VIEW: Osama is dead —Mashal Sahir - Thursday, May 05, 2011

Source :\05\05\story_5-5-2011_pg3_5

Many people all over the world are interpreting this incident as a confirmation of the past allegations that Pakistan is a breeding ground for terrorism

May 2 was a day of great celebrations as American troops, after a long search of 10 years, finally tracked down and destroyed the very face of al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden. It was not only a cause of celebration for the US but many other countries around the world, which became victims of al Qaeda terrorism.

Americans wanted Osama, dead or alive, as his al Qaeda was responsible for the loss of 3,000 of innocent lives in a daring attack on the World Trade Centre. It was Muslims who have been bearing the brunt of his atrocious actions for over a decade now, due to subsequent US attack on Afghanistan. Since 9/11, American Muslims have been unable to own their religion with pride. They have felt ashamed by al Qaeda’s actions and have been labelled terrorists in the West. A storm of discrimination and hatred was unleashed on American Muslims following 9/11. Moreover, countless innocent Muslims have lost their lives in the US search for Osama and its war against terrorism.

It is a general misconception in the West that Osama was a representative of the Muslim world and Islam. However, the truth is quite the opposite. Osama was in fact a disgrace to Islam and exploited the religion for his own vested interests. What he called jihad is in fact quite the opposite of the jihad that Islam has allowed. Islam is a religion of peace, tolerance and forgiveness and has prescribed strict injunctions regarding war and jihad.

According to Islam’s injunctions of jihad, a Muslim cannot be the first one to attack; he is only allowed to fight in self-defence. Moreover, he cannot harm women, children, the elderly, people who are ailing, unarmed people, animals and even trees. Islam has prescribed countless conditions of jihad, so much so that if the enemy, at any point, surrenders, a Muslim has no other choice but to spare his life. On the occasion of the conquest of Makkah, the Holy Prophet (PBUH) made it clear to all his companions that they were not to violate any of the above-mentioned conditions. Moreover, after the successful conquest of Makkah, he forgave each and every one of the Quraish and spared their lives. On the contrary, al Qaeda decisively attacked the World Trade Centre and killed 3,000 of innocent and unarmed women, men and children who had no clue of what was in store for them. Moreover, the passengers in the aircraft used for the attack had not volunteered to be sacrificed for his ‘great cause’. What right did al Qaeda have to decide the fate of all those passengers? Islam never granted the permission to forcefully make someone go to war. On the occasion of the Battle of Uhad, Abdullah Bin Ubbay deserted the Muslim army with 300 of his men at the last minute. However, the Holy Prophet (PBUH) did not force him to stay and continued fighting with the remaining 700 men. What brand of Islam was Osama representing? Moreover, if Osama did truly believe that his actions were for the cause of Islam and that he would be rewarded for them in the hereafter, why did he not surrender himself and lay his own life for his cause? Why did he stay in hiding for so many years? The truth is that Osama was not fighting for the cause of Islam or Muslims; he wanted revenge. Osama had a falling out with the US and his motherland Saudi Arabia after the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq, when Saudi Arabia allowed the US to deploy it troops to fight Iraq on the Saudi soil in 1991. Expelled from Saudi Arabia and alienated from the US, he undertook the task of destroying the US and western interests around the world. His cause might have been just, but his means negated the spirit of Islam. He was only using Islam to brainwash people to gain supporters who would lay down their lives.

The fact that Osama had been leading a relatively secure life in Pakistan for the past seven years and was finally brought to justice on Pakistani soil is a matter of great shame for the entire nation. Many people all over the world are interpreting this incident as a confirmation of the past allegations that Pakistan is a breeding ground for terrorism. Pakistan has been fighting the war on terrorism along with the US for years and has lost many lives as a result of this war. But Osama’s presence in Abbottabad makes one wonder how could our intelligence agencies and military establishment not detect him. Even though, the government of Pakistan has claimed it was unaware of Osama’s whereabouts, the possibility that the intelligence agencies were involved in protecting him on Pakistani soil cannot be ruled out. Once again, the Pakistani nation will be dubbed terrorists and the ordinary people will have to pay the price for the actions of a few.

Many people believe that Osama’s death means the end of drone attacks by the US and suicide attacks by terrorists. What they do not realise is that even though the US has succeeded in destroying al Qaeda’s leadership, there are millions of Osama’s out there who are plotting this very minute to avenge the death of their leader. The situation is more critical now than it was ever before. And although the US is withdrawing some of its troops from Afghanistan, it has not given up on its war against terrorism, as it is fully aware that Osama’s death certainly does not mean the death of terrorism. The US wanted to extend its drone attacks beyond FATA into Quetta and other areas sometime ago. At that time, our government had firmly refused, claiming that the US speculations regarding the whereabouts of terrorist camps were baseless. However, now that Osama has been found on Pakistani soil, how will our government resist such a proposition? It is time that we question our leaders and demand the truth. If we are going to pay the price for their actions, we at least have the right to know the truth.

The writer is a staff member and can be reached at

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