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The Al Qaeda Reader Hardcover – 7 Aug 2007

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 318 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday Books; 1 edition (7 Aug. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 038551655X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385516556
  • Product Dimensions: 14.7 x 2.6 x 20.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,770,489 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

About the Author

Raymond Ibrahim is a historian of the Middle East and Islam. He works for the Near East section of the African and Middle Eastern division of the Library of Congress, where he discovered many of the never-before-translated Arabic texts that make up the bulk of The Al-Qaeda Reader. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Format: Paperback
I have read quite a few books on Islam and its role in terrorism, but there may be none more fascinating, and more important, than Raymond Ibrahim's "The Al-Qaeda Reader". This is a collection of the writings of al-Qaeda top dogs Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, some of which have never before translated into English.

What these writings reveal most of all is the careful manipulation of bin Laden and Zawahri. When they write letters to the West, they claim that they are fighting us because of our "crimes" against them: we have occupied their territory, we "oppress" them - bin Laden even claims that the US' refusal to sign the Kyoto Protocol justifies terrorism against Americans. Some of their talking points in these writings are lifted directly from liberals such as Michael Moore. These pieces are clearly intended to appeal to self-loathing Western liberals who will jump at the chance to agree with the West's enemies as long as it gives them the chance to besmirch their own culture.

But when bin Laden and Zawahiri write treatises to other Muslims, which are not intended for a Western audience, they do not mention any of this. Instead, their true motivations come out. They simply use their knowledge of the Qur'an and of Islamic theology and law to explain that we non-Muslims are to be fought simply because we are non-Muslims, just as Islam commands. And Zawahiri in particular shows a comprehensive knowledge of Islamic jurisprudence, including several quotes from Islamic authorities that I had not seen before.

The editor divides these two differing groups of writings into two sections: Theology and Propaganda.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book gives you a unique insight of the mindset behind violent Jihad. It is well written by Raymond Ibrahim, and I can only recommend readers of this book to get a copy of Qur'an and Shafi'i School of Thought Shari'ah - "Reliance of the Traveller", in order to fully understand the concepts described in this book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program) 4.8 out of 5 stars 31 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential for understanding terrorists' motivations and propaganda techniques 22 April 2015
By andy_c - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an amazing book, consisting of the writings of Osama Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri in two categories: translations of Arabic writings intended for audiences in the Islamic world, and English writings intended for Western audiences. The starkly different messages in the two different categories of writing illustrate the duplicity of these men.

In the writings intended for Western readers, the stated reason for their acts is retaliation against the alleged injustice of American foreign policy in the manner of "an eye for an eye". But the writings intended for the Islamic world paint an entirely different picture. In those, the religious obligations of hating the infidels and waging offensive jihad against them are stressed. One can reasonably assume that the messages intended for the West are mostly lies, albeit carefully and cleverly crafted ones.

There a collection of notes at the end of the book. When reading, I kept two bookmarks and followed along. These notes are a goldmine of information relating to Islamic history and theology, as well as explanations about the various Islamic scholars referenced by Bin Laden and Zawahiri. Raymond Ibrahim's knowledge of these subjects is superb and the notes greatly enhance the text.

This book is essential reading for everyone in the West.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good 27 Oct. 2011
By A. Somers - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When I started researching the ideology of the people who were involved in the World Trade Center attacks, it was easy to find statements in support and against it, then I noticed as I was furthering my research the decent reviews this book got and it influenced me to buy it.

This is important because the author here has translated statements that may not otherwise have ever been translated. Most of the subject matter and content deals with the reasoning behind why certain groups of people think the way they do and shows how they always politicize their own beliefs in order to have a following from the public.

Because most of the statements come from one or two people it probably isn't as detailed as it could have been but I have had the chance to check out other books along the same lines like The Eleventh Day for example and both provide insight by being descriptive and helping me see things from the other side's perspective as a behind the scenes type look at what the terrorists say and think.

Most revealing and perhaps most importantly is the fact that what they tell the West and what they tell their own people and audience are two very different things as they purposely try to be cunning and deceptive. I highly recommend.

Aryan Somers
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Know the enemy! 27 July 2016
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I recommend this book to everyone who is confused about Islamic terrorism. But I especially recommend this book to President Obama and Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton. For they need to be read up on the issues before they speak and make false claims that Al-Qaeda and Isis (among other jihadist organizations) are not true muslims. This book contains letters written by Al-Qaeda leaders which go into their Islamic beliefs in theological depth. The teachings within the letters stand firm to the fundamental teachings of Muhammad's sunna. This jihad against the west is a major part of the spreading of Islam, combined with tons of anti-American propaganda and muslim immigration which jihadists use to infiltrate our country and advance the muslim agenda. Liberals better wise up and wise up quickly because what the defend is their own demise. For true Islam is the Islam of Muhammad which is exactly what Al-Qaeda and Isis are practicing. Ever wonder why these terrorists recruit so easily? All they need to do is recite from the Qur'an and Sunna and another convert enters the fold.
This book is very useful in understanding Islamic terrorism and the motives behind it. As someone who studies the Qur'an and Sunna (Sira & Hadith), all I can say is that Al-Qaeda is doing what Muhammad ordered them to do. The book is enlightening and worth the money paid for it. But be careful not to draw rash conclusions due to wanting to find reasons to appease the terrorists, because there is no appeasing them until all the kafir is dead and only muslims exist on the planet. That is the general goal of Islam: Wipe out over 5 billion people in the world and leave only devout muslims alive. With a goal like that it would be wise if the people of the west did the responsible thing and voted for responsible leaders who value the security of their nations over political correctness.
Lastly, we, who live in western nations, are at war whether you want to admit that or not, This war is much more important to win than the war against Hitler and his Third Reich. This was has a great deal in common with our struggle against evil in the WWII, but the stakes are much higher this time around and so far we're losing!!! If Hillary wins the Election the United States will follow after the fail progressive policies which give Islamic jihadists all the power. Hillary will essentially hand over our country to the muslims and continue paying Iran jizya. Again, it is far past time people wake up to the harsh reality we live in. We either value life or we do not. And if we do not then it would be fitting to elect Hillary Clinton as our next President. She will give power to terrorists and they will use that power to conquer us just as they are effortlessly conquering Europe. If Obama knew the enemy he would not be making the false claims he does. For cowardly leaders afraid to call Al-Qaeda out for who they are will succumb to the propaganda pumped out on the internet by Al-Qaeda and other jihadist organizations. We need to call a spade a spade in order to win this war because everything we've ever known and loved is on the line! Know the not assume to know anything about them until you have studied true Islam. For Islam is what makes muslims; muslims do not make Islam. As for the Palestinians, our leaders need to stop defending them over Israel. Seriously, the Palestinians are ruthless and barbaric and only manage to gain sympathy from the ignorant who are already full of hate. People need to wise up before it's too late. Because wising up when it's too late never saved anyone.
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is great for anyone in the government or military 20 Mar. 2016
By Trenton - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is great for anyone in the government or military. It paints the intentions behind the actions of Al-Qaeda using the very transcripts used to garner support among their followers. I enjoyed this book because you realize that Al-Qaeda does not commit terrorism purely because of some blood lust. The group is very calculated with simply a view of over-reaching American Imperialism disrupting their homeland. I highly recommend this book.
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the essential texts to better understand Al Qaeda. Scary stuff. 29 Oct. 2014
By Some Guy - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
One of the basic texts to better understand Al Qaeda. Scary stuff. Am sure there are others with dissenting opinions, but an important aspect of the dialogue is having the rights to have the dialogue in the first place.
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