This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Utah Muslims say they are relieved that Osama bin Laden is dead. In fact, some are downright jubilant.
"We've been waiting for this day a long, long time," said Ahmed Anad, an immigrant from Iraq. "We welcome the demise of that killer, that criminal."
Anad is an organizer behind one of the Salt Lake Valley's newest mosques, the Alzahra Islamic Center in West Valley City.
Nadeem Ahmed, a Pakistani native who has been in the United States for more than 30 years, was surprised to learn bin Laden was living in a quiet neighborhood in Pakistan. He and his family watched Pakistani television by satellite dish Sunday night. "I think everybody is kind of surprised."
Bin Laden's terrorist network al-Qaida has killed many Muslims at shrines and mosques, and Ahmed, a chemist and board member at the Utah Islamic Center in Sandy, said he was happy to hear President Barack Obama mention those victims in his Sunday night address. "By the common person, he [bin Laden] was not liked."
Iqbal Hossain, president of the Islamic Society of Greater Salt Lake, said most Muslims are relieved because they are "sick and tired of ... violence committed in the name of Islam."
While bin Laden did not get his day in court, Hossain said, he did get divine justice.
"We are relieved," Hossain said in a statement, "that justice has been finally meted out for the violence and deaths of innocent human beings, not only on the soil of the U.S.A., but in other Muslim and non-Muslim countries in the world."
Imam Shuaib-ud Din, of the Utah Islamic Center, said bin Laden's death demonstrates that "good eventually triumphs over evil."
But Din did not join in Monday's celebration. "Being clergy," he said, "I'm not happy with the death of anyone."
He was thinking, instead, of the teaching of the Prophet Muhammad, who forgave his daughter's murderer, and of Jesus Christ, who taught followers to love their enemies.
"Cheering is not something a powerful nation does when they overcome their opponent, their enemy," Din said. "They act with humility. We should act with more dignity."
Imam Muhammed Mehtar, of the Islamic Society of Greater Salt Lake, said he hopes that with the end of bin Laden, "we will be able to start a new chapter in history."
"We remain sad as to every innocent life that has ever been violated pre- and post-9/11," he said in a statement. "As Muslims, we sincerely hope that a new chapter would prevail and that human dignity would be maintained."
Neither he nor Din thought it wise that the United States buried bin Laden's body at sea.
Mehtar said extremists worldwide will use the sea burial as an argument that the United States feared bin Laden in life and in death.
"We give the man more prominence," said Mehtar, who would have preferred bin Laden be buried on a deserted island.
Din said a sea burial is only for those too far from land. "They should give him a land burial," he added, "in an undisclosed location."
Sheila Burton, a convert to Islam, said she wishes bin Laden had been captured and tried at The Hague, as is typical for war criminals. "The United States," she said, "presumes innocence until proven guilty."
Her Muslim friends, however, are happy, she said, "because it's going to take the focus off the Muslim community as an entirety."
Battle against evil goes on
Iqbal Hossain, president of the Islamic Society of Greater Salt Lake, said Muslims hope for peace but know that terrorism will not end with Osama bin Laden's death.
"It is a continuous battle of good against evil that would be vitally important for us to win in order to preserve the human civilization and the moral values it embodies: peace, harmony and fundamental fairness," he said in a statement. "We pray with the rest of America that, as we begin the process of healing, we also remain steadfast against any act of violence, hate and bigotry on the part of any individuals, irrespective of their religious persuasion."