8 – Confirmed media stereotypes
As if Muslims with bushy beards weren’t having a bad time already, what with stereotypes of Muslims terrorists in Hollywood films and Western newspapers. Along comes the biggest terrorist attack in America and its Muslims who are responsible. Not only that, but a Muslim in a big beard and turban praised those who carried out 9/11 and labelled them as martyrs. This totally contradicts Quran and Sunnah and can lead to kufr. To make matters worse, every other word in his speeches was Allah, Quran or Jihad. Not only did Muslims become synonymous with terrorism but so did Islam.
7 – Usurped authority
He may have kept a beard and worn a turban but Osama bin Laden was no scholar. He was not a religious leader and had no formal religious qualifications. Bin Laden was a trained accountant. He had no qualifications that allowed him to give fatwa on Islamic issues. Despite the fact that he used Islamic rhetoric in his speeches, what he inspired people to do was un-Islamic. In this way bin Laden took legitimate authority away from genuine scholars.
6 – Convenient bogey man
Arab dictators are currently facing the biggest challenge to their rule. The reason they have managed to hold on for so long is that they have used the supposed threat of Islamic extremism to hold on to power. But as we have seen recently this threat was exaggerated. Some dictators haven’t realized that the game is up. Gaddafi bleated on about how Al Qaeda was poisoning Libyans with drugs right up to the last minute.
5 – Divided Muslims
Muslims have long complained about how there is too much division in the Ummah. But bin Laden added to this division and made it violently real. Any Muslim who did not agree with bin Laden’s interpretation of Islam was considered to be a non-Muslim. In bin Laden’s world non-Muslims deserved death and so Sufi Muslims and Shia Muslims were the victims of al Qaeda attacks throughout the world – most notably in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan.
4 – Created further gulf between Muslims and non-Muslims
Bin Laden had a core message for Muslims – that they should kill all Jews and Americans. How this was supposed to have solved any problems is anybody’s guess. All this did was to create further hostility and conflict between Muslims and the other religions we share this planet with.
3 – Rubbed salt into would of US intervention
The United States invaded Afghanistan and Iraq but al Qaeda and bin Laden took advantage of the situation and used both countries as venues for their battle against the US. Al Qaeda’s activities in both countries have made the US presence much more bloody and protracted.
2 – Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan
Bin Laden claimed to be defending Muslims against America, but he did not defend Muslims. In fact, most of Al Qaeda’s victims are other Muslims. In Afghanistan, Iraq, and now Pakistan Muslims are being killed by bin Laden-inspired suicide bombings. Al Qaeda killed 60 Muslims in the 9/11 attacks. Four Muslims were killed by the suicide bombers who attacked London on 7/7. But in Pakistan these statistics repeat themselves almost every week. Suicide bombings, almost unthinkable before al Qaeda showed up, have killed thousands of Pakistani civilians. America invaded Iraq but it was al Qaeda that carried out the suicide bombings and stoked a civil war between Sunnis and Shias. In Afghanistan, al Qaeda carried out so many suicide bombings that suicide bombing became a normalised tactic. This would have been unthinkable before bin Laden and al Qaeda showed up.
1 – Suicide bombing
Bin Laden’s biggest contribution to the Ummah has been the normalisation of suicide bombing as a weapon of war. Before 9/11 suicide attacks were rare and mostly restricted to Palestine and Israel. Today, it is common to have a suicide bombing in a Muslim country every other day. The vast majority of the victims of such attacks are Muslims and many attacks are carried out inside mosques - whilst people are praying! That’s bin Laden's legacy to the Ummah – Muslims using themselves to kill other Muslims.