Muslims and Pakistan experts in Hawaii react to bin Laden's death

Shabbir Cheema, Ph.D.
Shabbir Cheema, Ph.D.
Saleem Ahmed, Ph.D.
Saleem Ahmed, Ph.D.
Hakim Ouansafi
Hakim Ouansafi

By Tim Sakahara - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Muslims in Hawaii are expressing a great sense of relief now that Osama bin Laden has been killed and they hope this changes American perceptions toward them.

While the overall reaction to Osama bin Laden's death is positive, local experts say don't expect that to be the end of terrorism.

In addition to working at the United Nations two decades Dr. Shabbir Cheema was born in Pakistan, has written 12 books and returns to Pakistan this week for a workshop on civil society and Parliament.  He says bin Laden's death is a defining moment in the war against terrorism.

"I think it's great news for the whole world, for the United States and particularly for the Americans that lost loved ones during 9/11," said Shabbir Cheema, Ph.D., East West Center.

He also says al Qaeda also replaces leaders quickly sometimes with younger more violent extremists.

"While his death is very good news and it will definitely weaken al Qaeda at the same time it's not the end of al Qaeda," said Cheema.

"Like most people I was relieved.  He was a stain on Islam from my perspective," said Saleem Ahmed, Ph.D., author.

Ahmed is also relieved by bin Laden's death.  He was raised in Pakistan and authored the book Islam: A Religion of Peace? He agrees al Qaeda will regroup.

"Yesterday's newspaper in Karachi reported that more than 1,000 of his followers of the extremist Muslim party protested in Qatar and said death to America, etc, etc," said Ahmed.

"Our fight continues. There will always be evil whether from the bin Laden's of the world or the Timothy McVeigh's of the world and the fight continues, but it is a huge blow and the closure of a chapter," said Hakim Ouansafi, Muslim Association of Hawaii, Board Chairman. "This is a joint fight between all faith, all people that stand for peace and liberty and justice."

Ouansafi says the 4,000 Muslims in the state have an overwhelming sense of relief.  While the 10 years since 9/11 have been rough they hope the end of bin Laden also ends the racism and bigotry toward Muslims.

"We are cautiously hopeful that with the closing of the bin Laden chapter that the bigotry and discrimination chapter can also be closed," said Ouansafi.

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