Navy Seal Speaks Out on bin Laden Tik Tok Controversy

( – Tik Tok, a social media app popular primarily with teens and young adults, has had its fair share of crazes sweep through its user base. The latest craze has garnered controversy, however, as it involves its users reading the late terrorist Osama bin Laden’s ‘Letter to America’ which was published in The Guardian newspaper in November 2002, just over a year after he orchestrated the destruction of the World Trade Center, killing over 3,000 people.

The head of Al Qaeda used his two-page missive to accuse the US and Israel of “oppression” against the Lebanese and Palestinians in the middle east, blaming the countries’ supposed “tyranny” for his desire to slaughter thousands of ordinary people in the US. His complaints of Western-led oppression appear to have struck a chord with the younger generation of TikTok users, many of whom are American and have been quick to sympathize with bin Laden’s framing of his people as victims of the powerful West.

He referred to the creation of Israel as a “crime” and argued that all such land should belong to Muslim Arabs, a claim that has been reflected in some of the anti-Israel and Pro-Palestinian signs and chants witnessed at rallies across the world following the Hamas attacks on Israeli civilians on October 7 and Israel’s military retaliation.

Bin Laden claimed that Muslims having conquered the land several centuries ago and have supported their claim to the land now. But he rejected the view that those who had conquered it later, such as the British, should have had any control or claim to it. He also decried what he viewed as “debauchery” committed by Westerners, such as gambling and trading with interest, adding this to his reasons for committing mass murder.

Many have been quick to criticize not just the letter, but the positive response displayed by so many younger people who have parroted his views of an oppressive West. One of these critics is the Navy Seal who claims to have shot dead bin Laden during Operation Neptune in 2011. Robert O’Neill expressed his disgust for the trend when he took to X, formerly Twitter, to disparage the fad, making reference to those he called “useful idiots”.

His sentiments were echoed by fellow former US solider Alex Plitsas who said that the US had some “soul-searching” to do in light of rising antisemitism and sympathy for Islamist terrorists. TikTok has since removed the hashtag #lettertoamerica, which had racked up 14 million views prior to removal.

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