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Al Qaeda’s 1998 Declaration of Jihad (War)**

“No one argues today about three well established facts, known to everyone; we (Al Qaeda) enumerate them as a reminder.

1. For seven years America has been occupying the lands of Islam in its holiest of places, the Arabian Peninsula – plundering its riches, dictating to its rulers, humiliating its people, terrorizing its neighbors and turning its bases in the peninsula into a spearhead with which it fights the neighboring Muslim peoples.

While some people may have argued in the past over the realities of the occupation, all the people of the Peninsula now acknowledge it.  There is no clearer evidence than America’s ceaseless aggression against the Iraqi people – all launched right from the Peninsula, though its rulers collectively refuse having their land used for this end.  But they have been subdued.

2. Despite the awful devastation inflicted on the Iraqi people at the hands of the Crusader-Jewish alliance and despite the astronomical number of deaths – which has exceeded 1 million – despite all this, the Americans attempt once again to repeat the horrific massacres, as if the protracted sanctions imposed after the brutal war, or the fragmentation and devastation, was not enough for them. So now here they come (again) to annihilate what is left of this people and humiliate their Muslim neighbors. (This paragraph, written more than five years before the March 2003 US invasion of Iraq, discusses the consequences of the 1991 Gulf War and the subsequent economic sanctions against Iraq.)

3. Now if the Americans’ purposes behind these wars are religious and economic, so too are they also to serve the Jews’ petty state (Israel), diverting attention from its occupation of Jerusalem and the murder of Muslims there.  There is no better evidence of this than their eagerness to destroy Iraq, the strongest neighboring Arab state, and their endeavor to fragment all the states of the region – such as Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Sudan – into mini-paper states whose disunion and weakness will guarantee Israel’s survival and the continuation of the brutal Crusader occupation of the peninsula.

All these crimes and sins committed by the Americans are a clear declaration of war on Allah, His Messenger and the Muslims. Ulema throughout Islamic history are unanimously agreed that the jihad is individual duty whenever the enemy tears into the lands of the Muslims.

This was related by Imam bin Qudama in al-Mughni; Imam al-Kisa’i in al-Bada’i al-Qurtubi in his commentary; and the Sheik of Islam (Ibn Taymiyya) in his chronicles, where he states: “ As for defensive warfare, this is the greatest way to defend sanctity and religion. This is an obligation consensually agreed to (by the Ulema). After faith, there is nothing more sacred than repulsing the enemy who attacks religion and life.”

On that basis, and in compliance with Allah’s order, we here by issue the following decree to all Muslims: the ruling to kill the Americans and their Allies -civilian and military– is an individual obligation incumbent upon every Muslim who can do it and in any country- this until the Aqsa Mosque (Jerusalem) and the Holy Mosque (Mecca) are liberated from their grip, and until their armies withdraw from all the lands of Islam, defeated, shattered and unable to threaten any Muslim. This is in accordance with the Word of the most High-“Fight the pagans all together as they fight you all together” (9:36) and the Word of the Most High, “Fight them until there is no more tumult or oppression, (all) religion belongs to Allah” (8:39).

Sheik Osama bin Muhammad Laden
Leader of Al Qaeda Terrorist Group

Aymin al Zawahiri,
2nd in Command Al Qaeda, Commander of the Jihad Group in Egypt

Abu Yasir Rifa’l Ahmad. Taha
Egyptian Islamic Group

Sheik Mir Hamza
Secretary of the Organization of Islamic Ulema in Pakistan.

Faziur Rahman
Commander of the Jihad Movement in Bangladesh”

(**Text of “Al-Qaeda’s declaration of war” by Raymond Ibrahim available in New York Times. Raymond Ibrahim is the author of “The al-Qaeda Reader, a Selection of Key al-Qaeda Texts and Doctrine”, forthcoming from Doubleday. This article was distributed by The New York Times Syndicate”).

The World Islamic Front’s Declaration to Wage Jihad against the Jews and crusaders as reported in the Arabic Newspaper “Arabic al-Quds al-Arabi” February 23, 1998.

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