Arun Venugopal is a reporter and the creator of Micropolis, WNYC’s multi-platform series examining race, sexuality, religion, street life and other issues that define New York City. He has been with the station since 2005, and has covered a wide range of stories, including the death of Sean Bell, the controversy over the Park 51 mosque and community center and Occupy Wall Street .
Muslim Groups React to Bin Laden's Death With Mixed Emotions
Monday, May 02, 2011
New Yorkers of all faiths are reacting to the death of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden with mixed emotions.
Ahmad Chaudhry, with the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, said he felt a huge sense of relief when he heard the news late Sunday night. His group launched the Muslims for Peace Campaign -- a national movement -- in Times Square following the failed bomb plot last May.
"We need to stand up and condemn terrorism as loudly as we've been doing in the past, and tell them that there's no link between moderate Muslims and the activities of Osama bin Laden,"said Chaudhry, who noted his group will continue its efforts to spread the message that Islam is a peaceful religion.
Chaudhry said he was surprised that bin Laden turned out to be hiding in Pakistan, in a compound close to a military base: "Why was he sitting right next to a military camp or military base for so long, as has been reported, definitely needs further scrutiny," he said.
Dr. Shaik Ubaid, of the Muslim Peace Coalition, was also relieved to hear about bin Laden's death. But he said the burial at sea was done in haste. Ubaid believes that could fuel conspiracy theorists who believe he wasn't really killed, and give an excuse to his supporters.
"His supporters, and you know, especially the recruiters, will be inflamed, saying the U.S. does not even respect dead bodies," he said.
Haris Tarin, with the Muslim-American Affairs Council, said Muslims' perceptions of bin Laden have changed. He said bin Laden and al-Qaeda killed more Muslims than members of any other religious group, because so many attacks took place in Islamic countries.
"Muslims have rejected his narrative and his bankrupt ideology for quite a long time now," he said. "And especially with the whole Arab spring that took place, I think Osama bin Laden's message had already become irrelevant."