Local News

Triangle Muslims support bin Laden's death

Posted May 2, 2011 6:15 p.m. EDT
Updated May 2, 2011 6:57 p.m. EDT

— Area Muslims said Monday that Osama bin Laden's death is a day of religious freedom in some ways for the Islamic religion.

"Osama bin Laden is not a good Muslim, and he does not represent Islam," said Jihad Shawwa, who works with the Muslim American Public Affairs Council.

Shawwa said bin Laden held Islam and Muslims hostage, using the religion as a shroud to kill both Americans and Muslims.

In announcing bin Laden's death late Sunday, President Barack Obama noted that bin Laden "was not a Muslim leader. He was a mass murderer of Muslims." Obama said the U.S. "is not and never will be at war with Islam."

Moe El-Gamal, president of the Muslim American Public Affairs Council, said the death is an opportunity for Americans and others to understand the true meaning of Islam, which they say is peaceful and loving.

"Our Muslim community here (is) not part of this violent act or criminal acts. This community is a peaceful community, and we are against violence," El-Gamal said. "It is a continuous process of educating each other, reaching out to each other, and we all – all faiths – are against Osama bin Laden and against all killers."

The Pentagon said bin Laden's body was buried in the North Arabian Sea after adhering to traditional Islamic procedures, including washing the corpse and wrapping it in a white sheet.

Both El-Gamal and Shawwa said they would have liked for him to be buried, but they understand the concern that his grave could have become a shrine for his followers.