May 4, 2011 Special Dispatch No. 3810

Al-Jazeera TV Host Clashes with London-Based Islamist Hani Al-Sibai over Glorification of Osama Bin Laden

May 4, 2011
Special Dispatch No. 3810

Following are excerpts from an interview with London-based Islamist Hani Al-Siba'i, which aired on Al-Jazeera on May 2, 2011

To view this clip on the MEMRI TV website, visit

Hani Al-Siba'i: "Sheikh Osama Bin Laden… is the Reviver of Islam in Our Times"

Hani Al-Siba'i: "In my view, Sheikh Osama bin Laden – as he is referred to by his followers and by those who love him – is the reviver of Islam in our times, and he is one of the lions of Islam. Sheikh Osama bin Laden did not leave his country for a trip of pleasure, or in search of a good time. He left his country as a mujahid, putting himself in harm's way, and leaving his previous life behind." […]

Interviewer: "Osama bin Laden would take pride in and call for military operations, even those that targeted civilians in the West – the same West from which you are now speaking, and which permits you to express your views and to glorify Osama bin Laden."

Hani Al-Siba'i: "With all due respect, I beg you not to serve as an advocate of the West, of the CIA, or of Scotland Yard. I ask that you give me the same opportunity you gave the other commentators. Al-Jazeera TV has been boycotting me for a while now. Al-Jazeera TV claims to present different views, but unfortunately, this is my first appearance on Al-Jazeera TV in years. So give me a chance to express myself…"

Al-Jazeera Interviewer: "How Come Someone in London is Glorifying Osama Bin Laden, Who would Call for and Morally Support Suicide Bombings that would Target Civilians in the West"

Interviewer: "And you give me the chance to ask you a question, which comes to the minds of many people. You are speaking from a Western capital, and glorifying Osama bin Laden, who would call for bombings in the West, even if they targeted civilians. I'd like to understand what motivates this position of yours. Go ahead. You have complete freedom to express your view."

Hani Al-Siba'i: "Are you trying to make this personal?"

Interviewer: "No, not at all…"

Hani Al-Siba'i: "I have come here to comment on a momentous event."

Interviewer: "And I'd like you to comment – unless you don't want to answer this question. Many people are asking how come someone in London is glorifying Osama bin Laden, who would call for and morally support suicide bombings that would target civilians in the West. The question is: How is that possible? If you don't want to answer it…"

Hani Al-Siba'i: "I 'congratulate' you on your question, sir… Do you really think that I'm afraid of you and of answering your question?! I'm not…"

Hani Al-Siba'i: Sheikh Osama Bin Laden… Never Killed Civilians… He Extended His Hand in Peace to Europe and the West"

Interviewer: "Go ahead and answer…"

Hani Al-Siba'i: "Let me tell you: I love Sheikh Osama bin Laden as a Muslim. I am not glorifying or extolling anything. I am simply telling it as it is – Sheikh Osama is loved by millions of Muslims. Sheikh Osama is a hymn in the hearts of the downtrodden – from Jakarta to the Hindu Kush Mountains, to the villages and rural areas of Egypt… Ask those downtrodden and poor people, and they will tell you that they are grieving for Sheikh Osama bin Laden.

"Sheikh Osama bin Laden fought occupation forces. He never killed civilians, and he never said he did. On the contrary, he extended his hand in peace to Europe and the West, and they were the ones who rejected it." […]

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