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Why does Osama bin Laden hate the US - and where did he get all that money

00:00 Thu 13th Sep 2001 |

asks seeker:
A.
Let's start with the money. Osama bin Laden was born in 1957, the 17th of 52 children born to a Saudi billionaire construction tycoon.

Q. Well, that explains the money. So why did a rich young man get involved in terrorism
A.
Bin Laden became politically active in 1979, when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. He spent the first few years of the war travelling throughout Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf, raising millions of dollars for the jihad (holy war) to drive back those he saw as infidels.

Towards the end of the war, he moved to Afghanistan where he took part in several battles against the Soviet army. This was the beginning of his organisation al-Qaida or 'The Base'.


Ironically, the CIA funded him at this time.

Q. Why
A.
Those Arabs who were trying to get the Communists out of an Islam country were considered to be freedom fighters by the US, and supplied with trainers and arms to the tune of �3 billion, according to Jane's Intelligence Review.

Q. So why does he hate the US to the extent that he's No 1 suspect for the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon
A.
Although the freedom fighters were funded by the US to fight the Soviet Union, bin Laden saw no difference between the two superpowers.


His hatred for the US grew after the Persian Gulf War in 1991, when thousands of troops were stationed in Saudi Arabia. He later condemned this 'occupation' of the Arab Holy Land by 'American crusader forces' which he described as 'the latest and greatest aggression' against the Islamic world since the death of the prophet Muhammad in 632. He saw the US as a representative of the forces of evil which bring corruption into the Islamic world.


Then, in 1992, bin Laden declared America the enemy after military bases were established in 'two of the most holy places in Islam' - Mecca and Medina.


Since 1998, he has declared all US citizens legitimate targets after he escaped a bombing attack, which aimed to kill him.

Although he's No 1 suspect, experts argue that he's only one leader in a worldwide organisation which has backing in many countries.

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By Sheena Miller

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