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Don’t Worry: Osama Was Shot in Accordance with Islamic Tradition

Frank J. Fleming knows the very first thing that went through your mind when you heard of bin Laden's death: were all the religious niceties observed?

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Frank J. Fleming

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May 3, 2011 - 12:22 pm
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I know what was probably the first thing to go through your mind when you heard the news that Osama bin Laden had been killed: Was his dead body handled properly according to Islamic tradition? Well, on behalf of the U.S. government, I am happy to tell you that yes, it absolutely was.

I think in these situations, the most important thing to us is showing religious respect. We didn’t like how Osama was responsible for murdering thousands of innocent men, women, and children, but that was just one aspect of the man. Another aspect was that he was a Muslim — and that was a good part of him that we greatly respect. Because Islam is a great religion. Really great. Personally, I don’t practice it, but others do, and they really seem to like it. So, while we didn’t like the terrorist side of Osama, I think everyone understands that we still need to celebrate the Muslim side of him and give it the respect it deserves.

So that’s why everyone involved was very careful to handle his dead body in accordance with Islamic tradition… as best they could. I mean, there were a few minor bumps along the way, like when the body kinda sorta got dragged off by wild dogs. That happens. No one is perfect, not even the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)). And you have to understand that dogs are just animals, and a big difference between animals and people is the ability to show respect for Islamic traditions. Anyway, those dogs were chased immediately, the body was retrieved, and the canines involved were given a stern talking to.

Unfortunately, while everyone was preoccupied with yelling “Bad dog!” a cat jumped up on the body. And if you’ve ever owned a cat, you know they’re mischievous little creatures. That’s part of their charm. Anyway, the cat ate one of his eyeballs. So, not great there on respecting the body according to Islamic tradition, but accidents happen. And while everyone was trying to get the eyeball back, a raccoon started chewing on the body — which is really weird, because they’re not even indigenous to the region. But the raccoon was chased off in accordance with Islamic tradition. Well, I mean, the Qur’an doesn’t specifically mention chasing off animals trying to chew on a dead body, but it’s heavily implied that you should.

So, at this point, I wouldn’t say the body had been disrespected, but it obviously was not an auspicious start. Like if there were an Olympic event for treating a dead body in accordance with Islamic tradition, the U.S. would probably have been out of the running for the gold at that point. And then we probably could forget about the silver when a point was deducted for letting the body roll down a hill (I’m assuming an Olympic event for treating a dead body in accordance with Islamic tradition would be scored similarly to gymnastics).

Still, everyone was psyched to recover from those mishaps and rally for the bronze (I’m speaking metaphorically; there aren’t actually medals for this sort of thing). The body got to the ship without further mishap, and then the ship went out to sea for a nice, respectful-to-Islam burial. Can you think of anything more respectful than a water burial? You can’t; I mean, it’s out there in nature with all the water… very nice. And the body was wrapped in a clean white sheet — again, really respectful. Someone could have said, “Hey, since we’re just going to throw it in the ocean, let’s go ahead and use a dirty sheet.” But we used a clean sheet, because respect for Osama’s religion was that important. And after Osama was nicely wrapped up, he was chucked into the sea with a hearty shout of, “Yay, Allah!” in accordance with Islamic tradition. And then a jig was danced in accordance with Irish tradition.

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