Almon Leroy Way, Jr.
The first religious order is a document entitled "Ladenese Epistle--Declaration of War." It was written in August, 1996, and, in October of that year, was published in Al Quda Al Arabi, a newspaper based in London and frequently used by bin Laden to present and publicize his political and religious doctrines.
The second order, entitled "Jihad Against Jews And Crusaders," was posted on the Internet in February, 1998. By "Crusaders," Osama bin Laden means Christians and Westerners, particularly peoples and cultures that are both Christian and Western.
In using the term "Crusaders," bin Laden is making reference to the eight Crusades waged during the Middle Ages, when European Christians went on military expeditions to the Middle East in efforts to recapture Jerusalem and the "Holy Land" from the "Saracens," that is, from the Muslim invaders and conquerors. Bin Laden sees any contemporary Western or Christian commercial or other intercourse with, political or economic influence on, or physical presence in a predominantly Muslim country as part of a present-day "Crusade" to conquer and dominate the Islamic world, pollute its cul- ture, undermine and destroy its religion, and steal its natural resources (e.g., petrole- um),
As Muslim leaders during the Middle Ages waged "Islamic Counter-Crusades" (i.e., "Holy Wars," or "Jihads") against the European Christian Crusaders and the states they established in the Levant, bin Laden is promoting and leading what he perceives to be a Jihad not only against the presence of Jews and a Jewish state in Iseael/Palestine, but also against the Christian West, especially against the United States of America, which bin Laden views as the leading force of the "infidels" (unbelievers, or non-Mus- lims) penetrating, invading, exploiting, and contaminating the Islamic world and its culture.