Why bin Laden picked the September 11 date

Matt K. Lewis Senior Contributor
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There is no shortage of information about the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Yet, I find that few people realize the apparent reason bin Laden chose that particular date. Lawrence Wright’s terrific 2006 Pulitzer Prize-winning book “The Looming Tower,” implies the date might have been symbolic.

“Why did these men turn against America, a highly religious country that so recently been their ally in Afghanistan,” Wright asks rhetorically, before explaining:

… To [al Qaeda], the Crusades were a continual historical process that would never be resolved until the final victory of Islam. They bitterly perceived the contradiction embodied by Islam’s long, steady retreat from the gates of Vienna, where on September 11–that now resonant date–in 1683, the king of Poland began the battle that turned back the farthest advance of Muslim armies. For the next three hundred years, Islam would be overshadowed by the growth of Western Christian societies. Yet bin Laden and his Arab Afghans believed that, in Afghanistan, they had turned the tide and that Islam was again on the march.

(Emphasis mine.)

Others, including the late Christopher Hitchens, have noted this.


Matt K. Lewis