People are reacting this morning to the death of Osama bin Laden. The Muslim Public Affairs Council's website this morning read "MPAC Greets Bin Laden's Death With A Sense Of Relief." Salam Al-Marayati, president of MPAC in Los Angeles, spoke with KPCC.
Why relief? "We've been dealing with the specter of terrorism for so long that the elimination of bin Laden represents a swift blow against terrorism," says Al-Marayati. "The Middle East, unfortunately, has been devastated by terrorist violence. We see people like bin Laden sitting on his empty throne of self-righteousness, sending young people to their deaths and killing civilians in our name."
Al-Marayati says bin Laden's death was a major blow against terrorism. "As we see democracy on the rise in the Middle East as well, I hope that this ushers a new era for the whole region and for U.S./Muslim world relations."
Al-Marayati says he sees bin Laden's death as a game changer. "It's a significant step. I don't think we've achieved victory against terrorism, but I think definitely it's a major blow against terrorism."
Southern California Muslims have been reacting to bin Laden’s death, discussing it and what it signifies for Southern California and the Muslim community. "We've been talking, and there's been Facebook chatting," says Al-Marayati. "Most people are relieved, like MPAC is, that we don't have to deal with bin Laden anymore. He's a major source of negative stereotyping about Islam and Muslims."
Al-Marayati says people complain a lot about the Muslim community's negative image. "It's a result of people like him, and of dictators, as well."
While U.S. policy in the Middle East is part of the conversation, Al-Marayati says, "The fact is, until we Muslims ourselves deal effectively with the issue of terrorism and dictatorship, and have a clear message on that, I don't think we can blame U.S. policy 100 percent on that issue."
Salam Al-Marayati is a member of the KPCC Regional Advisory Council.