Explained: Why Osama Bin Laden's 'Letter To America' resurfaced amid Israel-Hamas war
The uproar gained momentum as The Guardian's transcript of the letter, penned a year post-9/11, circulated on social media, subsequently removed by The Guardian from its website.
A recently resurfaced letter from Al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden has made waves on TikTok, where users posted and shared the 2002 'Letter to America', causing a stir on social media platforms. The hashtag #lettertoamerica, garnering over 2 million views, was removed by TikTok from its search due to the controversy sparked by bin Laden's document amid the Israel-Hamas conflict. This action followed a debate about US support for Israel and its involvement in the Middle East conflict, highlighted by bin Laden's viewpoints.
The uproar gained momentum as The Guardian's transcript of the letter, penned a year post-9/11, circulated on social media, subsequently removed by The Guardian from its website. The missive addressed the American populace, posing questions about the reasons behind Al Qaida's opposition to the US and what they sought from the country. However, the letter's anti-Semitic content drew criticism from other news organisations.
Social media discourse over the letter varied widely, with some rethinking their views on US interventions in regions like Iraq and Afghanistan. Users clarified that this wasn't an endorsement of bin Laden's actions related to the 9/11 attacks but rather a reconsideration of their perspectives.
Critics accused TikTok of promoting propaganda among American youth, suggesting that the app was clandestinely amplifying contentious content. Bin Laden's letter denounced US support for Israel, criticizing its role in oppressing Palestinians, while also condemning American interventions across several countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Chechnya, and Lebanon.
The White House denounced the sharing of the letter, emphasizing the sensitivities of the families who lost loved ones during the 9/11 attacks. The administration disavowed any association with bin Laden's message.
TikTok swiftly removed videos featuring the letter, citing violations of their guidelines against endorsing terrorism. The platform's spokesperson emphasized their proactive efforts to eliminate such content and investigate its appearance. The issue, while affecting TikTok, extended to multiple platforms and the broader media landscape.