Listen to the archive

This website has been designed to allow non-Arabic speakers to listen to material featured in The Audacious Ascetic while reading English translations in real-time as the recordings unfold. As the book demonstrates, much of the meaning of bin Laden’s words and the significance of Al-Qa’ida for his early primary audiences was lost when edited and converted to print, video, and electronic media for global consumption. These recorded excerpts have been selected and produced specifically to accompany the book. They are best contextualized in tandem with the perspectives and arguments therein.

All translations are the author’s own; Flagg takes full responsibility for errors and inconsistencies. One of the primary goals of this website is to provide listeners with the opportunity to reflect on the difficulties and challenges of translating Osama bin Laden or associates from their original Arabic.

Select a chapter number to display a translation below.


About the Author

Flagg MillerFlagg Miller is Professor of Religious Studies at the University of California, Davis.

Trained as a linguistic anthropologist, his first book, The Moral Resonance of Arab Media: Audio-cassette Poetry and Culture in Yemen, examined how Yemenis have used traditional poetry and new media technologies to envision a productive relationship between tribalism and progressive Muslim reform.

Osama bin Laden tape

Tape #489. The faded blue ball-point pen letters on the gluey backing read 'Osama bin Laden' in Arabic.