PEMBROKE PINES (CBS4) – Two prominent Muslim leaders from South Florida are commending the actions of the American military in what they describe as the “elimination of Osama Bin Laden as a threat to America and the world.”
The comments came at a news conference held by CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the American Islamic Center of Florida.
“We join our fellow citizens in welcoming the announcement that Osama Bin Laden has been eliminated as a threat to our nation and the world through the actions of American military personnel,” said Nezar Hamze, the Executive Director of CAIR.
“As we have stated repeatedly since the 9/11 terror attacks, Bin Laden never represented Muslims or Islam,” said Hamze. “In fact, in addition to the killings of thousands of Americans, he and Al Qaeda caused the deaths of countless Muslims worldwide. We also reiterate President Obama’s clear statement that the United States is not at war with Islam.”
“Osama Bin Laden was a radical terrorist,” said Hamze. “There is no place in society for someone like that.”
Sheik Mohamad Al-Ali Al-Halabi of the American Islamic Center of Florida said that Bin Laden “was not doing this for the Islamic culture. What he was doing he was doing for himself. He did it without permission.”
Hamze said all 33 CAIR offices were holding news conferences about the death of Bin Laden and similar comments were being heard nationwide.
Hamze told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench that he thought the death of Bin Laden would harm Al Qaeda but would not put an end to its terrorist activities.
Sheik Al-Ali Al-Halabi had other concerns. “Al Qaeda is not just a person,” he said. “When you cut off the head, it is not the end. There are a lot of people in Al Qaeda like Bin Laden. We need to watch it very carefully.”
D’Oench also asked him if there would be much backlash to the way in which Bin Laden was buried: at sea. It was not according to Muslim tradition.
“I think there’s a chance that a number in the Muslim community will take offense,” said Hamze. “But I think most will not.”
He also said with the news of Bin Laden’s death, there was only one incident of backlash against Muslims involved with CAIR. He said he received a report that the CAIR office in Portland, Oregon had been vandalized.
As for reprisals against Americans as a result of Bin Laden being killed, Hamze would not speculate on that possibility.