among those who condemn his murders. They still root for him as the one man who was not intimidated by America's overweening power, as the one man who dared to tell certain Arab rulers that they had no clothes, and as the one man who did something about it."

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