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New York Muslims react to death of Osama bin Laden

Muslims express joy at the death of bin Laden, but also fear of retaliation.

New York Muslims interviewed by Metro this morning are celebrating at the news of Osama bin Laden’s death.

“It’s a relief,” said Sheikh Shamsi Ali, imam of the well-known 96th Street mosque and Islamic cultural center. “For us, really bin Laden has been viewed as a cancer within our Muslim community.”

“Finally we will get some closure, and the families would somehow start to fill that void in their hearts,” said Hesham El-Meligy, a Staten Island Muslim and interfaith leader.

Talat Hamdani, a Long Island resident, lost her son in the 9/11 attacks. Salman Mohammed Hamdani was an NYPD cadet lived in Bayside, Queens. Even though he wasn’t called to, he raced into the twin towers that fateful day and died trying to save lives. His remains were not found until six months later.

Both Talat and her son are Muslim Pakistani immigrants.

“My son called me to say they had taken him out at 11:15 last night,” said Hamdani of learning of bin Laden’s death. “I was numb. I didn’t know how to react.

“It was not happiness, it was relief, because the hunt was on for him in the past ten years since 9/11 happened and this brings closure a hunt for this evil person who killed so many Americans.”

She called bin Laden’s death “a turning point in history towards peace and justice and reconciliation. President Obama said we are not at war with Islam and we need to reunite once again as a nation.”

But Hamdani said she is also concerned about the possibility of backlash against bin Laden’s death is some parts of the Muslim and Arab world.

“If we continue to show how the nation is celebrating of course what do we expect?” she said when asked about the possibility of an attack. “I know people are celebrating an evil person has been taken out. But don’t forget we have our troops out there and to show jubilation … there are crazy people all around the world. And someone might get destabilized and take things into his or her own hands.”

‘The media needs to be careful what they broadcast,” she warned. “Nothing justifies the killing of anybody – yes he deserved it. But for sure we have our troops on the line over there.”

But today, justice has been served for Salman.

“So many innocent people died in the war against terrorism,” said Hamdani. “For me, it’s over. I do not want to live in the past. Justice was done.”

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