TEXAS FAITH: Would you have sanctioned the death of Osama bin Laden?

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Bill McKenzie of Dallas Morning News asks and twelve Panelists respond, you can see the struggle in the responses, and many have take an approach similar to mine.  You are welcome to share your point of view at http://religionblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2011/05/texas-faith-would-you-have-san.html
Here is my take:

MIKE GHOUSE, President, Foundation for Pluralism, Dallas

No, I would not have sanctioned the death of Osama Bin Laden.

First of all, there was no need to have killed the man, when the Seals encountered Bin Laden they could have released gases or other elements to knock out and capture him alive. We need to hear more about it from the Navy Seals, if in fact they were in danger to have shot him twice in his head?

The right thing would have been to put him on the trial, just as we did with the Nuremberg, Saddam Hussein and other trials. We could have learned a lot more about his other secret plans that may still be attempted by his loyalists. The world would have witnessed that we care about the rule of law and reinforced it through a time honored process.

Secondly, it has set a bad precedent. Even though the end result benefits humanity, the means were not kosher. It has opened up the doors for others to replicate, thus we ‘may’ have lost the moral upper hand to stop others from extra judicial killings.
Thirdly, no religion permits one to kill the other. Torah and Quran and other holy books do not see any wisdom in killing the other without an imminent threat to one’s own life. Both the books say, to save a life is like saving the whole humanity and the corollary to that is to kill a human is like killing the whole humanity. What is the difference between somewhat pregnant and pregnant? Jesus condemned the sin and not the sinner.

I am glad his body was respectfully dropped in the sea instead of a ground burial. If the choice was given to Bin Laden, he would have preferred this over a ground burial which could have become a shrine to his followers, and that is not acceptable to a Wahhabi Muslim. The last rites were indeed handled appropriately and the Muslims appreciate that. God loves the one who forgives and lives in peace with himself.
Finally for the record, I stand opposed to assassinations, killings and death penalty. Unless it was in self defense, we are morally wrong in killing Bin Laden.

However, it feels good that he is not alive anymore. Mind you, that is different than cheering for his death which we should not do.

His end brings a sense of relief and closure to families who have lost nearly 3000 of their loved ones. Muslims have more to rejoice than others; they were not only victims of his terrorism like all of us, but were also subjects of harassment by several governments around the world, in the airports as well as employment and ordinary acts of life. The Sikh community also endured the grief out of mistaken identity. We pray that the Taliban mind set and the oppression of women in Afghanistan also comes to an end.

It is one of the best news items Muslims have had in a decade; it brings a sense of relief and hopefully restores the relationship between Muslim and Non-Muslims in building a cohesive America. Thank God, an evil era has come to an end with the death of this man.

Mike Ghouse is an interfaith Speaker, thinker, futurist, writer, organizer and an activist committed to building cohesive societies with a firm belief that the purpose of religion is to bring harmony to an individual within and create a balance with what surrounds; life and matter. If we can learn to respect and accept every which way people have come to worship the creator, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge. He offers pluralistic solutions to media and to the public on complex issues of the day and is available to speak in a variety of settings such as schools, seminars, conferences, and places of worship, or the work place. His work is indexed at http://www.mikeghouse.net/

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