Osama bin Laden hates Westerners. Westerners and Infidels.
So I find it not just a little ironic that, in a recent news article, bin Laden appears to be adopting a significantly Western idea and promoting it on his recently distributed audio cassette tape: prevent flooding near large bodies of water.
We in the West have been doing that for a couple of centuries now, in some cases to our detriment, the Mississippi Delta being one such case of exchanging subsiding wetlands for maintaining unflooded streets in New Orleans.
But I find this new attitude of bin Laden, an attitude that seems to be scoring him points in Pakistan which has recently suffered huge losses in the torrential rains and subsequent flooding, to be somewhat anti-Islamic and more pro-Western culture.
Islam, I am told, is all about Allah’s will, and submission to the will of Allah. Is this not right? Isn’t this the origin of the appendix to all stated predictions and hopes? In sh’ Allah? Roughly “God willing,” but more at “if it is God’s will.”
It comes from al-Qur’an, in Suryat Al Kahf:
“And never say of anything, 'I shall do such and such thing tomorrow. Except [with the saying]: 'If God wills!”
I’ve always seen Islam as somewhat fatalistic, that if something happens it is because it is the will of Allah. This is not too far flung from Christian beliefs that disastrous things occur because we cannot know the mind of God. But for the most part, we in the West often work at cross purposes to natural disasters (also known as, in the insurance industry, as acts of God). We work to avoid future flood disasters for instance by building levees.
But from the language I have seen from his tape, it now appears that bin Laden thinks that it is perfectly OK to work against Allah’s will and work to prevent Him from flooding His lands and harming His people.
In short, maybe there is some hope out there that some of these ideas, that are clearly Western in origin, are beginning to make some headway in the Middle East, and ironically enough, originating from the Number 1 Enemy of Western Culture: Osama bin Laden.
Maybe someday peace will break out in the Middle East. In sh’ Allah.