The text of an inflammatory “letter to America” from 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden has gone viral on TikTok and drawn praise from young users — and US lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are blasting the China-owned app for promoting terrorist propaganda.
In the letter, bin Laden claimed that he orchestrated the deadly attacks on the World Trade Center that killed nearly 3,000 Americans because the US attacked us in Palestine.
Bin Laden called the creation of Israel a crime which must be erased. He also claimed that the AIDS epidemic was “a Satanic American Invention” and objected to US companies allowing women to have jobs, fuming, “You use women to serve passengers, visitors, and strangers to increase your profit margins.”
The antisemitic tirade went on to assert that in the US, Jews “control your policies, media and economy.”
The Guardian, which had published the full text of the letter in 2002, pulled it down on Wednesday, citing the fact in a statement that it was being widely shared on social media without the full context. Therefore we have decided to take it down and direct readers to the news article that originally contextualized it instead.
The TikTok trend appears to have been jumpstarted by Lynette Adkins — a social media influencer with 12 million followers who has been profiled in the Los Angeles Times.
In her video, which has received nearly 100,000 likes and more than 5,500 comments since it was posted Wednesday, Adkins told her followers to stop what theyre doing right now and go read a letter to America.
Adkins followed up with several other posts, including one in which she discussed three movies to watch after youve read a letter to America and another in which she reacted to the Guardian taking down the text and declared America is losing the PR war bad.
The Guardian taking that post down is actually one of the worst things that they couldve done. I dont know who was behind it or what the reasoning was, but I feel like it literally just confirmed everything that we read in the letter, Adkins said.
When reached for comment, a TikTok spokesperson said content promoting this letter clearly violates our rules on supporting any form of terrorism and added that the company was proactively and aggressively removing this content and investigating how it got onto our platform.
At the same time, the company bizarrely tried to deny that the bin Laden-related content had gone viral — despite videos that racked up hundreds of thousands of views.
The number of videos on TikTok is small and reports of it trending on our platform are inaccurate, the spokesperson added. This is not unique to TikTok and has appeared across multiple platforms and the media.”
Many of the TikTok users promoting the letter were women.
A second said she would “never look at life the same, I will never look at this country the same. Please read it and if you have read it, let me know if you are also going through an existential crisis in this very moment, because in the last 20 minutes, the entire viewpoint on the entire life I have believed and I have lived has changed.”
Another social media user whose video went viral said that after reading the letter, “it becomes apparent to me that the actions of 9/11 and those acts committed against the US and its people were all just the buildup of our government failing other nations.”
Elsewhere, TikTok user @Raeyreads posted the full text of bin Ladens letter to her TikTok account, where it has received more than 1 million views.
Its crazy that we are JUST now finding out about this. The U.S. government truly believes they are untouchable and never learned from the past, one user wrote in response.
Over the past 24 hours, thousands of TikToks (at least) have been posted where people share how they just read Bin Ladens infamous "Letter to America," in which he explained why he attacked the United States.
The TikToks are from people of all ages, races, ethnicities, and pic.twitter.com/EwjiGtFEE3
“The fact I agree with a lot of what hes saying. explains why the Us government didnt publicize this or teach us about it,” another said.
The videos in support of bin Laden surfaced just days after The Post reported that several Republican lawmakers had renewed their calls for TikTok to be banned for spreading content that critics deemed anti-Israel during the nations ongoing war with Hamas.
Critics from both political parties have alleged that TikTok, which is owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, is effectively a mass surveillance and propaganda tool for the Chinese Communist Party.
TikTok has repeatedly denied wrongdoing.
Freelance journalist Yashar Ali shared a number of the viral video clips on X, saying without criticizing any of the posts that the “TikToks are from people of all ages, races, ethnicities, and backgrounds. Many of them say that reading the letter has opened their eyes, and theyll never see geopolitical matters the same way again.”
Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) said the footage showed how China-owned TikTok is pushing pro-terrorist propaganda to influence Americans.
These people are sympathizing with Osama bin Laden the terrorist responsible for 9/11 and thousands of American deaths, Gottheimer said. TikTok must be banned or sold to an American company.
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) described TikTok as a geyser of terrorist propaganda – and the most effective surveillance tool for a foreign government ever invented.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), another vocal advocate for a TikTok ban in the US, also chimed in on the alarming situation.
Now trending on social media (especially TikTok) people saying that after reading Bin Ladens Letter to America, they now understand terrorism is a legitimate method of resistance against oppression and America deserved to be attacked of 9/11, Rubio said.
The Guardians website now displays a message to readers explaining that the text had been removed.
This page previously displayed a document containing, in translation, the full text of Osama bin Ladens ‘letter to the American people,’ as reported in the Observer on Sunday 24 November 2002. The document, which was published here on the same day, was removed on 15 November 2023, the message said.