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Yosri Fouda on Al Qaeda Masterminds
Yosri Fouda on Al Qaeda Masterminds
Al Jazeera’s London bureau chief, award-winning chief investigative correspondent and AUC alum Yosri Fouda stated in a lecture on campus that the language of the media, particularly in the United States, does not anger a terrorist group like Al Qaeda or disrupt their plans. On the contrary, it makes them proud of their actions.

“When I told one of the 9/11 masterminds that the United States calls them terrorists, he said ‘Okay, so then we are terrorists’ and then quoted a verse from the Quran to support their actions,” said Fouda.

Known for his exclusive interviews with members of Al Qaeda, Fouda drew on his own investigations and interviews in his lecture, “Covering Al Qaeda: Reality and Spin Doctoring.” He explained the importance of conducting serious investigations into the minds of terrorists before spin doctoring is used to depict any situation. “In any democracy, there needs to be a reality and a truth. Language and spin doctoring can do more harm than good,” he said, noting that while the United States continues with its war on terror, Al Qaeda feels accomplished because its members believe they have changed the world.

In particular, Fouda emphasized the importance of examining the lives of Mohamed Atta and Ziad al-Jarah, two of the 9/11 hijackers who were well educated, had family and friends, and grew up in relatively stable homes. “What made two men, who had everything to live for, flip?” asked Fouda, adding that the lack of research in this area is shameful. He answered his own question by saying that Atta, al-Jarah and others like them are indoctrinated with beliefs of salvation and victory for Muslims and think that civilization can return to the days when there was justice and true democracy.

Discussing the motives behind the 9/11 attacks, Fouda referred to what he called the “triangle of anger,” which involves Islamists, Al Qaeda and the U.S. government. Islamists, he noted, have anti-American sentiments because of the U.S. government’s double standards, particularly when it comes to Israel’s abusive policies in Palestine. Bin Laden’s quarrel, said Fouda, was not with the United States, but with corrupt Arab regimes. However, because of the United States’ involvement in Arab affairs, Bin Laden’s anger was directed toward the United States, hence 9/11. The United States, on the other hand, is bitter because of the 9/11 attacks and widespread anti-U.S. sentiment.

Fouda is host of the popular television documentary series “Top Secret.” He is also co-author of Masterminds of Terror: The Truth Behind the Most Devastating Attack the World Has Ever Seen . He will hold a panel discussion titled “The Future of Arab Satellite TV News,” along with Abdallah Schleifer, AUC professor emeritus and former Washington, D.C. bureau chief for Al Arabiya news channel, on Wednesday, November 21 at 11:00 am in the Armenian Room, Main Campus.