Arab reaction to Bin Laden’s death is mixed, and varies between giddy pleasure and cold rage.
[This] “holy warrior” hid in his million-dollar palace…our youth are in prisons…not to mention the many who are dead…[and] the financial losses…and the harm to the reputation of our religion.
Alhomayed went on to denounce Bin Laden as a coward and a murderer. Then he addressed the usual speculation that the death of the leader of a movement merely creates an opportunity to select another leader:
Today, following his death, al-Qaeda will be unable to produce a[nother] leader with bin Laden’s personality, or with his legitimacy which he built up over many years in many places. We are in a changing world today, especially in the Arab world, and it is difficult to replicate the model of bin Laden. No one today can dominate religious discourse, or stand alone as an individual, a fundraiser, a sheikh, or an underground leader in a cave or palace, as easily as he was able to. Arabs and Muslims are now extremely aware of the amount of abuse that has damaged our religion.
Alhomayed also denied that Al-Qa’ida (“The Base”) could do anything, even in revenge, to compensate for their loss of Bin Laden.
Al Sharq Al-Awsat also drew a cartoon about Bin Laden’s death, as did Al-Watan, Al-Hayat, Okaz, and several other Arab newspapers. Half of those cartoons were severely unflattering to Bin Laden and the movement he led. (One, in fact, suggested that Satan was claiming his lawful prey, while another compared Bin Laden to an abscessed tooth.) But other cartoonists sarcastically suggested that President Obama would use Bin Laden’s death to ensure his re-election next year.
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On the other hand, the imam of the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem delivered a eulogy for Bin Laden and warned that Obama would one day hang from a gallows next to his predecessor, George W. Bush.
Today, the dogs of the West are rejoicing at the killing of one of the lions of Islam. Today, the West rejoices at the killing of one of the lions of Islam. We say to them, from the Al-Aqsa Mosque, from the heart of the Caliphate, which, Allah willing, is soon to come: Dogs should not rejoice at the killing of lions. A country of dogs will always remain a country of dogs, while a lion remains a lion even after it is killed.
Similarly, the radical Palestinian group Hamas, in control of the Gaza Strip, condemned the killing of Bin Laden. Yet the Palestinian Authority said that Bin Laden’s death would “benefit world peace” and represented a defeat for “the violent style that Bin Laden and others implemented and encouraged.” The PA and Hamas recently signed a reconciliation agreement, and persistent rumors hold that the United States will, this fall, bring pressure to bear on the Republic of Israel to agree to having Jerusalem divided once more, as it was before the Six-Day War of 1967. In such a division, the Old City, which includes the Temple Mount and its Al-Aqsa Mosque, would once again be entirely in Arab hands.
Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.
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