On the death of Osama bin Laden and what should come next
While many here and in the world celebrate the death of Bin Laden, we should also mention that MAS, along with virtually all respected national Muslim leaders and organizations, condemned the September 11, 2001 attacks as a perversion of the law and spirit of Islam. We should emphasize that Osama Bin Laden represented an extremist element of global Islam whose primary currency is mass and indiscriminate violence, and this violence has been disproportionately harmful to Muslims. There is no legitimate place in our faith for terrorism and the slaughter of the innocent, no matter what our grievances and issues may be.
But that said, we should call for an end to all forms of violence, and a beginning of a serious internal evaluation of the means by which Muslims seek redress for legitimate political grievances, both vis a-vis the U.S. and Western powers as well as in the context of our own struggles for liberation from the oppression of dictatorships and the vestiges of colonialism and the exploitation of our national resources. A truly meaningful response to the phenomenon of terrorism would involve a deeper global commitment, especially on the part of the United States and NATO countries, to supporting the real economic development in majority-Muslim nations, ending the international arms race, and strengthening the legitimate self-determination Muslim majority nations. The continuation of war in Muslim lands will not be conducive to achieving these ends.
Our pronouncement regarding these issues, and the more immediate item of the death of Bin Laden, should not read as if it came from the press office of the Pentagon; our analysis should rightfully condemn terrorism, but also the global economic and geopolitical issues that tend to ignite these fires of extremism to begin with.
As Muslims, our essential task is to offer a balanced and moral response to immorality and injustice. The violence of terrorism is not compatible with Islam. But we must be equally adamant in condemning, and challenging, the violence of Islamophobia and the political forces that seek to perpetuate it.
(The opinions expressed in this essay are personal, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Muslim American Society.)