A Muslim Response to the Death of Osama bin Laden
Imam Dr A. Rashied Omar
Osama bin Laden died violently the way he lived.
Bin Laden together with the al-Qa`ida terror network that he spawned has defiled the name of Islam with his promotion of wanton terror and deadly violence throughout the world from Indonesia, the Middle East, Africa, and in the United States of America. It is because of Osama bin Laden and his global war of terror that Islam has become synonymous with violence and intolerant behavior.
Muslims must use his demise to once again state loudly and unequivocally, that acts of wanton violence and barbarism are contrary to the teachings of Islam. In Islamic ethics, the end does not justify the means.
In our response to the news of bin Laden’s death Muslims need to avoid apologia, conspiracy theories and simplistic analyses. Instead, we should use this as yet another opportunity to reflect upon the reality and root causes of extremism.
A number of analysts for a very long time have called upon the world community to examine the underlying roots that give rise to desperation, in conditions of dictatorship, impoverishment, and powerlessness. They have highlighted the dire need for a public debate concerning the controversial role of the United States and other Western powers in abetting and supporting authoritarian regimes in the Middle East.
In light of the wave of pro-democracy protests that has swept despots from power in Tunisia and Egypt and threatening to do so in Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, Syria and Iran, it might be a good time to call on the US and European powers to be more consistent in their support of democracy as a panacea for terrorism.
Bin Laden’s death comes at a time of the demise of dictatorships and increased optimism for change across many Muslim majority countries. We hope that Bin Laden’s death will help in quenching the flame of terrorism, and that with the rise of democracy throughout the Muslim World we can all finally begin to live in a world that respects and affirms the dignity of people of all faiths.
Our condolences continue go out to the families to all the innocent victims of terrorism committed in the name of Al-Qa`ida as well as those whose lives were sacrificed in the “wars on terror” throughout the world.