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Bin Laden’s Burial at Sea: Are We Undermining ‘Moderate’ Muslims?

CAIR and other "moderates" continually remind us that Osama bin Laden was not what Islam is all about. Then why bury him as a devout Muslim?

by
Rand Simberg

Bio

May 2, 2011 - 4:29 pm
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In that light, we may not only have squandered an opportunity this past weekend, but significantly undermined the reformers.

It has been reported that after Osama bin Laden was dispatched yesterday, he was given a burial at sea, in the “Islamic practice”:

In accordance with Islamic practice, bin Laden was washed and wrapped in a white sheet before buried at sea at 2 a.m. local time, senior U.S. military and intelligence officials said.

This was presumably done in the interest of impressing the “moderate” Muslims of the world with our respect for their religion, but if anything, it does just the opposite. What we were unwittingly implying by that politically correct act was that we agree with those who claim that Osama was a true Muslim, and that we don’t accept the account of the reformers that he was an apostate. What are the latter to make of it? And how does this in any way discourage his supporters, knowing that when we dispatch them to get their virgins (or raisins, or whatever) we will take pains to ensure their safe arrival in heaven?

Consider other possibilities. There is a tale, possibly apocryphal, of General “Black Jack” Pershing shooting Muslim terrorist prisoners with bullets soaked in lard during the Philippines uprising a century ago, presumably in the interest of dissuading them from acts that would result in their failure to get to their promised hereafter. While feeding Osama to the hogs might be viewed as too barbaric (though for many of the people who make war on us, barbarism is all they understand), it wasn’t helpful to our cause to bend over so backwards in respect for what he claimed to be his own violent religion. We should have forthrightly stated that we agreed with CAIR, and others, that he was not a true Muslim, and not granted him any such privileges, even in death. Particularly since it did nothing to please the Muslims anyway:

Muslim clerics said Monday that Osama bin Laden’s burial at sea was a violation of Islamic tradition that may further provoke militant calls for revenge attacks against American targets.

…“The Americans want to humiliate Muslims through this burial, and I don’t think this is in the interest of the U.S. administration,” said Omar Bakri Mohammed, a radical cleric in Lebanon.

When will we learn that there is no pleasing these people, regardless of the number of presidential bows and scrapes and apologies? We might as well have brought him back to New York, and buried him in an anonymous grave, after filming video of the body being wrapped in pigskin. It wouldn’t assuage anyone overseas, but neither did what we did, and it would at least make most Americans feel better.

It is long past time for us to stop spending so much time worrying about incurring the wrath of those who make war on us. We need to spend a lot more time working on ways to get them to fear our own wrath.

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Rand Simberg is a recovering aerospace engineer and a consultant in space commercialization, space tourism and Internet security. He offers occasionally biting commentary about infinity and beyond at his weblog, Transterrestrial Musings.
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