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Wed 4 May 2011 03:54 PM

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Muslim leaders query killing of unarmed bin Laden, 'Islamic' burial

Muslim leaders question whether the US has gone too far in 'execution' of world's most wanted terrorist

Muslim leaders query killing of unarmed bin Laden, 'Islamic' burial
Muslim leaders query killing of unarmed bin Laden, 'Islamic' burial
Muslim leaders query killing of unarmed bin Laden, 'Islamic' burial
Muslim leaders query killing of unarmed bin Laden, 'Islamic' burial
Muslim leaders query killing of unarmed bin Laden, 'Islamic' burial
Muslim leaders query killing of unarmed bin Laden, 'Islamic' burial
Muslim leaders query killing of unarmed bin Laden, 'Islamic' burial
Muslim leaders query killing of unarmed bin Laden, 'Islamic' burial
(Bloomberg Images)
Muslim leaders query killing of unarmed bin Laden, 'Islamic' burial
(Bloomberg Images)
Muslim leaders query killing of unarmed bin Laden, 'Islamic' burial
(AFP/Getty Images)

The killing of Osama bin Laden when he was unarmed has raised concerns the US may have gone too far in acting as policeman, judge and executioner of the world's most wanted man.

But for several Muslim leaders, the more unsettling issue is whether the al Qaeda leader's burial at sea was contrary to Islamic practice.

A senior Muslim cleric in New Delhi, Syed Ahmed Bukhari, said US troops could have easily captured bin Laden.

"America is promoting jungle rule everywhere, whether in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan or Libya. People have remained silent for long but now it has crossed all limits."

Son Had, spokesman for Jema'ah Ansharut Tauhid, the Islamic group founded by Indonesian firebrand Abu Bakar Bashir, said it was clear that bin Laden had become a martyr.

"In Islam, a man who died....in fighting for sharia will earn the highest title for mankind other than a prophet, that is a martyr. Osama is a fighter for Islam, for sharia."

But for many Muslim leaders the greater concern was bin Laden's burial at sea, not land. His body was taken to an aircraft carrier where US officials said it was buried at sea, according to Islamic rites.

IA Rehman, an official with the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, said it was more important than the issue of how bin Laden was killed.

"The fact that he was not armed is a smaller thing...There will be more focus on whether he was buried in an Islamic way. There has been reaction from Islamic clerics that he was not properly buried and this will be discussed for some time."

Saudi Sheikh Abdul Mohsen Al Obaikan, an adviser to the Saudi Royal Court, was more direct.

"That is not the Islamic way. The Islamic way is to bury the person in land [if he has died on land] like all other people."

Amidhan, a member of Indonesia's Ulema Council (MUI), the highest Islamic authority in the world's biggest Muslim society, said he was more concerned about the burial that the killing.

"Burying someone in the ocean needs extraordinary situation. Is there one?," he said.

"If the US can't explain that, then it appears just like dumping an animal and that means there is no respect for the man ... and what they did can incite more resentment among Osama's supporters."

The White House said on Tuesday that bin Laden had resisted the US team which stormed his Pakistan hideout and that there had been concerns he would "oppose the capture operation".

Spokesman Jay Carney declined to specify what sort of resistance bin Laden offered but added: "We expected a great deal of resistance and were met with a great deal of resistance. There were many other people who were armed ... in the compound."

Former West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt told German TV the operation could have incalculable consequences in the Arab world at a time of unrest there.

"It was quite clearly a violation of international law."

It was a view echoed by high-profile Australian human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson.

"It's not justice. It's a perversion of the term. Justice means taking someone to court, finding them guilty upon evidence and sentencing them," Robertson told Australian Broadcasting Corp television from London.

"This man has been subject to summary execution, and what is now appearing after a good deal of disinformation from the White House is it may well have been a cold-blooded assassination."

Robertson said bin Laden should have stood trial, just as World War Two Nazis were tried at Nuremburg or former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic was put on trial at the war crimes tribunal in The Hague after his arrest in 2001.

"The last thing he wanted was to be put on trial, to be convicted and to end his life in a prison farm in upstate New York. What he wanted was exactly what he got - to be shot in mid-jihad and get a fast track to paradise and the Americans have given him that."

Gert-Jan Knoops, a Dutch-based international law specialist, said bin Laden should have been arrested and extradited to the US.

"The Americans say they are at war with terrorism and can take out their opponents on the battlefield," Knoops said. "But in a strictly formal sense, this argument does not stand up."

Gildog 8 years ago

"Show respect for the man?" Really? I'm appalled that he got as much respect as he did! People just want a reason to stir the pot.
Osama was a disgrace to mankind. I'm thankful the USA had the fortitude to do the right thing.

sonnydubai 8 years ago

Bearing in mind what he did was beyond barbaric he doesn't deserve any type of formal burial - just like the people he killed in New York. Religion has nothing to do with it.

Concerned Global Citizen 8 years ago

Do muslim leaders actually believe Osama Bin Laden was representative of Muslims that they feel the need to weigh in on this debate? How many others did he deny a chance of a burial according to their beliefs?

Good Riddance 8 years ago

Both of you ~ BEAUTIFULLY said!!
I guess those others have a faded memory of the most HORRIFIC act of flying Airplanes into a building.

keenObzerver 8 years ago

I will simply quote:
""It's not justice. It's a perversion of the term. Justice means taking someone to court, finding them guilty upon evidence and sentencing them,"

"It was quite clearly a violation of international law."German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt
"The evidence to implicate Osama in 9-11 may not stand in a court of law" National Security Archives

"Osama is widely BELIEVED to be the man responsible for 9-11" New York Times

"Khaled Sheikh Mohammed was the mastermind and operations cheif behind 9-11", "He presented the plan to Osama, and Osama approved it" White house press release

"Bush and Blair are responsible for the death of over 1.2 million Iraqi children" UN Human rights Comission

"This man has been subject to summary execution, and what is now appearing after a good deal of disinformation from the White House is it may well have been a cold-blooded assassination."Robertson

Serena 8 years ago

@Gildog, quote"I'm thankful the USA had the fortitude to do the right thing" unquote. US always did the right things starting with Vietnam, Chile, Argentina, africa, unconditional support to Israeli unlawfull policies, war on Iraq, bombing civilians in Afghanistan, etc.... This is the example of right things and democratic regime people should praize. Who ever speaks against it is a terrorist. Nice world

Billy 8 years ago

These same Muslim clerics would do their religion far more good by distancing themselves from everything Bin laden represented and instead focused the world on the tolerance and forgiveness that true Muslims believe in. They should not concentrate on whether he was armed or not ( can't believe the ridiculousness of such a concern) or even if he was buried correctly. he was an enemy of all manking - including Muslims - so we should all be celebrating his death, that the world is rid of such evil and is a better place for it. Please Muslim clerics, do what is right for the vast majority of your followers and stop chasing headlines that only do a disservice to your cause.

Believer 8 years ago

US Said- He is after 9/11 atacks- No Proof given-We Believed
US Said- He is after all Al Qaida Activities-No Proof-We Believe
US Said-He is Most dangerous man walking on earth- We Believe
US Said- There are WMD in Iraq and invaded the country, killed over 100K people-No Proof-We Believe
US Said- He is in Afghanistan, invaded it and killed another few 100K people- No Proof- We Believe
NOW IF US is saying that he is killed in Pakistan and we will again not give any proof to the world, WHY ARE WE NOT BELIEVING THIIS TIME?

Bob 8 years ago

What can the US actually do, when no country wants the body?

Snap out of it!!! 8 years ago

Nobody in history has smeared Islam or his entire region as this man did. He declared war on the strongest nation of our time and slammed airplanes full of innocent people into iconic buildings full of innocent people - which of his victims had a decent burial?! How many were actually found or identified?!

We have to stop relating Islam to violence and terrorism as the only way to achieve diplomatic objectives and Global attention. In this case this man got the focused attention he had earned by his own doing.

Religion is religion not politics and should not be used to "fuel the duel" for political end. If that is done, then religion is degraded into an earthly political party like any other party that tries to rally the support of people, only in this case, by usurping their noble beliefs.

Why can't we simply solve our problems by debate and unity of purpose rather setting ourselves on fire and making 'revolutions' and enemies and then call ourselves martyrs for lost causes.