July 12, 2024

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Osama bin Laden, Big Man on Campus

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College students haven’t always been persuaded by Osama bin Laden’s prose. Yet when his 2002 “Letter to America” went viral among young Americans earlier this month, I wasn’t surprised. I had assigned the document for a course on religion and politics when it first appeared. Students found it compelling as a clear and concise statement of al Qaeda’s motives, intentions and understanding of world and Middle Eastern history. They were horrified, as were most faculty.

Yet a year earlier, only a few days after Sept. 11, 2001, a cultural Marxist professor lectured a staff meeting on the need to understand and sympathize with the 19 unfortunate men who had been driven to their martyrdom by Western colonial oppression. Those in the towers, he intoned, had it coming. On that day, my colleagues reacted to this claim with derision and contempt. But the virus had arrived. It would soon spread.

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2023-11-30 18:22:00

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