The Guardian Scrambles After Releasing Text of Bin Laden Letter

( – The Guardian, a British media outlet, recently had to scramble after releasing the text of a letter written by Osama bin Laden. Sounds normal enough, right? As it turns out, there’s a curious twist to this news. Here’s what happened.

On November 24, 2002, The Guardian published a brief article providing some background of bin Laden’s now infamous “Letter to Americans. ” This letter was translated from its original Arabic by British Islamists for distribution to the English-speaking world.

Bin Laden distributed the letter via email to hundreds of subscribers to a list compiled by the United Kingdom-based Saudi Arabian dissident Mohammed al-Massari. As The Guardian explained at the time, the letter provided the “most comprehensive explanation” of bin Laden’s religious beliefs distributed publicly for years.

You’re probably wondering why that 21-year-old letter created a disturbance for one of Great Britain’s best-known news outlets.

The answer is actually quite simple and only takes one word: TikTok.

On November 15, 2023, a woman named Lynette Adkins posted a link to The Guardian’s webpage containing bin Laden’s letter and a 16-second video calling on her followers to read it on her TikTok account. Due to the circumstances surrounding the Israel-Hamas War, the post went viral. (We’ll get to that in a second.)

Roughly a million TikTok views later, The Guardian removed its 2002 post and redirected the URL to a new page advising that it removed that webpage. The media outlet didn’t offer any explanation. However, conventional wisdom says they probably noticed a massive spike in pageviews on their site and decided to take down bin Laden’s letter.

The letter still appears on the Internet Archive, and a quick review of it offers support for that conclusion. The diatribe lashed out at Israel, claiming that Muslims were the original Semites, not the Israelis. As such, bin Laden said that if Moses’ followers were promised the right to occupy Palestine in the Torah, Muslims were the rightful heirs of that vow.

Bin Laden said there’s nothing anti-Semitic about the Palestinian people claiming ownership of the territory Israel has held since the conclusion of WWII. He also spent a considerable amount of time justifying and, at times, calling for violence against the Israelis.

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