Does any other religion have an Osamma bin Laden?

Who are the closest countrparts to OBL in other major religions , past or present (and for the particularly sentient, future)?

For Judaism, it would have to be the Zealots of the Jewish Revolt in 70 A.D.

For all that they are now seen in a favourable light, their tactics were often Osama-like. Though to be fair, the Romans they fought were genuinely unplesant imperialists.

The most obvious example within Islam is the Ismaili Assassins.

Christians seem to prefer massacre over assasination or terrorism - unless you count the Spanish Inquisition as a form of terrorism. Different concept altogether, though. Maybe the closest example is the Jesuits specially trained to cause trouble in Elizebeathan England - or Guy Fox, who tried to blow up the houses of Parliament Osama-style out of Catholic conviction. I believe they still burn him in efegy in England.

Regarding what aspect of OBL?
Christianity has had loads and loads of people trying to spread their religion (or sub-set thereof) through abject violence and terror.

Can’t really think of any other religions.

I was going to say the leaders of the Ku Klux Klan, but they’re not an expressly religious organization.

Then I was going to say Joan of Arc, because she claimed to be fighting for God, but that doesn’t work either, since she was an actual warrior, with the soldiers and the armies and the hurting meeee… whereas bin Laden’s organization specifically targets non-combatants.

Oh well, I’ll hit submit and see if anybody else jumped in while I was writing this.

Every religion I know of has at least some people willing to kill for it - Hindus have their Thugee, even Buddhists have warrior monks.

I think that the important criteria for being an “Osama” equivalent are:

  1. Willing to kill for essentially religious reasons;

  2. Willing to kill in a terroristic manner, rather than in open battle;

  3. Followers are indifferent to, or even anxious, to die in the process;

  4. An organized movement, not a “lone nut” enthusiast.

Any comment?

For Christianity, abortion clinic bombers - or are they lone nuts? Or maybe Jim Jones, although he mostly killed his own.

I am sure ObL thinks of the Crusaders as terrorists, but they were mostly after loot, and waged war rather than terrorism.

For Communism, maybe Stalin or Mao Tse-Tung.

Terrorism seems to be mostly for political rather than strictly religious reasons. Even for ObL.


Your reason #3 would disqualify the Thugees.
Reasons #1 + #3 would disqualify the warrior monks.
Reason #2 would disqualify Meso American Indians.

That still leaves only Christians, I think.

[nitpick] Guy Fawkes [/nitpick] and yes we do, though few really think much of the significance.

Hmm, actually, #2 would disqualify almost everybody else.

Besides, would OBL be using terrorist tactics if he were living in a different age?
If he had lived, say 100 years ago, he would probably fighting battles in the open.

I agree - I was giving Thugges and warrior monks only as examples of those willing to kill for religion, not as Osama - alikes. Which are probably reasonably few.

Though the Zealots and (Ismaili) Assasins would still qualify.

What about Catholic conspirators like Guy Fawkes and Jesuits?

[Thanks for the spelling jjimm :slight_smile: ]

Any others from other religions or cultures?

I would agree on Jim Jones.
The Crusades?
The Spanish Inquisition?
The IRA?

I don’t know about drawing a distinction between religious “terrorism” and religious “war”. It’s pretty much a matter of resources. I don’t think any group that has the resources to effectively wage open war would generally eschew open battle in favor of terrorist tactics.

a cynic might regard ariel sharon as being the jewish eqivalent to osama bin laden. the aim of zionism being to establish a jewish state in the middle east which has been promised by god to the jews. the stated aim of the al quaeda organisation is to re-establish the caliphate or the islamic empire in the middle east.

both men feel justified in killing non-combatants in order to further their aims.

In Northern Ireland there have been several individuals (catholic and protestant ) who fit Maltus’s criteria however their religious zeal is combined with political goals as well.

Just because you have a visible armed force doesn’t make your murder of civilians less brutal.

Vlad the Impaler was a nasty nasty sort…

I think the most definitive Catholic equivalent to OBL is Tomas de Torquemada who became the inquisitor-general for most of Spain during the 1483 Spanish Inquisition.

During the roman times, the jews were perceived as the terrorist nation much like the arabs are now. Pick a good jewish zealot.

I’d like to interject that there is a difference between zealot/guerilla warfare and terrorism. Otherwise, you’d include George Washinton as bin-Laden like – you’d just need to define “religion” a little broader, that’s all.

I think that criteria #3 eliminates the Jewish zealots against the Romans – they were not “indifferent to” nor “anxious to” die in the process. They were willing to die for their cause, but only as a last resort. They had seen what capture and enslavement by the Romans meant, and they would be willing to die rather than face capture. That’s different from the bin Laden folks – the ones that we’ve captured haven’t tried to kill themselves rather than face U.S. justice. They’re trying to kill themselves gloriously along with their enemies.

I think that the ancient Celts (or Picts? – the ones who painted themselves blue and eagerly ran up the Roman lances to take an enemy with them – might count.

I also think that the Spanish Inquisition is high on the list, as well as the Crusades. Just because many of the Crusaders were out for loot and pillage, the leaders were thinking of it as a holy war.

Well there is Boermag in South Africa, who have been referred to as the “Afrikaaner al-Qaeda”. They are a terrorist organization that believes white supremacy is ordained by God.

But I’m not sure if that is what you are looking for.

  • Tamerlane

How about the Maccabees?

One might toss out Aum Shinrikyo as well. They’re ( or some of them, at any rate ) both cultists and terrorists. Their spiritual leader, who preachers of the coming armaggedon, is Ashara Shoko.

Religiously they could maybe call them a sect of Buddhism, but a better descriptor might be a syncretic mix of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Taoism.

  • Tamerlane

I’m more interested in asking the OP’s question with regards to today’s world. Sure, other religions had ObL-like figures in 70AD, but it’s the year 2003 I’m interested in (for obvious reasons).