SANTA CLARA (CBS SF) — A Bay Area Muslim rights advocate said Monday that she hoped al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden’s death marked a turning point in the war on terror.
Zahra Billoo, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Bay Area chapter in Santa Clara, said she was cautiously optimistic about the implications of bin Laden’s killing.
“We’re grateful. But it’s a somber grateful,” Billoo said.
“This is someone who perpetuated so much violence, both against Americans and people of other faiths, so it’s definitely a grateful moment,” she said.
Billoo said she appreciated President Barack Obama’s remarks during his speech Sunday night in which he clarified that bin Laden was not a Muslim leader.
She said that would help prevent certain people from using the opportunity to perpetuate hate.
There haven’t been any reports of hate crimes in the Bay Area, but there was an incident in Portland, Maine, in which a mosque was vandalized after bin Laden’s death was announced.
In the Middle East, some Muslim clerics said bin Laden’s burial at sea violated Islamic tradition and could provoke revenge attacks, but authorities have had heard no such threats or unrest within the local community.
A sea burial is not in the Muslim tradition, unless someone was traveling at sea at the time of death. While some Muslims will be skeptical about the decision, U.S. officials suggested it was a pragmatic way to prevent the terrorist’s followers from turning his resting place into a shrine.
(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. Wire services may have contributed to this report.)