The news of Osama bin Laden's death has come as a relief to many around the world. As head of al Qaida, bin Laden's legacy is one of terror and violence, from the U.S.S. Cole, to the attacks on September 11th, 2001. "These attacks," said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, "were not just attacks against Americans, although we suffered grievous losses; these were attacks against the whole world." In fact, most of bin Laden's victims were Muslims. American Muslim religious leaders were among the first to welcome the news of Osama bin Laden's death.
Mohamed Elsanousi is director of community outreach for the Islamic Society of North America. He said he joins all Americans in thanking President Barack Obama for fulfilling his promise to bring Osama bin Laden to justice. "We hope this death," said Mr. Elsanousi, "will bring some relief to all the families of every faith and walk of life who lost loved ones on 9/11 and every other terrorist attack orchestrated at the hand of Osama bin Laden."
Haris Tarin, director of the Washington office of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, said he feels a sense of immense relief at the death of Osama bin Laden. He said bin Laden had become a figurehead for chaos and terror not only in the United States but internationally. Bin Laden's victims, said Mr. Tarin, "were indiscriminate. He didn't care whether they were Muslim, whether they were Christian, or whether they were Jews or any other faith. It was an indiscriminate act of violence that he and al Qaida engaged in."
Mr. Tarin expressed hope that the death of bin Laden will usher in a new chapter in relations with the Muslim world. "Osama bin Laden and his ideology," said Mr. Tarin, "had become increasingly irrelevant in the Muslim-majority countries, and we had seen this over the past few months with the Arab Spring."
Osama bin Laden and his fellow al Qaida terrorists, said Mr. Tarin, did not know how to respond.
"History will record," said Secretary Clinton, "that bin Laden's death came at a time of great movements toward freedom and democracy, at a time when the people across the Middle East and North Africa are rejecting the extremist narratives and charting a path of peaceful progress based on universal rights and aspirations. There is no better rebuke," she said, "to al Qaida and its heinous ideology."