AAP staff report
Washington, D.C. (May 1, 2011) – President Barack Obama on Monday reported to the American people and to the world that he had approved a plan organized by the United States Navy to conduct a operation into a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, where it was suspected that the terrorist leader Osama bin Laden was residing.
A small team of American sailors, members of “Seal Team Six” carried out operation that resulted in locating and assassinating bin Laden and other enemy fighters without taking on any casualties of their own.
Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda, claimed responsibility for the attacks on New York and Washington on September 11, 2001, and subsequent attack that followed in Europe, Asia and the Middle East that resulted in the deaths and injuries of thousands of innocent men, women, and children. His body was reportedly taken to a military airbase before the decision was made to bury it at sea.
Obama said the work to locate bin Laden, who has evaded capture for the decade since 9/11, took a turn for the better in August 2010, when the U.S. intelligence community gathered enough evidence to allow an executive decision on authorize action within Pakistan.
“For over two decades, bin Laden has been al Qaeda’s leader and symbol, and has continued to plot attacks against our country and our friends and allies,” said Obama. “The death of bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat al Qaeda.
“Yet his death does not mark the end of our effort,” he added. “There’s no doubt that al Qaeda will continue to pursue attacks against us. We must – and we will – remain vigilant at home and abroad.
U.S. Congresswoman Betty McCollum (MN-4th) said the death of bin Laden is the most significant blow to al Qaeda in the nearly ten years since the terrorist attacks on 9/11. She called his death a “just end to a mass murderer who targeted innocents and destroyed so many lives.”
She went on to note that this is a time to reflect on common ties and unity but added there is more work ahead to keep the nation safe from the terrorist legacy of bin Laden.
U.S. Congressman Keith Ellison (MN-5th) commended the work of the U.S. Armed Forces and intelligence community for finding the world’s most wanted terrorist. He also recognized President Obama for decisive leadership as Commander in Chief.
“Today my thoughts are with the families of those Bin Laden murdered in the September 11th terrorist attacks,” said Ellison. “Even before 9/11, Bin Laden killed Americans and others at the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and on the USS Cole.
“Americans of all faiths recognized the end of a truly evil man last night,” he added. “Osama Bin Laden was a murderer. I hope his death marks the beginning of the end of the Al-Qaedaism ideology.”
Minneapolis-based Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, welcomed the elimination of bin Laden as “the removal of a threat to America and the world through the actions of American military personnel.”
CAIR-MN stated that it remains focused on its mission to distinguish the actions of extremists such as bin Laden as not representing Muslims or Islam – demonstrated by the senseless deaths of countless Muslims worldwide through terrorist acts.
Remarks around the United States from various groups commend the momentous day and offer reflection on related concerns – hoping that it will be a turning point in many ways.
Washington-based Muslim American Society welcomed the news of the death of Osama bin Laden with hope that it would serve to reduce radical extremism in the world.
Ahmad El Bendary, President, MAS, said that for the past ten years, Americans, Muslims and Non-Muslims alike, have experienced the shared suffering both individually and collectively from the premeditated violence initiated by bin Laden.
“His crimes were against all humanity,” said El Bendary. “It is correct and fair that Bin Laden should be held accountable for his crimes and we hold the opinion that justice has been done.”
He added that MAS appreciates President Obama’s reaffirmation that “the United States is not – and never will be – at war with Islam. “We concur with the president that his demise should be welcomed by all who believe in peace and human dignity.”
U.S. Congressman David Wu (OR-1st) said that bin Laden’s death marks an historic moment of justice for the victims of 9/11, and a time to show great pride in the men and women of the U.S. military and intelligence community.
“All Americans give thanks for the brave service of those fighting abroad, and we look ahead to the difficult work of bringing our troops home,” said Wu. “The cost of the war in Afghanistan has been great, but we remain committed to pursuing those who would use violence against civilians to foster hate and oppression. I will continue working to protect our citizens while promoting the values of liberty, justice, and equality that define us as Americans.”
Hassan Jaber, executive director of the Dearborn, Michigan-based, Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services, said bin Laden has defined the country, both at home and abroad, for the past decade.
“The death of Osama bin Laden thankfully closes out this long winter of political upheaval, social turmoil and economic disparity – so much of it precipitated by 9/11,” said Jaber. “We commend the Obama Administration and the U.S. security and intelligence agencies for their work in bringing this painful chapter to a decisive close, and in doing so, helping the families of the 9/11 victims and those of the first responders who also suffered and died, to find closure.”
Jaben went on to express his concern that the United States not allow bin Laden’s legacy to live on by continuing to divide Americans. Extremism of any type, he added, demands ongoing vigilance and attention as a nation.
“At ACCESS, we believe the best way to counteract it is to put our shoulders to the work of healing from within to build our strength as a nation – to stand together rather than separate,” said Jaben. “We can start this process first by learning to accept one another for all our differences, for the vibrancy which makes us stronger. This is the first step in helping to heal the rifts in our fragile economy and the paralysis of our tattered political system, to demand governance that supports the well-being of all Americans and stands as a model of democracy to the rest of the world.”
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that the death of the mastermind behind some of the world’s most notorious terrorist attacks, represents a “watershed moment” in the fight against the scourge of terrorism. He called it “a day to remember the victims and families of victims, here in the United States and everywhere in the world.”
In a statement he voiced relief at the news and commended “the work and the determined and principled commitment of many people in the world who have been struggling to eradicate international terrorism.”
The Secretary-General stressed that the UN would continue to lead the global campaign against terrorism, drawing from the counter-terrorism strategy adopted by the General Assembly.
His remarks were echoed by General Assembly President Joseph Deiss, who said that the UN’s fight against terrorism is “undertaken in the name of all victims. Terrorists must know that there will be no impunity for their barbaric and cowardly deeds.”
Ambassador Gérard Araud of France, which holds the rotating Security Council presidency this month, read out a presidential statement in which the 15-member panel welcomed the news that Mr. bin Laden “will never again be able to perpetrate such acts of terrorism.”
The statement urged all countries to remain vigilant and intensify their efforts to defeat terrorism, including by working together to bring to justice the perpetrators, organizers and sponsors of terrorist attacks.
“The Security Council stresses… that terrorism will not be defeated by military force, law enforcement measures and intelligence operations alone, and can only be defeated by a sustained and comprehensive approach involving the active participation and collaboration of all States, and relevant international and regional organizations and civil society to address the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism and to impede, impair, isolate and incapacitate the terrorist threat.”
Yury Fedotov, the Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, noted that the huge number of lives lost around the world as a result of the activities of Al-Qaida.
Welcoming last night’s news, he stressed that nevertheless “there remains significant work in addressing terrorism, including tackling conditions that lead to or facilitate terrorism and building the legal basis needed to work against this threat to human security in a humane and effective manner.”