Some of Usama bin Laden’s family members are speaking out that the United States violated international law when U.S. forces killed bin Laden on 01 May 2011 in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Omar bin Laden, one of Usama’s 19 children, is the most vocal stating that the United States violated its own premise of “innocent until proven guilty” and challenging that other prominent figures identified as enemies, such as late Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had his day in court. Why was an exception made of his father who was unarmed when discovered by U.S. forces?
Personally I believe bin Laden’s intent to harm and guilt were made clear in the many messages which he broadcast since 2001 taking credit for acts of terrorism and directing his followers to kill those who did not share his beliefs. In fact, bin Laden’s messages were clear that if fellow Muslims did not share the same beliefs they were also considered fair game! He fulfilled the requirements to be deemed an enemy combatant. I believe bin Laden would have never allowed himself to be taken alive by the “Great Infidel.” There is also the issue that if he had been taken alive it is likely further acts of terror and uprising would have ignited like the flames of the great Chicago fire. In spite of the death of Al Qaida’s mastermind, the world continues to face threats of terror.
Omar bin Laden further contests that the United States had no right to bury his father’s body at sea. The (bin Laden) family should have been given custody of the body. The disposition of bin Laden’s body at sea is a delicate issue. If bin Laden’s body had been buried in a Muslim cemetery anywhere in the world that location would likely have become both a shrine and a target. Yet on the other hand, was it ethically correct for the United States to conduct a ‘burial’ at sea of the body when there could have been a traditional Islamic burial?
While Usama was disowned by his family and stripped of his Saudi citizenship in 1994, the bin Laden family remains a well known and respected family in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi bin Laden Group, a global oil and equity management conglomerate, is also one of the largest construction firms operating in the GCC. There are members of the bin Laden family who continue to retain close ties with the Saudi ruling family and prominent American officials.
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