NEW YORK (CNN) — It’s to be titled the “Al Qaeda Reader.” Publisher Doubleday says it will include writings by Osama bin Laden and his second in command, Ayman al-Zawahri, from the 1990s.
News of the book prompted at least one publisher to raise a red flag about profits.
“How do you deal with something like this, that is the issue I suppose most people wonder about. Should a company make money from Osama bin Laden and his colleagues?” says Peter Osnos of publisher Public Affairs.
Until Thursday night, Doubleday hadn’t decided about profits. Friday, it said it would donate all net income of U.S. sales to a charity or charities to be named.
“We have a historic opportunity to make the works of these dreaded terrorists known to all Americans and at the same time provide relief to the victims as a result,” Doubleday said in a statement.
But the agent for the translator who discovered the writings says his client and Doubleday have every right to profit from the book.
“I don’t think that Doubleday should be expected or feel compelled to donate this money. I think whatever profits they make are rightfully theirs, and they’re doing … a public service by publishing this book,” says Glenn Hartley of Writers’ Representatives.
Hartley’s client, Raymond Ibrieham, found the writings at the Library of Congress where he works, and thought the public should read them.
“It’s the ruthless nature — no holds barred, no such thing as cruelty — attitude that Zawahri has that’s most disturbing and enlightening,” says Hartley.
Al-Zawahri was indicted in the U.S. embassy bombings in 1998 in Kenya where Edith Bartley lost her father and brother.
“As a victim, a person who lost half of her family, I think the public needs to have as much information as possible about al Qaeda, about bin Laden, and about our government and how we really did slip down on the job in terms of protecting our citizens,” Bartley says.
Some compare this to publishing Hitler’s “Mein Kempf.”
Harvey Kushner, author of “Holy War on the Home Front,” says, “The benefits are to understand what we are facing as a free society. Would we rather give up our freedom not to hear the vicious words of Adolf Hitler or Osama bin Laden or al-Zawahiri?”