London: British newspaper The Guardian has removed from its website a 21-year-old message written by Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, after it was shared several million times on social media.
Bin Laden's "Letter to America" began being shared on TikTok on Tuesday, sparking a fierce debate about US backing for Israel in its current war against Hamas.
The transcript includes bin Laden's assertion that the United States was attacked on September 11, 2001 due to its support of Israel.
Links to the original were replaced on the Guardian website with a statement saying it had been shared "without the full context".
"This page previously displayed a document containing, in translation, the full text of Osama bin Laden's 'letter to the American people', which was reported on in the Observer on Sunday 24 November 2002," it wrote.
"The transcript published on our website had been widely shared on social media without the full context. Therefore we decided to take it down and direct readers instead to the news article that originally contextualised it."
Objections to Western activities
Bin Laden's message, released a year after 9/11, outlined his objections to Western activities in Muslim nations, condemning the United States for its backing of Israel and its approach towards the Palestinian regions.
It also denounces what he described as Western "lies, immorality and debauchery" and argued that attacks against civilians and the United States were justified as a result.
The origin of the trend has been pinned by various media outlets on a video posted on Tuesday by a TikTok influencer with 12 million likes on her profile.
"I need everyone to stop what they're doing right now and go read - it's literally two pages - go read 'A Letter to America'," the influencer wrote.
"Come back here and let me know what you think. Because I feel like I'm going through like an existential crisis right now, and a lot of people are. So I just need someone else to be feeling this too."
The letter has been received with widely positive comments by social media users with trending searches on TikTok including "Osama letter to America summary," "a letter to America full text" and "a letter to America explained".
After nearly 10 years as the world's most wanted man, Bin Laden was tracked down and killed by US special forces at his compound in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad in May 2011.