Guardian Online [London], May 7, 2011
Following the decision of the US authorities to consign the corpse of Osama bin Laden to the waters of the Arabian Gulf, some folk with a conspiratorial cast of mind have questioned the disposition of the body, asking if some kind of “cover-up” was intended. I consider such ruminations trivial. More interesting questions emerge from reports that the sea burial was accompanied by standard Islamic funeral rites: washing of the body, wrapping it in a shroud, and “prepared religious remarks which were translated into Arabic by a native speaker”.
The widely cited rationales for this disposition of the body have been that Saudi Arabia, and presumably the Bin Laden family, refused to receive the body, and that sea burial would avoid a grave on land becoming a “shrine” for “pilgrimages” by his radical admirers.
Continue reading Osama bin Laden did not deserve an Islamic burial through his denial of the sinful nature of terrorism, Osama bin Laden had apostasised from Islam by Stephen Schwartz
Toronto Sun, May 7, 2011
Nine days after al-Qaida terrorists attacked the United States, then-U.S. president George W. Bush addressed a special session of Congress and made a solemn promise to his people.
“Our grief has turned to anger and anger to resolution,” Bush said on Sept. 20, 2001,
“Whether we bring our enemies to justice or bring justice to our enemies, justice will be done.”
His administration devised policies to make the country safe from any such future terrorist attacks, and to defeat the enemy that had declared war on America.
Continue reading Time for Muslims to expunge bin Laden by Salim Mansur
NewsGram [India], May 6, 2011
The execution of Osama Bin Laden by U.S. military personnel in a raid on the Pakistani town of Abbottabad, which includes the Pakistan Military Academy, as well as vacation and retirement homes for Pakistani military officers, calls forth a wide range of reflections. For me, some of these thoughts are personal, and embody experiences in my own life.
Some, however, are commonsensical. It seems to have gone unnoticed that Abbottabad, aside from its martial features, and its proximity (less than 120 km in distance) to the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, as well as the country’s military headquarters in Rawalpindi, is also fewer than 100 km from the “line of control” partitioning Kashmir. U.S.-led forces had concentrated their search for Bin Laden on the other side of Pakistan’s narrow northern tip, in the border areas with Afghanistan. But the fortress built for the terrorist chief had better access to Kashmir, which has, longer than Afghanistan, been the target of Pakistani jihadism.
Terrorists trained and financed by Pakistan for raids into Kashmir include Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT or “Army of the Righteous”), an Al-Qaida auxiliary. LeT established the first major radical Islamist network uncovered in the U.S. after 11 September 2001, the so-called “North Virginia paintball jihad” group, whose members were tried, convicted, and sentenced to prison. LeT stood behind the Mumbai terrorist raid of December 2008, which shocked the world. David C. Headley, an American citizen born Daood Gilani, was a key figure in the bloody Mumbai incursion, and was arrested in Chicago, Illinois. Last year, he pleaded guilty to terrorism charges.
Continue reading Reflections on Bin Laden and Pakistan – Will There Be a Reckoning? by Stephen Schwartz
The Weekly Standard Blog, May 3, 2011
Since its onset in mid-January, the Arab Spring has caused serious problems for the Islamic Republic of Iran. Even more than other Middle Eastern states threatened by mass dissent, Iran’s ruling regime has fostered bizarre conspiracy theories blaming its intellectual enemies, both foreign and domestic, for threatening its dominion with a “velvet revolution.” Peaceful protests brought down the Tunisian and Egyptian regimes, and his campaign of brutal repression now threatens Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, a key Iranian ally.
The collapse of Assad’s bloody rule would be felt acutely by the Iranians, who support Syria against the Sunni Arab powers, particularly Saudi Arabia, and use it as a conduit to ship arms to Hezbollah across the border in Lebanon. Indeed, Iran’s anxiety over the Syrian uprising these last six weeks has sharpened divisions in the ruling strata, including factions siding with the supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, and his figurehead as president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Continue reading Syrian Crisis Grows, and Iran’s Inner Circle Gets Edgier by Stephen Schwartz
Monday, May 2, 2011, 12:44 AM
The Center for Islamic Pluralism joins many millions of moderate Muslims and non-Muslims around the world in congratulating U.S. military forces for locating and killing Osama [...]