Publications & Statements by Imam

05/7/11: Bin Laden death brings relief for all, lessons for American policy makers

Bin Laden death brings relief for all, lessons for American policy makers

By Imam Mohammed Ali Elahi

Saturday, 05.07.2011, 09:27am- Arab American News

The death of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan was a historic event for America, for American Muslims and for the world.

 American Muslims were the first community to thank President Obama for fulfilling his promise, bringing the leader of al-Qaeda to justice.

 In addition to the pain and suffering that the September 11th terrorist attacks inflicted on the United States, Bin Laden's crimes directly affected American Muslims and the Muslim world at large by hijacking Islam, a faith that is based on peace, tolerance and the belief in one God, one universe and one humanity.

 Bin Laden, although he never burned the Bible, misrepresented Islam through his actions as much as Terry Jones misrepresents Christianity.

 The Prophet Mohammad defined a Muslim as a person who never harms anyone with expressions or actions. He described attacks on innocent people, regardless of faith or race, aa attacks on all humankind.

 We, as American Muslims, grieved for the loss of our fellow citizens on 9/11, and we paid a heavy price for that terrorist tragedy. Psychological terrorism called  Islamophobia has spiked, as has harassment against our community, intimidation at airports and during immigration procedures. Our holy book, the Qur'an, is being burned, our Constitutional rights are violated and opposition to building mosques has increased.

 Islam is an Abrahamic religion, whose commandments are based on heavenly revelations and human rationality. It is a religion of justice and compassion that considers all mankind as God's family, and the best of them are those who do good to benefit humanity, the one who goes to bed full while he knows someone in the neighborhood is hungry has no faith in God.

 From the beginning, we opposed the un-Islamic, inhumane philosophy of Bin Laden.

 The death of Bin Laden is a relief for our nation's victims and their families, and a confirmation of the President's statement that "as a nation there is nothing we can't do."  However the spontaneous celebrations may not meet Dr. King's doctrine:

 "I will mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy... Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that."

 Could bin Laden have not been captured to answer for his crimes in court?  Could his sea burial cause controversy and questions in the world?  Al-Qaeda never cared to bury its victims, yet to set a good example, protection of human dignity even after death matters.  Perhaps it would have been better to leave the burial decisions to his family.

 We are encouraged to bury dead bodies as soon as possible; it's permissible to delay the burial for technical reasons. One reason for speed in the burial procedure was hygienic, to avoid smelling and health problems and also a show of respect. Nowadays, using refrigerators would protect the body from fast deterioration and bad smells.  

 Our government needs to learn its lesson not to arm the wrong people as it armed and helped bin Laden and his groups in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan.

 Let's remember that bin Laden was born and raised in Saudi Arabia. Fifteen of the 19 terrorists also came from Saudi Arabia and none of them were Afghani citizens. The Saudi money has been behind so much corruption and terrorism in the Middle East.

 The Saudi regime is helping the Bahraini regime to terrorize the doctors, nurses and patients in the hospitals, torturing pro democracy forces to death, destroying the places of worship and eliminating voices for freedom and human rights. This is no different from what bin Laden did and our government ignores that.

 Let's pray that God will direct the decisions of our policy makers to choose a path that serves the interests and the integrity of our nation and the world.

The writer is the imam of the Islamic House of Wisdom in Dearborn Heights.