Azeem Ibrahim is a Fellow and Member of the Board of Directors at the Institute of Social Policy and Understanding and a former Research Scholar at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and World Fellow at Yale.
Bin Laden, who in his 1996 fatwa officially declared war on the United States and unofficially declared war on Islam and all Muslims who did not subscribe to his perverse beliefs, was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocents around the globe – the majority of them Muslims. Even President Obama in one of the most important speeches of his presidency confirmed:
"We must also reaffirm that the United States is not, and never will be, at war with Islam. I’ve made clear, just as President Bush did shortly after 9/11, that our war is not against Islam. Bin Laden was not a Muslim leader. He was a mass murderer of Muslims."
Bin Laden, who liked to dress in Muslim garb and spoke in eloquent Arabic, was not in any way qualified to issue fatwas and legal edicts but nevertheless encouraged the killing of ‘rejectionists’ (Shia Muslims) and bombing of Muslim shrines.
So what should the US have done with this body of a mass murderer of Muslims?
After the US announced that Bin Laden was buried at sea, some bloggers started to argue that his body should have been handed to the Saudi’s who could have given it an Islamic burial.
I believe that would have been a mistake.
Remember in 2008 when Al Qaeda inspired killers went on a rampage in Mumbai killing 166 civilians and security personal? Nine of the ten terrorists were eventually killed and one captured. The attackers all claimed to be acting in the name of Islam but the Muslim Council of India refused to bury them in the Muslim graveyard and Indian Imams declined to offer the prayer for the deceased.
According to a statement issues by the influential Muslim Jama Masjid Trust:
"People who committed this heinous crime cannot be called Muslim. Islam does not permit this sort of barbaric crime."
This position was not surprising. Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, India’s leading umbrella organizations for Islamic clerics endorsed a fatwa against terrorism in early November with more than 6,000 clerics signing the edict. This was followed by a similar edict issued in February by India’s top Islamic seminary, Darul Uloom Deoband.
The killers’ bodies therefore lay in a mortuary for three months (Islamic law requires burying of the dead within hours) and became badly decomposed. They were eventually buried in secret in an unknown location.
I believe Bin Laden should also have faced a similar fate. The man responsible for inspiring global terror and orchestrating the mindless bloodshed of innocents should not be afforded dignity in death when he so ruthlessly ignored the sanctity of life.
We should have buried him in the dirt and let his body rot just like his name that will inevitably fester in the annals of history as a criminal who hijacked a faith to legitimize his criminal and perverse ideology of hate.