SF Muslims react to bin Laden's death

May 3, 2011 12:58:23 AM PDT
If you want to know how the Arab world feels about the capture and killing of Osama bin Laden, visit Link TV. The company is based in San Francisco but has its pulse on the Middle East.

At the station they monitor and record television feeds from 44 channels in 22 Middle Eastern nations. The staff then condenses what they see into a half hour newscast called Mosaic News.

Executive Director Abdallah Edwan says, from monitoring the feeds, his take on the reaction to the death of bin Laden is widespread relief.

"On the street, most of the reaction has been positive, everyone welcomes the news of his death, some think it's overdue," Edwan said.

There are exceptions he says, including some from Palestinians in Gaza and some out of Iranian TV.

"With a few focusing on trying to downplay it and say it's not a major setback for al-Qaida," Edwan said.

But at a mosque in San Francisco where men with roots throughout the Middle East come to pray, those ABC7 talked to believe the U.S. military operation sends a strong message to other terrorists.

"No matter how long they hide or where they hide, at the end they will be served with justice," Khaleb Olaibah said.

There was also praise for remarks made by President Obama Sunday night.

Abdul Janjua says bin Laden hijacked Islam.

"He was disgracing the Muslim community too, he was not really Muslim," Janjua said.

Many in the Muslim community worry that an anti-Muslim sentiment will resurface. It already has in Portland, Maine where vandals targeted a local mosque -- they spray-painted, "Osama today, Islam tomorrow."

Zahra Billoo is executive director for CAIR, the Council on American Islamic Relations.

"It's a historic day for the U.S. It should be a unifying moment for so many communities and yet there are still individuals out there who would perpetuate that kind of action," said Billoo.

Members of the Muslim community want to reiterate, bin Laden was an extremist, a mass murderer, not an accurate representation of their faith. Many say his death is as much of a milestone for them as it is for non-Muslims.

"The War on Terror has sort of turned the world upside down for many people both here in America and abroad, so we're hoping this will be a new page, a new chapter," said Billoo.

Janjua and others both here and abroad hope with bin Laden's death the stigma attached to their religion might change.


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