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Does Bin Laden Speak on Behalf of Islam?

November 18, 2002

I am concerned that the recent recording by Osama bin Laden has been greeted with silence throughout Islam (Nov. 13). When Christian fundamentalists make statements that are far less incendiary, they are faced with a barrage of condemnation from across Christianity and often forced to publicly retract their statements. When Bin Laden celebrates the mayhem he has financed, the entire Islamic world apparently falls silent. Either Al Qaeda acts on behalf of Islam or it does not; either Bin Laden speaks for Islam or he does not. Bin Laden envisions establishing a new caliphate, and one senses all of Islam holding its breath. Only those who believe in Islam can decide this, and regardless of whether they affirm or condemn Bin Laden and his minions, their silence reflects their fear at making the choice -- their unwillingness to accept the consequences of either embracing or rejecting Bin Laden. It is long past time for the choice to be made. Made clearly. Repeatedly. Made loudly, no matter what that choice may be.

Christopher Plourde

Venice

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