Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Even a monster such as Osama Bin Laden deserved a better burial, say city Muslims

Originally Published:Wednesday, May 4th 2011, 4:00 AM
Updated: Wednesday, May 4th 2011, 10:28 AM

City Muslims were dissatisfied with Osama Bin Laden's burial at sea. Many felt the Al Qaeda leader should have been given a proper burial.
City Muslims were dissatisfied with Osama Bin Laden's burial at sea. Many felt the Al Qaeda leader should have been given a proper burial.

New York Muslims and community leaders are still shocked that the U.S. dumped Osama Bin Laden's body into the ocean.

No matter how evil - and even though Bin Laden didn't afford his victims a decent burial - many Muslims interviewed by the Daily News said sending his remains to a watery grave was wrong.

"All Muslims as good believers are against terrorists but the way they got rid of his body ... is not the way," said Hamed Nabawy, owner of The Fertile Crescent grocery in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn's Arab hub along Atlantic Ave. "We do not burn it. We do not throw it in the water. We bury it in the ground," said Nabawy, 52.

Mohamed Zohny, 69, owner of Islamic Fashion on Atlantic Ave., agreed.

"[Bin Laden] was a very bad man. I do not like the things he did. I do not believe in the things he said. It is better that he is gone," he said, but he added, "The body belongs to God. We have to bury it."

Ibrahim Hooper, director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said the debate "centers on the nature of the individual himself than on the actual burial procedures."

"There's a part of human nature that says even a person who has done bad and evil things deserves a decent burial," he said.

Still, all things considered, he said he thought the administration "went out of its way" to respect the Muslim burial traditions.

Just hours after Bin Laden was killed in Pakistan on Sunday, his corpse was washed and wrapped in a white cloth, in accordance with Muslim traditions, and then pushed into the Arabian Sea, administration officials said. Officials said they feared that if he were buried, his grave would become a shrine to jihadists.

Brooklyn marketing consultant Ashraf Youseph said a burial 6 feet under would have been ideal but that the most important thing is that the terrorist mastermind is gone.

"He killed a lot of people," said Youseph, 52. "No matter what, he's guilty."

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