Usama bin Laden
Spiritual Leader of al-Qaeda

Usama bin Laden

NameUsama bin Muhamed bin Awad bin Laden (1957-)
Also Known AsUsamah/Osama, bin Ladin. Bin Awad also spelt bin Oud.
The Sheikh.
The Director.
The Contractor.
BiographyThe Spiritual Leader of Al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden is of Saudi/Yemeni origins. Born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 1957.
His father Muhammad bin Awad bin Laden, of Hadramaut, Yemen, made a fortune as a building contractor whose main client was the Saudi royal family. Bin Laden inherited part of this fortune at a young age and used it to bankroll military action with the Afghan mujahideen during the Soviet occupation, during which period he came under the influence of Islamists such as Dr Abdullah Azzam. Later, he joined forces with Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) leader Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri, to form the World Islamic Front for Jihad global terrorist network, a merger of EIJ and Al-Qaeda.

A more detailed biography will be forthcoming. Other, more detailed biographies can be found in the Webpages section, below.
  • Frontline (PBS): Hunting bin Laden
  • FAS: Profile of Osama and Al Qaeda
  • IACSP BBS: Inside the Osama Bin Laden Investigation by Steven Emerson.
  • Smoking Gun: Bin Laden: Public Enemy Number One documents published in response to the 11th September 2001 terrorist attacks.
  • BBC: Who is Osama bin Laden?
  • FBI Wanted File
  • Wikipedia entry on Osama bin Laden.
  • The New Yorker: The Real bin Laden - a long and detailed biography.
  • Infoplease: Who Is Osama bin Laden?
  • biography. An informative biography. However, PWHCE warns that other areas of the site contain offensive material. A generally disreputable page.
  • Bulletin: Bin Laden's Secret Life. On 3rd September 2003 The Bulletin/Newsweek published this report claiming Bin Laden is in the mountains of Afghanistan's Kunar province. By Sami Yousafzai and Ron Moreau.
  • Publications
  • Al Jazeera/BBC: Transcript of 11th February bin Ladin tape.
  • Fatwa against Americans, August 1996. (Relates to American presence in Saudi Arabia).
  • World Islamic Front Fatwa against Jews and Crusaders, February 1998.
  • BBC: Broadcast, 7 October 2001. Agence France Presse English translation. AFP's translation cuts out some supplications. The two versions are broadly the same, with some significant differences in structure, but not content, in some areas. The AFP document also contains statements by al-Zawahiri and Suleiman Abu Gheith.
  • Al-Jazeera/BBC: Broadcast, 3 November 2001.
  • Usama bin Laden's message for the youth of the Muslim Umma, 9 December 2001.
  • BBC: Sermon for the Feast of the Sacrifice [1], 11 February 2003.
  • MEMRI: Sermon for the Feast of the Sacrifice, 11 February 2003.
  • MEMRI: Usama bin Laden takes issue with the clerics, July 2003. In which UBL specifies the factors which must be present for a jihad to succeed in establishing the Khalifah, and then laments those factors which prevented it from happening - chief being the clerics.
  • BBC: "Peace Treaty" offer to Europe (full text) See also MEMRI: Osama bin Laden Offers Peace Treaty with Europe, Says Al-Qa'ida 'Will Persist in Fighting' the U.S (abridged). Read Trevor Stanley's comments on this tape.
  • Interviews
  • Terrorism Research Center: Transcript of "Usamah Bin-Ladin, the Destruction of the Base" presented by Salah Najm. June 1999.
  • FAS: Transcript of Osama bin Laden video tape. (Other html versions: ABC News html (3 pages)) (PDF sources: FAS // Guardian). Article about the Jordanian lecturer who wrote the poem bin Laden recites.
  • Al-Jazeera/FBIS/Yahoo:"First War of the Century" interview, 27 December 2001, Al Jazeera.
  • Nida'ul Islam: 1996 interview (Australian Islamic Islamist site):
  • - a webpage which aims to be a 'permanent historical reminder' of the tape in which bin Laden claimed responsibility for the 11th September attacks.
  • PBS: Interview with John Miller May 1998 also mirrored here. John Miller's article about the circumstances of this interview. Informative and amusing.
  • ABCNews (USA): Rahimullah Yousafsai interviews Usama bin Laden, December 1998. Note: Four pages.
  • Al-Jazeera: December 1998 interview (on Robert Fisk's webpage). Yahoo! Groups (RMNEWS) copy.
  • Dawn: Hamid Mir interviews Usama bin Laden, Kabul 9 November 2001. Timothy Noah wrote this article discussing whether the Hamid Mir interview is genuine. Noah's arguments are very weak.
  • BooksA selection of books about Usama bin Laden:
    • Anonymous: Through Our Enemies' Eyes: Osama bin Laden, Radical Islam, and the Future of America, 2002.
      [ PWHCE Rating: ***** A detailed look at the activities of Usama bin Laden and his associates. The author has subsequently revealed his identity - Michael Scheuer, former Chief of the Bin Laden Unit at the Counter-Terrorism Center. Contains much original information. ]
    • Peter L Bergen, Holy War, Inc.: Inside the Secret World of Osama bin Laden, 2001.
      [ PWHCE Rating: ***** A comprehensive overview. Highly recommended for the general reader. ]
    • Yossef Bodansky, Bin Laden: The Man Who Declared War on America, 1999.
      [ PWHCE Rating: ** Unreferenced. Contains significant errors. ]
    • Roland Jacquard, In the Name of Osama bin Laden: Global Terrorism & the Bin Laden Brotherhood, translated from French, 2002.
      [ PWHCE Rating: **** A useful book with extensive original source material. Perhaps less accessible to the general reader. ]
    • Simon Reeve, The New Jackals: Ramzi Yousef, Osama bin Laden and the Future of Terrorism, 1999.
      [ PWHCE Rating: *** A prescient look at the activities of al-Qaeda and the Ramzi Yousef cell before September 11. Now somewhat dated. ]
    See AlsoAyman al-Zawahiri, Abdullah Azzam, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Mullah Krekar, Al-Qaeda's Revolutionary Model, The Evolution of al-Qaeda

    Previous: Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri | Next: Abu Musab al-Zarqawi

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