I’ll keep this one even shorter.
Yes, Osama bin Laden is dead. People ask me here if I’m happy about this. Most of them are, it seems. I just respond, “I never rejoice when anyone dies.” That’s not a lie. It’s unfortunate that bin Laden is just one more death in a war I wish had ended long ago or never happened in the first place. Killing him doesn’t really accomplish a whole lot when violence just begets more violence. When will it end?
Most of what I wanted to say I’ve said before, a thousand times, it seems, now. Osama bin Laden did not represent traditional Islam. He was an extremist and his views were and are still abhorrent to most Muslims. Yes, he had sympathizers who were Muslim, but that says much about how little they understand about this beautiful religion, as well. As someone who lives in an Arab country where the mosques ring out the call to prayer multiple times a day, I have nothing but heartfelt love and deep respect for this religion and wish my American friends to be just as respectful. We don’t have to agree with each other to love each other.
Finally, I did talk at length with one Moroccan friend about the death who expressed concerns with the way bin Laden’s body was dumped into the ocean. In actuality, he had less respect for bin Laden than I do. He nothing short of hated the guy, but his concern that the body wasn’t handled appropriately, in accordance with Islam (that all bodies should be buried), had less to do with him caring about bin Laden (he doesn’t) and more to do with him worrying that organizations like al Qaeda would use the opportunity to grow their organization by displaying American “cruelty” toward something sacred in the religion.
Valid point. Although, I trust that, even if America had disposed of the body by burying it in a secret location, al Qaeda would still find a way to use the death as a recruitment tool. Again, violence begets violence. Period. I explained to my friend that America was trying to avoid the creation of a shrine and that burial at sea was actually a respectful way of disposing of a body, a way many Chaplains during the World Wars had conducted funerals for American soldiers; it’s a soldier’s funeral, in essence. Doesn’t quite meet the standards of Islam, and it will probably be used as a recruitment tool, so valid point. But then again, Osama bin Laden wasn’t a true Muslim either. Any more than the Ku Klux Klan can claim to be Christian, anyhow.
So, that’s that. Figured some of you had been wondering, and I wanted to at least say it and move on. All is well and calm here in Morocco, almost as though nothing happened at all, and though it’s probably still the talk of the town for now, all eyes are turning toward Libya. Ghaddafi will be next, after all.
[One addendum I wanted to add regarding bin Laden’s death relates to a recent realization I had of sorts, namely that bin Laden succeeded in exposing racism in America toward Muslims. I wonder if he foresaw that happening? What’s so fascinating about that is that bin Laden managed to turn America against an entire race of people who, aside from a similarity in dress and language, shared almost nothing in common with the terrorist. By tying himself to Islam, he tied Muslims to terrorism unfairly, and we in America – because of venues like Fox News (though Fox is hardly the only media form to blame) – allowed bin Laden to get away with this; we let him sew hate into our society. We bought it hook, line, and sinker without questioning it. Shame on us for not rising above that.]