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Q1: Why is the article reluctant to call him a terrorist?
A1: Wikipedia has a guideline discouraging the use of words such as "terrorist", especially if it is improperly sourced. This is not an indication of condoning "terrorist" activities, but of neutrality, and avoidance of passing judgment, affirming, or denying. A consensus was reached on this talk page that bin Laden could be described as being on the FBI's list of Most Wanted Terrorists, and a target in the War on Terror. Please debate the merit of the guideline at Wikipedia talk:Words to avoid, not here.
Q2: Why does the article say he died on May 2, 2011?
A2: Independent verification affirms that a raid took place on the compound where bin Laden was killed in the early hours of the morning of May 2, Pakistan Standard Time. Per the Manual of Style, we describe his death as taking place on May 2, even though U.S. President Barack Obama made his announcement in the evening of May 1, Eastern Daylight Time. Pakistan is 5 hours ahead of GMT/UTC. I.e. midnight of May 1 on the east coast of North America is 10 a.m. on May 2 in Pakistan.
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Azzam's relationship with Bin Laden
Azzam's influence on Laden is lede-worthy. These are some academic sources describing a decade-long relationship between Azzam and Laden and Azzam's decisive influence on him:
From the research book Western Jihadism: A Thirty-year history
Bin Laden became a disciple of a Palestinian refugee, Abdullah Yusuf Azzam, the man known as “the father of the global jihad.” Steve Coll, who interviewed Bin Laden’s classmates and friends, writes that Bin Laden started to read Azzam’s writings during his student days
in 1979 Bin Laden met Azzam in the United States... The wives of Azzam and Bin Laden both reported that their husbands visited each other frequently in the early 1980s, in Jeddah and in Amman, Jordan, where Azzam’s family remained.
In 1983, Bin Laden joined with Azzam, his mentor from his university days, to establish Maktab Khadama¯t al-Muja¯hidīn al-’Arab (MAK), known in English as the Afghan Services Bureau of the Mujahideen, in Peshawar. The bureau funneled money and volunteers from Arab countries to the fighters in Afghanistan. Working with Azzam, Bin Laden also helped to internationalize the conflict in Afghanistan by setting up charities and recruiting volunteers in Muslim countries, the United States and Europe. On their travels to recruit and raise money for the struggle, the two men spread the word about the obligation incumbent on Muslims to join the armed struggle in defense of Muslim lands against the unbelievers. The struggle against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan came first, but Azzam left no doubt about the need to continue the jihad after victory over the communists. In 1986, Bin Laden moved to Peshawar, taking his family with him. From that point on he would maintain a base there.
Bin Laden’s operations in the United States grew out of the Salafi-jihadist network that had been put together in the 1980s to raise money for jihad and to recruit Americans to fight for the mujahideen in Afghanistan. Azzam, known as the “Father of the Global Jihad,” toured American cities in the 1980s, lecturing at mosques and visiting charities. At one point he was accompanied by Bin Laden, his disciple from university days in Jeddah.
From the book The Caravan: Abdallah Azzam and the Rise of Global Jihad
the very first meeting between Abdallah Azzam and Usama Bin Ladin happened in Indianapolis, Indiana, of all places, in early 1978
Bin Ladin was no stranger to Azzam. As we saw in Chapter 5, the two had met in America in 1978 as well as in Saudi Arabia when Azzam lived there. Moreover, Azzam had been a guest at Bin Ladin’s house in Jeddah several times in 1982 and 1983.18 As Azzam later recalled, “I used to visit him at his house in Jeddah whenever I used to go for Hajj or Umrah ... The first time he invited me to his house was in Ramadan [i.e. July 1982].”
It was Abdallah Azzam who, in early 1984, convinced Bin Ladin to go to Peshawar and on to the border areas. Azzam later said, “Brother Usama Bin Ladin came to Islamabad in 1984 bringing aid, and he was nervous about going to Peshawar, as some wise people advised him against it ... I told him: Do not listen to anyone and go to Jaji as Sheikh Sayyaf is there.”27 The visit became a turning point in Bin Ladin’s involvement in the Afghan jihad.
Bin Ladin’s justification for his war on America was merely anextension of Azzam’s idea of umma defense.
there was a degree of practical cooperation and dialogue between al-Qaida and the Services Bureau in 1988 and 1989. Tamim al-Adnani, the executive director of the Services Bureau, is recorded as having participated in several meetings with known al�Qaida figures in this period... Azzam was so keen to maintain cooperation with Usama Bin Ladin and his men that in late 1988 he proposed having bin Ladin appointed leader of all the Arabs. According to Abdallah Anas, Azzam gathered the original founders of the Services Bureau and told them to go to Usama’s house and “organize an election of sorts where Osama becomes the emir.
From the book "Father of Jihad:Abdullah Azzam's Jihad Ideas"]
`Azzam> ’s role during the Soviet–Afghan war period had tremendous contributions to the current state of national and international security, and can be described thus: 1. A jihad advocate who raised jihad awareness among Muslims all over the world and rallied them to participate and support jihad in Afghanistan. 2. A commander for foreign volunteers in Afghanistan, training them for jihad and deploying them to various fronts. 3. An ideologue who constructed jihad ideology to mobilise Muslims and indoctrinate fighters. 4. The founder of Maktab Al-Khidmat> which, whether intended or not, later transformed into Al-Qaeda. 5. A mentor to Bin Laden who went on to become the leader of Al-Qaeda, the leading jihadist organisation today.
Bin Ladin's cowardice
"Bin Laden was the coward behind the September 11 attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people."
Are we meant to understand that...
 bin Laden was a terrorist and only a coward would perpetrate an act of terrorism, and so it naturally follows that he was a coward?
 there is some unique fact about the September 11 attacks, such that his involvement in them makes him a coward in some way that is noteworthy among terrorists?
 his cowardice is incidental and unrelated to his terrorism, but that the moral weight of his actions should invite judgment on his general character?
- "mastermind" was changed to "coward" about ten hours ago. That was an unencyclopedic edit, and I have just undid it. Marcus Markup (talk) 14:38, 15 September 2023 (UTC)
- it seems that this letter has risen to a level of notoriety that may warrant its own article. any opinions on this? commie (talk) 16:42, 16 November 2023 (UTC)
- I agree Parham wiki (talk) 16:59, 17 November 2023 (UTC)
- Here's the archive.org copy: https://web.archive.org/web/20231116112651/https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:gwwRw1--gfMJ:https://www.theguardian.com/world/2002/nov/24/theobserver&hl=en&gl=us ragesoss (talk) 17:20, 17 November 2023 (UTC)
- I'm kind of surprised the letter never had a standalone page prior, but I'm assuming it was never that notable? As noted, you can find copies/transcripts of it posted by big name sources over 20 years ago.
- But yes, i do agree that it's upsurge in popularity may warrant an article now. Clear Looking Glass (talk) 15:14, 19 November 2023 (UTC)
- @Clear Looking Glass: It didn't meet WP:GNG criteria before it went viral. Parham wiki (talk) 11:08, 20 November 2023 (UTC)
- I agree Parham wiki (talk) 16:59, 17 November 2023 (UTC)
Mastermind or Financer?
I don't think the current description of Osama Bin Laden as the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks is strictly accurate. Even the Wiki page on the attacks describes his role as leadership and financial support, not planning. He also didn't come up with the idea. As a comparison, one likely wouldn't describe Barack Obama as the mastermind behind the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden, despite the fact that he was obviously closely involved. 188.8.131.52 (talk) 13:57, 17 November 2023 (UTC)