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The Appeal of Osama Bin Laden


DR. AHMED: Over dinner we were talking about ... Sara was telling me about Germany and the Holocaust. Now, to a lot of Germans in the 1930s and 40s ... and look at the footage ... if you see the film footage of that time, you get hundreds of thousands of people cheering in ecstasy like Hitler's a rock star. And then you realize that they are in fact, believing that this is a messiah ... that this is the man who is going to take us into the future. That vision is shared by hundreds of thousands of people. So, if Osama is able to use and manipulate and direct that hatred in society in a certain way, he is doing it because something exists. If we are understanding that, and able to tackle that problem and resolve it, that hatred just disappears.

KOPPEL: But why doesn't the media in the Arab world - or perhaps it is - why isn't it writing these stories?

DR. AHMED: Andrea, you are a free media. You aren't writing it; so, how do you expect them to write it? They're not free.

Excerpt from a program with Ambassador Akbar Ahmed, Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies, American University from an interview on June 22, 2006.