Bin Laden might not have been a household name as it is today, but the threat was real back then to those in charge. I admit that these things have been muddied a bit in this thread, but then my point was to argue that there is a connection between radical islam, human rights violations and eventually even terrorism, both through core beliefs as well as through the effects radical islam has on society when it wields political power. Since this started out as a thread about religious beliefs in the US, maybe this is as good a chance as any to return to tis topic. I think the main difference is that the US is fundamentally secular, despite attacks on secularism by the religious right that come up every now and then, like for instance the thing about creationism/intelligent design. As I said before, this is also directly linked to religion. I can see no possible reason why a conservative politician would push for creationism in public schools if it wasn't for his religion or rather the religion of the constituency he is pandering to. In many muslim countries however, religion is part of the foundation of those countries. In such a society, a secular movement is seen as attacking the foundations not only of religion, but also of the country as a whole. It's like a political group in the US that want's to abolish the constitution which could easily be interpreted as high treason (as it did happen during the McCarthy era). Therefore critics of that religion are also critics of the natural orders in those countries and have to be taken out of the game. Which is why I constantly go back to my point that you can't look at these countries with a secular Western view. These countries are not secular and that changes the entire game. You can't easily distinguish between religion, culture, tradition, society, politics, law, etc. because it's all one big soup.