Among the quotes that Robert Spencer has lifted from the letters, we find:
Due to my religious motivation for the attack, I feel no remorse and am proud to have carried it out in service of and in obedience of Allah.But the queer thing about these letters is that they demonstrate a young man, who has spent most of his life in the United States, showing his facility with western modes of thought that almost verge on nihilism; one might call him that, if not for the fact that he is not a nihilist precisely because of his belief in a putative god and his Jihad.
Considering that I injured several people both physically and psychologically, who were also American taxpayers, I feel that I succeeded in obeying Allah's commandment to fight against the enemies of His followers.
Since I acted only in obedience and reverence of Allah, I could never be sorry for hurting the victims, unless Allah wanted me to be sorry -- which I don't believe is the case, to my knowledge.
I only read the first letter in full; it is an attempt to prove the existence of God:
it seems that all I can know to be true is "being," viz. existence of myself and existence of whatever has created myself at the time intervals which I write at. I don't know for certain that my experiences, viz. sight, touch, taste, hearing, and smell, really happen to be derived from sources beyond my imagination or if they are all merely things which I imagine involuntarily. This is based on the notion that experience itself may only be a figment of the imagination, and therefore not a reality. In contrast, "being" must necessarily be a real thing or force, because it remains constant and precedes all events in time. That is to say, before anything could have ever happened in the universe as we know it, there had to first exist "being" viz. something true and constant from time negative infinity... the objects of our experiences cannot be conclusively defined as real since they may only exist within our minds and therefore not in some external corporeal world.Well then, I guess that may make it easier to think about killing people.
What we have here is evidence of a scary phenomenon. A young man, reasonably well-educated in the west, capable of carrying on a philosophical discourse like an undergraduate with intellectual inclinations, finding an answer for the sense of alienation and resentment so commong among young people. But this outlet is not the usual romanticism or nihilism. No, he has found a faith that allows him to kill. He quotes the Koran as calling for the "release [of] anger and rage from Allah's followers' hearts" (9:14-15).
Spencer asks, "is he misinterpreting the Qur'an? Here's 9:14-15"
Fight them, and Allah will punish them by your hands, cover them with shame, help you (to victory) over them, heal the breasts of Believers, and still the indignation of their hearts.Deadlier yet than a literalist Islam may be the mixing of alienated western youth and Islam.