Not everyone is celebrating Osama Bin Laden’s demise
Osama bin Laden isn’t dead. For all we know he’s lying low in Vegas, possibly with Elvis, or living at Ronald Biggs’ old place in Rio.
Even if they produced images of bin Laden’s body, there is every chance the photographs could have been doctored.
And even if they produced the body itself, there’s no way of being 100 per cent sure that it’s actually his corpse anyway.
So goes the screwy logic of the Osama conspiracy theorists, that sizeable number of nuts who proliferate on the internet and refuse to believe The Great Lie about his assassination this week.
Many of these people belong to the “controlled detonation” camp, positing that September 11 was not an act of Islamic terror but a carefully-executed plot by the US military-industrial complex to justify war in the Middle East.
These people hail from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds. In the United States one of the most rabid advocates of the Osama conspiracy is an arch right-wing radio host who also believes President Obama might be the Anti-Christ.
Some of them are also Muslims, such as former Camp X–Ray resident Mamdouh Habib, who popped up in western Sydney this week telling Dave Speers on Sky News that he knew for a fact that Osama bin Laden was still alive.
People have every right to believe that Osama is alive, that man didn’t walk on the moon or whatever nonsense they like.
But one of the more unnerving features of this week’s events is that they flushed out some members of our own community who, quite clearly, have a highly questionable commitment to the country they’ve chosen to inhabit.
They’re not denying that Osama is dead – they’re just devastated about it. I’m talking here about that minority of Muslim leaders and organisations who believe bin Laden is a martyred hero.
There were some who went well beyond lamenting the use of violence against bin Laden, or warning that new extremists will simply fill his shoes, both of which are completely valid positions.
Instead they sounded like they had been cheering bin Laden on, applauding his efforts as the valid crusade of a freedom fighter, mourning the loss of a great man and spiritual leader.
The Australian arm of the hardline Muslim group Hizb-Ut Tahir issued a statement this week denouncing bin Laden’s death. The press release was headed “The real terrorists claim a false victory in continuing to veil the real issues”.
It was issued “in the name of Allah the Gracious The Merciful” but sadly failed to include a contact number for the popular deity. That job fell to Hizb-Ut Tahir spokesman Uthman Badar, a young bloke with a pretty grim view of the world.
“The reality is that Osama bin Ladin was fighting in resistance to Western aggression against, and subjugation of, the Muslim World,” Badar wrote.
“All Muslims are against these manifestations of Western imperialism; Osama bin Ladin was just one expression of the Muslim resistance to these.
“Islam does not condone the targeting of innocent people, whether in New York and Bali, or Baghdad and Kabul. At the same time it affords everyone the right, indeed the obligation, to resist unjust aggression, regardless of perpetrator.”
Just how the events of September 11 could be shoe-horned into the category of “resisting unjust aggression” is anyone’s guess, unless you regard flying planes into office workers, lift attendants and janitors as a valid pre-emptive strike against the west.
Still, Uthman Badar was reasonably moderate in his praise for bin Laden in the press release. He saved the gushing stuff for his Facebook page, where he refers to OBL as “one of the great mujahids of the modern age – may Allah have mercy on his soul”, and says that his involvement in 9-11 was “unsubstantiated” (funny that, given Osama was on tape a few days after the atrocity claiming full responsibility).
The best line comes where one of Uthman Badar’s more moderate friends suggest on his Facebook site that 9-11 may have been a tad excessive, to which Badar responds “A man cannot be judged on once incident. We all make mistakes.”
Calling September 11 a mistake is like a calling World War Two a misunderstanding.
There have been calls for Hizb-Ut Tahir to be declared a banned terrorist organisation in Australia, along with groups such as Hamas, Hezbollah, Jemaah Islamiyah.
In a way it’s kind of handy having someone as nutty as Uthman Badar out there in the public domain, rather than forcing him underground, as it at least gives the authorities an opportunity to monitor his ravings and those of his colleagues.
I’m sure the irony is completely lost on him too, as he benefits from our freedom of speech and our tolerance of different opinions, allowing him to barrack for a guy who would cheerfully slaughter anyone who did not believe in Allah.
Until he was assassinated, that is. If you believe that kind of thing.
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