Ever since 9/11, when Osama bin Laden was thrust into the spotlight, he has made it a point to occasionally submit questions to Americans — questions which he apparently thinks are unanswerable.

In his last message “commemorating” 9/11, for instance, after rehashing the storyline that the jihad on America wholly revolves around U.S. support for Israel — former grievances cited throughout the years include America’s “exploitation” of women and failure to sign the environmental Kyoto Protocol — bin Laden concluded with the following musing: “You should ask yourselves whether your security, your blood, your sons, your money, your jobs, your homes, your economy, and your reputation are more dear to you than the security and economy of the Israelis.”

In fact, bin Laden et al. have made it perfectly clear that should U.S. support for Israel cease, so too would Islamic terrorism cease. Hence, in this last communiqué: “Let me say that we have declared many times, over more than two and a half decades, that the reason for our conflict with you is your support for your Israeli allies, who are occupying our land of Palestine [emphasis added].”

Fair enough. Yet before responding to Osama, it must be noted that, in and of themselves, his communiqués beg a simple, logical question — one that, as shall be seen, renders all his observations and questions moot.

Before articulating this question, let us first establish much-needed context: As clearly demonstrated by Islam’s doctrines and history — the former regularly manifesting themselves in the course of the latter — it is a historic fact that Islamic hostility for and aggression against non-Muslims transcends any and all temporal “grievances.” In short, Islam, according to the classical — not “radical” — schools of jurisprudence, is obligated to subjugate the world.

From a traditional Muslim point of view, this troubling assertion is as open to debate or interpretation as is the notion that Muslims are obligated to pray. This is also why prudent non-Muslims have for centuries been finding the question of achieving permanent peace with the Islamic world a vexatious problem. Professor of law James Lorimer (1818-90) succinctly stated the problem over a century ago:

So long as Islam endures, the reconciliation of its adherents, even with Jews and Christians, and still more with the rest of mankind, must continue to be an insoluble problem. … For an indefinite future, however reluctantly, we must confine our political recognition to the professors of those religions which … preach the doctrine of “live and let live” (The Institutes of the Law of Nations, p. 124).

In other words, political recognition — with all the attendant negotiations and diplomacy that come with it — should be granted to all major religions/civilizations except Islam, which does not recognize the notion of “live and let live,” as evinced by, among other stipulations, the Koran’s commands to its adherents to “enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong,” (e.g., Koran 3:110), that is, enforce Sharia law upon the earth.