Muslim associations based in Washington, D.C., welcomed the news of Osama bin Laden's death last night, some expressing a sense of relief.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, one of the largest Muslim civil liberties organizations in the United States, quickly released a statement praising the news in President Barack Obama's Sunday address. "We join our fellow citizens in welcoming the announcement that Osama bin Laden has been eliminated as a threat to our nation and the world, through the actions of American military personnel," the group said.
CAIR also echoed the president in labeling bin Laden an enemy to Muslims worldwide. "As we have stated repeatedly since the 9/11 terror attacks, bin Laden never represented Muslims or Islam."
The Muslim Public Affairs Council, another prominent civic group based in Washington, said the death of al Qaeda's leader came with an "immense sense of relief." The group praised the work of President Obama and his security team.
Haris Tarin, the director of the Washington office of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, added that he is hopeful that bin Laden's death would begin a new chapter in the United States' relationship with Muslim countries.
Imam Magid, the president of the Islamic Society of North America, sought to draw a clear distinction between the extremism fomented by bin Laden and the peaceful followers of Islam in the United States. "We will turn to each other today, united," he said, "and emerge tomorrow with an even stronger resolve to take every action necessary to protect the precious ideals of our nation that bin Laden attempted to destroy on 9/11: peace, tolerance, respect, and freedom for all."
“American Muslims want to see: How will our neighbors respond to us now?” said Imam Johari Abdul-Malik, former chairman of the Council of Muslim Organizations for the Washington area. “Will they have learned enough to know that we are not part of al-Qaida -- we are part of the United States of America.”
Muslim residents in the area added their own perspective to leaders' comments. In northern Virginia, Imad Jurdi, of Alexandria, said he prodded his teenage daughter to stay awake late Sunday to hear President Barack Obama announce the news.
“Everybody's celebrating,” Jurdi said as he talked to Mike Qader outside a Falls Church shopping center popular with the region's Muslim-American population. “This guy spoiled the reputation of the whole Islamic world.”