A prayer for Osama Bin Laden

by Todd Hebert

Bin Laden Dead

We got our man. U.S. special forces found and killed Osama Bin Laden. Americans are rejoicing in the streets. And why shouldn’t they be? Bin Laden was a mass murderer of epic proportions, and, through his Al Qaeda network, he will continue to be an accessory and an inspiration to murder for many years to come.

I woke up this morning to radio sound clips of rejoicing in Washington, D.C. and ground zero. “Osama, Osama, hey hey hey, good bye!” they sang. The New York Post cover read: “Vengeance at last! US nails the Bastard.” New York’s Daily News front page read, “Rot in Hell!” Not the most professional headlines, but it gets the point across.

Evangelical Christian politician Mike Huckabee declared, “It is unusual to celebrate a death, but today Americans and decent people the world over cheer the news that madman, murderer and terrorist Osama Bin Laden is dead. …It has taken a long time for this monster to be brought to justice. Welcome to hell, bin Laden.” Not a very Christian thing to say, but I suppose Huck can get a free pass due to the circumstances.

Everybody is talking, tweeting, and blogging in jubilation over the news of Bin Laden’s death. It’s been 10 years in the making, and i have to agree that the world is a little better without him.

But all of the celebratory goings on leaves me a bit sick in the stomach. An unnamed blogger who will remain unlinked to suggested an alternative method of burying Bin Laden: “We should sew up the body in a pigskin suit, dump it in a vat of pig entrails, and then give all the people who lost loved ones in 9/11 an opportunity to relieve themselves on it.”

I understand the anger people felt toward Bin Laden, and I certainly understand the vindication they get from him death. It makes us feel good and it gives us a sense of accomplishment. Justice has been served.

I just hope people aren’t confusing their celebration with a victory march. This was one man, the founder of Al Qaeda. Although the spiritual head and the figurehead of the extremist movement, Bin Laden was no longer carrying out much of an active role. Things will get worse before they get better, if they get better at all.

When Al Qaeda carries out it’s next attack, the celebrations will quell. Perhaps we will focus on what is more important: remembering the loss and celebrating the lives of our loved ones, not basking in the glory of one dead terrorist.

It is an Islamic tradition to recite the opening chapter of the Qur’an upon the death of anyone, friend or foe, in remembrance:

Al-hamdu-li-Llahi Rabbi-l-`alamin
Maliki yawmi-d-din
Iyyaka na`budu wa ‘iyyaka nasta`in
Sirat alladhina ‘an `amta `alayhim
Ghayri-l-maghdubi `alayhim wa la-d-daallin

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John Ptacek

Todd, thanks for the article. I share your revulsion. I cannot cheer the news of another human being’s death. I am one of those who President Obama thinks should have his head examined for not thinking that killing is a good idea. This is what happens when politicians tackle life’s big questions.


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