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Bin Laden’s Burial

There seems to be some controversy over how Osama’s body was disposed of. Chucking it in the sea apparently is offensive to some Muslims. By some Muslims, I mean some rather important ones. For example, “The Grand Imam, Dr Ahmed El-Tayeb, the sheikh of Al-Azhar
condemned the reports, if true, of the throwing of the body of
Osama bin Laden into the sea,”. Well, this is no dungeon in the back streets of Forest Gate, it’s al Azhar, the highest seat of learning in the Islamic world. It’s a serious institution, and we should take what they say seriously.

Less serious, however, is the old ‘Tottenham Ayatollah’ Omar Bakri Mohammad. This rather clownish fellow (as clownish as someone of his extraction can be) claimed “The Americans want to humiliate Muslims through this burial, and I don’t think this is in the interest of the U.S. administration”.

http://tinyurl.com/3jun8jk and http://tinyurl.com/3gx59m3

Sheikh Omar doesn’t know whether he’s coming or going. He was here for 20 years during which time he set up al Muhajiroun. He then left to Lebanon after which he was not permitted to return to the UK, despite desperately trying during 2006 war. He can count amongst his esteemed students Andy Chowder, who was on Newsnight giving his view on the bin Laden death. Sometimes it’s hard to know whether Andy is serious or just having a laugh with us all, but I hope that the general public see him the way I (and probably Jeremy Paxman) do – a bit of light entertainment.

Back to the point. Why is this a big issue? Is it a desperate clutch at the last straw to venerate bin Laden in an oblique way so as to not appear to overtly support him? Thousands of Muslims have had their bodies violated in the most despicable ways – often at the hands of other Muslims.

Despite the well-meaning, strained assertion by people – Muslim and non-Muslim alike – that only a minority of Muslims support OBL and his movement, I don’t think that it’s a particularly small minority. Infact, by any reasonable person’s standards, it’s probably a remarkably large one.

Furthermore, who is a Muslim? It seems that bin Laden, despite all he had done, was firmly a Muslim. Yet some will use the flimsiest excuse to excommunicate people from the religion. One of the most absurd off the top of my head is the example of the “sorcerer” from a Lebanese TV channel who was arrested in Saudi Arabia and faced beheading for apostacy. Ironically, he was on his way to Hajj. I don’t know what transpired of that, but an Egyptian man was, infact beheaded for the same “crime” of sorcery. http://tinyurl.com/444l2pu and http://tinyurl.com/ya8xbho.

This leads us back to Iraq. In the 1991 Gulf War, the then Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, ibn Baaz, issued a fatwa that Saddam was a kafir. This is incongruent with Saddam’s later veneration by the likes of Qaradhawi as a martyr, who seemed to be following the trend of the Arab street. Some have tried to back-peddle the ibn Baaz fatwa, others just say he is not to be taken seriously (there are two kinds of Salafi, the house Salafi, who is in the pay-role of authority or yielding to it, and the field Salafi, who has something of a shorter half-life). Who is, and is not a Muslim seems to have some correlation with politics and popularism (no really?).

Nevertheless, Saddam was buried in his grave, which was adorned with flowers, flags and pictures, has prayers read over it and is visited by his supporters. It was not his burial that was controversial, of course, it was his execution. It was seen, quite simply, as overt American and Shia gloating, and there was clearly fury over it amongst many Sunni Muslims. I recall watching the Islam channel when Yvonne Ridley was in Mecca talking to some Saudi, on the occasion of Eid al Adhha. The Saudi mentioned that the Shia need to be careful how they cultivate their victories, because they are a minority in the Arab lands and they can be killed quite easily. I refrain from quoting, but those were pretty much his words as I recall them. Ms Ridly became very quickly and noticeably uncomfortable, saying something along the lines of it being Hajj and Muslims are supposed to be coming together.

Personally I couldn’t care less about people being offended by Saddam’s execution, or whether it was perceived to be gloating, if anything, it’s a nice bonus. What was more concerning was that there were revenge attacks, such as people being hung from lamp-posts, or executed in other ways. Did the Iraq government do the right thing, given what followed? Should we yield to bullies? Were they not going to kill anyway? I don’t know, but my only concern is the safety and security of Iraqis, not the sensitivities, religious or otherwise, of supporters of horrid murderers like Saddam and Osama….except, of course in as far as they affect the aforementioned concern.

11 Comments on “Bin Laden’s Burial”

  1. Hassan A May 5, 2011 at 5:45 am #

    Verbal diarrhoea. I don’t know who told you that you can write. You should stick to computers.

  2. Don May 5, 2011 at 11:22 am #

    Damn, Hassan. Why so harsh? I appreciated the post.

  3. Shkara May 5, 2011 at 12:20 pm #

    Don :Damn, Hassan. Why so harsh? I appreciated the post.


    To me the Muslim world’s response to his burial is a reaction to what is clearly a humiliating scenario: a high profile Muslim killed and thrown out to sea. The reaction to his ‘burial’ does seem to suggest more people than some thought support him. But I don’t think that’s necessarily the case, life is not that simple and such assumptions can have grave consequences. This is a man that has been attributed to be devout, which has caused many to form some attachment to him (but not necessarily agree with everything he does); they see the treatment of his body as a humiliation to the Muslim world and their reaction is a desparate attempt to restore some dignity to themselves.

    • Shkara May 5, 2011 at 12:37 pm #

      Just a quick thought: I wonder what the reaction would be if it was the ISI who killed OBL and threw him out to sea and not the Americans.

  4. Mohammed Abdullah May 5, 2011 at 1:15 pm #

    I wouldn’t make assumptions about his support merely from some high-profile media reactions, it’s more the trend in statistics I have seen over the years, for example http://tinyurl.com/5rns52w.

    What is strange is that his organisation and those of the same strand have killed many, many more Muslims than non-Muslims, so you would expect Muslims to be the most pleased about his end. From what I have seen, Muslims deal with this either through out-right denial – blaming the deaths on the US and claiming bin Laden doesn’t exist/died a long time ago, to saying something along the lines of “I disagree with his tactics, but….”.

    It seems that a bit of rhetoric about America and Zionists, a long beard and the right outward appearance of religiosity is enough.

  5. Ali M May 5, 2011 at 3:40 pm #

    Osama was shrouded in a white kafen, had prayers recited to him and buried at sea. His victims did not even have any body parts left to bury. Saddam was humanely punished and was not tortured and executed fairly after a trial. His victims were buried alive in large unmarked graves with no funeral and no dignity. To their supporters there is no irony. They complain only about their fallen idols, and are completely blind to the rest of humanity.

    The statistics you mention are interesting. I remember how the vast majority of Jordanians supported Bin Laden after 9/11 (despite their King being close allies with USA and Israel), but after Amman itself was targeted by Al-Qaeda (Zarqawi branch) the support dropped to something like 20%. It is only when the Arabs suffer themselves; when they know what it is to lose their families to fellow Muslims, do they begin to appreciate the difference between justice and tyranny, and even then only apply it to themselves (Iraqi “mujahideen” retained huge support in Jordan, Algeria, Egypt and Saudi throughout all Al-Qaeda’s attacks in those countries) There is nothing we can do except regard these Arab filth as a scummy enemy.

  6. Fieldy May 6, 2011 at 1:11 am #

    It has transpired that OBL was unarmed when killed, can understand the predicament with taking him alive as you could imagine his supporters executing aid worker daily etc in protest.

    However we need to respect rule of law, thus shouldn’t OBL have been taken to a court and prosecuted.

    Lastly interesting to see the Archbishop of Canterbury has criticised the killing of OBL.

    • Mohammed Abdullah May 6, 2011 at 9:41 pm #

      We don’t know the details of what occurred, so we can only debate this issue based on hypothesised scenarios. The “rule of law”, just like democracy and other kinds of principles, is a means to an end, not an end in itself. It exists to support security and justice. I have very little concern for bin Laden as an individual, but the concern for rule of law not being respected is one that I acknowledge to be valid due to the danger that it may lead to a road of corruption during the course of which we, or people we care about, will be adversely affected. Viewed as a trade-off between increased risk to us, and benefit to us, I think an execution would have been reasonable.

      I also think the Americans have been wise in their disposal of the body. What they should have done, however, and can still do, is allow independent observers to verify the evidence to address scepticism about his death.

  7. Don Cox May 6, 2011 at 11:46 am #

    “However we need to respect rule of law, thus shouldn’t OBL have been taken to a court and prosecuted.”

    No. He was not a criminal, to be tried. He was the leader of his forces in a war which he declared. Killing the enemy leader is normal in a war, if you can do it.

    Wasn’t it part of the 9/11 plan that one of the aircraft should hit the White House?

  8. Sara May 8, 2011 at 1:02 pm #

    The idea of chucking his body in the sea, contradicts the idea of ”Human Rights”.
    If the USA, really respects Human Rights, then why chuck his body in the sea? In fact, that shows no respect to Human Rights. And over here I’m not defending anyone.
    Plus, they confirmed that they will bury him according to the ”Islamic Law”…that’s no way part of the Islamic Law.

  9. Aziz Alnassiri August 16, 2011 at 10:46 am #

    Dear All,
    I have just come across this blog which I congratulate the cooperative who incepted and created it. As there are is no category dealing with the blog itself I am having to copy all categories to hopefully reach the blog owner(s). So sorry in advance for choosing to blast the blog. Here is my message:

    Since the general concept seems to be Iraqi Brits discussing common shared topics, one of which is Iraq. I am surprised to see the emphasis is on culture and politics and even religion rather than building, construction and economy, all of which is themes related to the country’s survival. How about adding economy or business to the list of themes?

    If you take up my suggestion then promise you a grass root perspective from Ground Zero by someone with no political agenda or ties and who has returned to attempt rebuilding anything in Iraq 35 years of life in the UK. I work in the private sector therefore my observations on happenings in Iraq are more realistic than public sector employee. Readers who may be looking for ways to contribute to Iraq (as opposed to just talking) may well find ideas of projects my company is trying to carry out in Iraq as suitable practical avenues for contributing to Iraq’s progress.

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