Cal State Professor: Bin Laden’s Islamist Inspiration Is ‘Misunderstood’
An Islamist ideologue credited with inspiring Al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden is “misunderstood,” a California State University professor claimed in a speech last week.
Imad Bayoun claimed that Sayyid Qutb’s writings, such as his manifesto Milestones, were “largely misunderstood.” Bayoun made the comments in remarks at the Muslim American Society (MAS) of Greater Los Angeles’ 20th Annual “Agents of Change” convention last week.
In 2008, federal prosecutors described MAS as the “overt arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in America.”
Bayoun, whose biography describes him as a “lecturer for the Muslim American Society,” lamented Qutb’s execution in 1966 by Egypt’s Nasser regime. He praised Qutb’s explanation of how the Quran was revealed to Muhammad. Bayoun’s talk closely follows Qutb’s own words in Milestones, saying that Muhammad “liberated” the Arab world from occupation by the Byzantines and the Persians.
The 9/11 Commission Report describes Qutb as a major inspiration for bin Laden.
Qutb declared that the Islamic world has entered a state of apostasy; that jihad needed to be waged to end this state of affairs; and that apostate rulers should be toppled. He wrote in Milestones that shariah was the only acceptable form of law.
Qutb’s commentary, In the Shade of the Quran, taught that the violent verses in the Muslim holy book take precedent over peaceful verses. Qutb believed that a jihad of the sword should be fought to spread Islam throughout the world.
“Therefore prepare for Jihad and be the lovers of death. Life itself shall come searching after you,” Qutb concluded in Milestones.
Bayoun also praised Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna, saying that he worked to restore Islam at a time when the religion was looked upon as backward.
Bayoun is not the only MAS speaker to invoke al-Banna recently. Kifah Mustapha, of Chicago’s Mosque Foundation and a speaker at last month’s MAS-Islamic Circle of North America convention, invoked al-Banna in an October 8 sermon posted on his Facebook page.
In his tract On Jihad, he wrote that the term meant “the slaying of the unbelievers, and related connotations, such as beating them, plundering their wealth, destroying their shrines, and smashing their idols. … [It] is obligatory on us to begin fighting with them after transmitting the invitation [to embrace Islam], even if they do not fight against us,” al-Banna wrote.
This holding up the founder fathers of modern jihadism as authorities on Islam tells observers all that they need to know about MAS.