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After Osama bin Laden

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Mourning for the Death of Al Qaida's Leader Emerges Among Arabs in Gaza and Israel

May 8th 2011

Terrorism - Osama bin Laden

Dozens of Arab residents of the Silwan neighborhood of east Jerusalem held an evening rally on May 2 to express sadness over the death of terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden, who was assassinated by U.S. special forces in the pre-dawn hours on May 1 in Pakistan. There were denunciations on the part of Muslim religious leaders in Palestine and elsewhere in the Muslim world about the manner of Bin Laden’s burial at sea that, according to U.S. official sources, was carried out strictly according to Muslim tradition. In east Jerusalem, mourners clashed with Israeli police and threw stones. No reports of injuries or detainees were received following the rally.

In the Gaza Strip, now controlled by the Hamas terrorist organization, outrage emerged over the death of the Saudi terrorist. Bin Laden was called “Arab holy warrior” by the Gaza government, which asked “'God to offer him mercy with true believers, martyrs.” It was in Gaza, famously, that residents joyously celebrated the news on September 11, 2001 of the terrorist attacks in the U.S. that brought down New York City's Twin Towers and crippled the Pentagon outside of Washington D.C.

Muslim reaction around the world was swift. Some news agencies reported relief on the part of some Muslims over Bin Laden’s death, but terrorist groups and some religious leaders were outraged. Salam Fayyad, the Palestinian premier in Ramallah, said it increased chances for peace, while Gaza-based prime minister Ismail Haniyeh condemned it as an extension of American's foreign policy. For his part, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas applauded the demise of Bin Laden.

Dozens of Arab residents of the Silwan neighbourhood of east Jerusalem held an evening rally on May 2 to express sadness over the death of terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden, who was assassinated by U.S. special forces in the pre-dawn hours  on May 1 in Pakistan.  There were denunciations on the part of Muslim religious leaders in Palestine and elsewhere in the Muslim world about the manner of Bin Laden’s burial at sea that, according to U.S. official sources, was carried out strictly according to Muslim tradition.  In east Jerusalem, mourners clashed with Israeli police and threw stones.  No reports of injuries or detainees were received following the rally.
In the Gaza Strip, now controlled by the Hamas terrorist organization, outrage emerged over the death of the Saudi terrorist.  Bin Laden was called “Arab holy warrior” by the Gaza government,  which asked “'God to offer him mercy with true believers, martyrs.”

Muslim reaction around the world was swift. Some news agencies reported relief on the part of some Muslims over Bin Laden’s death, but terrorist groups and some religious leaders were outraged.  Salam Fayyad, the Palestinian premier in Ramallah, said it increased chances for peace, while Gaza-based prime minister Ismail Haniyeh condemned it as an extension of American's foreign policy.  For his part, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas applauded the demise of Bin Laden.

The Fatah-affiliated Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades said on May 3 that its members are mourning the death of Bin Laden. According to a statement, the group said Bin Laden's death "won't stop our Jihad mission against injustice and occupation," and added that they doubt the U.S. reports of the successful covert operation. "The Islamic nation was shocked with the news that bin Laden had been killed by the infidels," the statement said. "The fighters in Palestine and around the world who have lost their leaders did not stop their mission and will continue in the tutelage of their masters."   The statement said further,  “The [military wing of Fatah] Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades announced the death of Sheikh Osama bin Laden (Abu Abdallah), and said that if bin Laden had indeed died as a Shahid (Martyr), this would not deter the resistance fighters from the path of Jihad against injustice, oppression and occupation in the world.” Ominously, the statement continued, “The path irrigated with the blood of its leaders is the path of victory, Allah willing. If Abu Abdallah [Bin Laden] was killed, then he merited the Shahada (Death for Allah) which he had sought, and inscribed with his blood the landmarks of Jihad, leaving behind an entire generation that follows the path of Sheikh Osama.”

Not only the manner of his death, but the burial of Osama bin Laden also merited criticism in the Muslim world.  A prominent Egyptian imam in Egypt, Ahmed El-Tayeb, said the U.S.  violated Islamic custom by not burying bin Laden on land, a move seen as a US attempt to prevent his resting place from becoming a shrine for his followers.  There are reports that Bin Laden’s native Saudi Arabia refused to permit his burial on its soil, thus requiring a sea burial. "The burial of Bin Laden's remains was done in strict conformance with Islamist precepts and practices," said John Brennan, US President Barack Obama's top counter-terrorism adviser. Bin Laden's body was identified by photographs and DNA testing, then flown by helicopter to a U.S. aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf where it was then consigned to the depths.

Elsewhere in the world, preparations emerged for feared Muslim retribution.  In Pakistan,  the tiny Christian minority closed its churches and schools as Christians stayed at home and avoided any signs of support for the U.S. operation against Al Qaeda.  Some in the U.S., such as Senator Carl Levin (D), expressed concern that the fact that Osama was living in a compound apparently built with Pakistani assistance very near a military installation is reason to reassess the complicated relationship between the two countries.  Currently, Pakistan receives some $1.5 billion in U.S. aid per year.

Cutting Edge Senior Correspondent Martin Barillas also edits Speroforum.com


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