The lawyer for American Taliban John Walker Lindh says his client views terror master Usama bin Laden as a "false prophet" whose twisted interpretation of the Quran is an affront to Islam.

San Francisco lawyer James Brosnahan, who negotiated the Californian's plea deal, has unveiled a different portrait of the young man who has become a byword for treason.

"Usama bin Laden came to [John's] camp. A number of people met with him," Brosnahan tells Newsweek. "John never had a one-on-one with him . . .

"He views bin Laden as a false prophet, as someone who violates the Quran by attacking civilians. It's not what John had in mind at all."

Lindh, 21, admitted carrying arms for the Taliban in Afghanistan, but was spared a life sentence on terrorism and conspiracy charges.

Brosnahan believes Lindh became a lightning rod because of America's inability to nab bin Laden.

"I think the Lindh case will be seen as a symptom of the times when people were very angry and upset," he said.

Brosnahan says Lindh was guilty of making horrendous choices that led him into the arms of the rogue Taliban regime, but he deplores the awful events of Sept. 11.

"You do not attack civilians based on the Quran. You don't commit suicide based on the Quran," the lawyer said. "As it became more and more clear that Usama bin Laden had done all of this, John wanted to get out of [Afghanistan].

"He wanted to go home. But he couldn't, for fear of death. You don't hail a cab when you're fighting with the Taliban up there."

Lindh, who pleaded guilty to fighting for the Taliban, now faces 20 years in prison. He has promised to help government investigators probing bin Laden's Al Qaeda terror network and the Sept. 11 attacks on America.