The Naval Postgraduate School & The U.S. Department of Homeland Security

15 Years of Osama bin Ladin's Statements Analyzed

Osama bin Ladin


The Minaret of Freedom Institute, a Bethesda-based public policy research organization, has published an analysis of 49 statements issued by Osama bin Laden from 1996 until his death in 2011. This report is the culmination of two years of research by Alejandro J. Beutel and Dr. Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad. Entitled "Examining bin Ladin’s Statements:A Quantitative Content Analysis from 1996 to 2011", the report asserts that bin Ladin's "pitch" was overwhelmingly of a political nature as opposed to a religious one. Furthermore, in the words of Mr. Beutel: "Bin Ladin suffered from four vulnerabilities that he and the Al-Qaeda organization had, and continue to remain cognizant of: 1) He lacked religious scholarly credentials, 2) He needed some defense against many prominent religious figures - including other fundamentalists - denouncing him, 3) An overwhelming majority of Al-Qaeda's victims are other Muslims, and 4) Non-violent Islamist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood have been successful at channeling Muslims' frustrations into peaceful political behavior and away from militancy -- particularly in light of the "Arab Spring"." The report is accompanied by a spreadsheet with the date of each speech, primary audience, type of message and primary media source which can be accessed here See also the May 2011 document "Osama bin Laden Largely Discredited Among Muslim Publics in Recent Years" by Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project and George Washington University's "Osama bin Laden File"