Sun-Times: Area Muslims express relief that bin Laden no longer alive

The United States’ killing of Osama bin Laden this week was received with joy by many area Muslims.

Some, however, feel that bin Laden’s death will do nothing to lessen terror threats.

Here are the views of some area Muslims:

Yaser Tabbara, a Chicago attorney who is a member of the board of directors of the Council on American Islamic Relations, and a member of Mecca, the Muslim Educational and Cultural Center of America in unincorporated Burr Ridge: “The news comes as a great relief for us as Muslims that such a bloody figure no longer exists.”

“We have to be vigilant that the death of bin Laden will not be the death of terrorism,” said Tabbara, also a member of the proposed mosque near Burr Ridge which was recently approved by the DuPage County Board.

“The relevance of bin Laden should be overshadowed by the wave of pro-democracy movements in the Middle East,” he added. “Bin Laden was already marginalized, I’m someone who goes to the Middle East quite a bit and I haven’t heard his name in a very long time.”

Dalia Hassaballa of Addison, who is an active member of the Al Azhar Foundation in Barrington:

“I don’t think (bin Laden’s death) will change what people think about Islam. I won’t change because of a death of an al-Qaeda leader. It’s a great achievement, but (now that) Osama bin Laden is gone, there’ll just be another one. I don’t think we can really celebrate until other extremist groups like al-Qaeda are wiped out.”

Ahmed Mohamed, of Des Plaines, an active member of his local mosque in Des Plaines and the Al Azhar Foundation, who is a wholesale printer and business services consultant:

“I think it’s phenomenal. For the longest time he’s been called a Muslim, but he’s far from it. Muslims aren’t for him. Muslims are for a peaceful way to do things. I think Al Qaeda is a moot point now.”

Mazen Asbahi, of La Grange, a board member of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago:

“This is closing a dark era of American history and a dark era in Islam. The fight against violent extremism will continue, but it is greatly diminished with his death.”

“(As for the alleged order to kill bin Laden rather than capture him), justice, in the end, was done and that is the source of our immense relief.”

Asam Mahmoud, a member of the Al Azhar Foundation:

“I thought to myself that he got to see the whole Arab revolution happen and that was at complete odds with his whole agenda. Peaceful, united, positive change for democracy made him completely insignificant. It showed he and his entire life’s work were disgusting and ineffective.

“I don’t think the West took Muslims seriously (when they talked peaceful change) after 9/11. But they did after the overthrow of dictators was done peacefully. This is what we believed all along.”

Eman Hassaballa Aly, a social worker in Elgin, active at the Al Azhar Foundation in Barrington:

“It would have been nice if they had found him alive so he could pay for his crimes. I think the survivors of 9/11 would have liked to have seen justice served … like Saddam Hussein.

“There’s still a lot of work to be done in combating terrorism and extremism.”

Ahmed Elsayed, a 30-something corporate security specialist for Stanley Black & Decker Inc. in Naperville and active at Al Azhar Foundation:

“I was disappointed. I wanted answers. I wanted him to be accountable for what he did.

“I haven’t heard of anyone (in the Muslim community) who isn’t happy he’s dead.”