Conversation With Terror

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TIME: Is your Islamic message having an impact?

Osama bin Laden: Winds of change have blown in order to lift the injustice to which the world is subjected by America and its supporters and the Jews who are collaborating with them. Look at what is happening these days in Indonesia, where Suharto, a despot who ruled for 30 years, was overthrown. The time will come, sooner rather than later, when criminal despots who betrayed God and his Prophet, and betrayed their trust and their nation, will face the same fate.

TIME: But there are many Muslims who do not agree with your kind of violence.

Osama bin Laden: We should fully understand our religion. Fighting is a part of our religion and our Shari'a [an Islamic legal code]. Those who love God and his Prophet and this religion cannot deny that. Whoever denies even a minor tenet of our religion commits the gravest sin in Islam. Those who sympathize with the infidels-such as the PLO in Palestine or the so-called Palestinian Authority--have been trying for tens of years to get back some of their rights. They laid down arms and abandoned what is called violence and tried peaceful bargaining. What did the Jews give them? They did not give them even 1% of their rights.

TIME: America, the world's only superpower, has called you Public Enemy No. 1. Are you worried?

Osama bin Laden: Hostility toward America is a religious duty, and we hope to be rewarded for it by God. To call us Enemy No. 1 or 2 does not hurt us. Osama bin Laden is confident that the Islamic nation will carry out its duty. I am confident that Muslims will be able to end the legend of the so-called superpower that is America.

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