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?
May 3, 2011 - 12:22 pm
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.
Still, I know some of you are concerned about when the Navy SEALs raided Osama’s compound, whether he was then shot in the face in accordance with Islamic tradition. Well, don’t worry; he absolutely was. The very last thing anyone wanted was for Osama to think while he was being killed, “They’re doing this to me because I’m Muslim!” Because, again, that would definitely not be true. So great care was taken, and he was shot in the face in a religiously respectful way.
For instance, none of the Navy SEALs in the raid were eating a pork sandwich as they did it. And none of them had on them any depictions of Muhammad (PBUH). Also, the raid was done between prayer times — not during! And when Osama was shot in the face, he was facing westward. I’m not sure that’s actually religiously important, but if it is, then, yes, he was doing that. And when he was shot, the traditional Muslim expression of “Allahu Akbar!” was shouted — except it was an English translation, so it was something like, “Thank you, Jesus!”
Of course, not everyone interprets the Qur’an the same way, so Osama was also shot in accordance with a few other traditions to make sure all bases were covered. So he was shot eleven times total. But there was a little hitch — he didn’t actually die from the gunshots. It kind of caught everyone off guard, and they were a bit stumped on what religiously respectful thing to do next. But then a quick thinking SEAL grabbed a Qur’an and beat Osama to death with it.
Okay, maybe that wasn’t the best idea in the history of respecting religions, but you can understand the sentiment. How comforting for Osama was it that the last thing he saw was his own holy book? Still, it’s understandable how some would see that as the opposite of being respectful, so the U.S. government would like to say to the friends and family of Osama — those who haven’t been killed or captured — a heartfelt “Oopsie.” And we assure you, the Qur’an was cleaned off, and an imam looked it over to make sure it was not permanently harmed. So no worries there.
Still, it’s a great time for America, and it was was nice to see all those people cheering in the streets Sunday night when they heard the news that Osama had been treated in a way that respected his religion. Because that’s what is important in this modern world, and we work very hard on respecting the culture of those we have to kill for pragmatic reasons. And it’s hard, because people can really take it the wrong way when you storm their compounds and start shooting them. They may think, “Are Americans doing this because they look down on our religion and culture?” And no one wants that; we want to hurt people, not feelings. That’s why all hellfire missiles now have written on the front of them, “This shouldn’t be construed as a negative view of your religion.” And the battle cry of the United States Marines has been changed to “THIS IS WITH THE UTMOST RESPECT!” It’s terrifying when men armed with assault rifles yell it while firing at you … but at the same time, it’s a little comforting.
Again, I have to emphasize that America has no problem with Islam — just with terrorists — many of whom happen to be Muslim … and we think it’s great they’ve chosen such a lovely religion with such a storied culture. That’s not a problem for us… It’s just the murdering. That’s our only beef.
And that’s why everyone involved in hunting terrorists these days is well-trained in being respectful to those they’re gunning down. And we can only hope that the last thing that went through Osama’s head was the thought, “Wow, these Americans killing me sure are respectful of my religious views.”
Well, the last thing before the bullet, that is. The certified halal bullet.