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January 22, 2008

The Bin Laden Peace Initiative

It's not what you'd think. One of Osama bin Laden's sons -- a former member of al-Qaeda -- has gone public in urging his father to end his terrorism and focus on peace. Omar says more and more Muslims agree:

Omar bin Laden has a message for his father, Osama: "Find another way."

The son of the most-wanted man in the world spoke Sunday to CNN in a quiet, middle-class suburb about an hour outside Cairo, Egypt.

Omar bin Laden, who works as a contractor, said he is talking publicly because he wants an end to the violence his father has inspired -- violence that has killed innocent civilians in a spate of attacks around the world, including those of September 11, 2001. ...

He said that's not just his own message, but one that a friend of his father's and other Muslims have expressed to him. "They too say ... my father should change [his] way," he said.

Osama won't be likely to heed the call, at least not from his son. They haven't spoken since 2000, when Omar rejected AQ and left Afghanistan, although with Osama's blessing. Omar also doesn't consider him a terrorist, but a hero who helped free Afghanistan from Soviet domination -- but says the tactics used then can't apply now.

Will this make a difference? Perhaps. Having one of his sons publicly call for moderate Muslims to step up and demand an end to violent jihad at least provides a counterweight against the more bloodthirsty extremists. Omar's rejection seems rather tepid, though maybe necessarily so in order to gain more momentum.

If the rest of the Muslim world took the same approach, it might make a big difference. (via AJ Strata)


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