CAIRO, Egypt — Terrorist attacks on Western civilians are justified because they live in democracies and are directly responsible for government policies that anger Arabs, Osama bin Laden's top lieutenant implies in the latest excerpt of his memoirs.

In the passages that appeared Tuesday in the London-based Arabic-language newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat, Ayman al-Zawahri says the West understands only "the language of self-interest coupled with oppressive power."

"If we want to make them understand our rights, we have to speak to them in the language they understand," he said.

More than 3,000 people, most of them civilians, were killed in the Sept. 11 terror attacks on New York's World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Al-Qaida, the organization headed by bin Laden and al-Zawahri, has been blamed for the attacks.

In his memoirs, al-Zawahri accuses the West of the "crime" of creating Israel.

"In undertaking this crime, the Western countries were supported by their people. Those people enjoy the freedom of decision. . . . In the end, they vote in elections to choose the governments they want, then pay taxes to willingly finance their policies," he said.

Al-Zawahri, 50, an Egyptian surgeon sentenced to death in Egypt for terrorist acts during the 1990s, is believed to be hiding in Afghanistan after the collapse of the Taliban regime.

Muslim activists have reported the death of al-Zawahri's family, saying they were killed by U.S. bombs in Kandahar, Afghanistan, on Dec. 2. Last week, al-Zawahri's relatives in Cairo published a death notice for his wife and children.

According to Asharq Al-Awsat, al-Zawahri's manuscript was smuggled from Afghanistan to Pakistan and then brought to London by an unidentified Egyptian Islamic fundamentalist.

The newspaper began publishing excerpts from the manuscript, titled "Knights Under the Prophet's Banner: Contemplations on the Jihad Movement," on Dec. 2.