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Bin Laden's theology a radical break with traditional Islam
May 4th, 2011
03:00 AM ET

Bin Laden's theology a radical break with traditional Islam

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) - Osama bin Laden wore the mantle of a religious leader. He looked the part and talked a good game, but his theology was a radical departure from traditional orthodox Islam.

The pitch to join al Qaeda did not start with an invitation to put on a suicide vest but, like other religious splinter groups and cults, took advantage of disenfranchisement and poverty.

Bin Laden had no official religious training but developed his own theology of Islam.

"We don't know that (bin Laden) was ever exposed to orthodox Islamic teachings," said Ebrahim Moosa, a professor of religion and Islamic studies at Duke University.

The writing of ideologues in the Muslim Brotherhood influenced bin Laden heavily, Moosa said.

"He takes scriptural imperatives at their face value and believes this is the only instruction and command God has given him - unmediated by history, unmediated by understanding, unmediated by human experience. Now that's a difference between Muslim orthodoxy and what I would call uber- or hyperscripturalists," Moosa said.

The vast majority of Islamic scholars and imams say the teaching of the Prophet Mohammed happened in historical context that needs to be understood when reading and interpreting the Quran.

"If the likes of bin Laden, if they had spent one day or maybe one month possibly, in a madrassa (Muslim religious school) and understood how the canonical tradition is interpreted, they would not go onto this kind of destructive path they go on," Moosa said.

In the entire leadership structure of al Qaeda, "no one has had any sort of formal religious training from any seminary," said Aftab Malik, a global expert on Muslim affairs at the United Nations Alliance of Civilization. He is researching a Ph.D. on al Qaeda.

"What you had was an engineer and a doctor leading a global jihad against the whole world," Malik said. "That would never happen in normative Islam. It's just such an aberration."

John Esposito, a professor of religion and international affairs at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, said bin Laden "appropriates Islam ... to legitimate and mobilize people."

"If you look at bin Laden's early statements and arguments, his interview with Peter Bergen on CNN ... lots of people would see it as something that would go down very well not just with many Muslims but among many analysts when he talks about longstanding political grievances," Esposito said.

"What bin Laden ends up doing is saying anyone who disagrees with him, any Muslim, is in fact an apostate," he said. That includes Muslims who would not join his fight, he said. "It's a distortion of the traditional teaching, and it just extends the parameters and the consequences in order to legitimate how when you're fighting on the ground you're fighting against your own people."

Malik said, "The key issue is of apostasy," referring to when a person leaves a faith. "One of the things Osama bin Laden deviates from is calling those people who do not implement Sharia, or God's law, on the planet as apostates. If they did not implement Sharia, they deserved death. This is a major departure from normative Islam."

"The second major deviation is the targeting of noncombatants. Even when you read in the Quran there are injunctions for fighting. But before and after the injunctions for fighting are calls for restraint. 'Do not attack monks, do not attack women, do not attack children.' And these are numerated heavily in the Hadith, which are uncontested," Malik said, referring to the sayings of the prophet and his close companions.

"What bin Laden has done is ignored those injunctions," he said. "The reason he has ignored them, in Osama bin Laden's theology it's basically a theology of anarchy.

"Once you let the genie out of the bottle you can't put it back in, and that's the big difference between al Qaeda theology and normative Islam. Normative Islam has heavy constraints - very, very heavy."

Bin Laden's theology is waning greatly in influence, Esposito said, in part because of the rise of the Arab Spring, the revolts of people on the street across the Middle East that have overthrown regimes in Tunisia and Egypt.

"(Al Qaeda's) whole notion was to develop a mass movement," Esposito said. "Well, they never did."

Flashback: Read CNN's Chief International Correspondent Nic Robertson's report on a Libyan group that denounced bin Laden ideology

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- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 9/11 • Egypt • Islam • Islamic law • Leaders • Middle East • Osama bin Laden • Quran • Sharia • Terrorism • Violence

soundoff (671 Responses)
  1. Paul

    The article was typically distressing as the Muslim academics gave the apologetic for the increasing radicalization of young muslims. The testimonial of Daveed Gartenstein-Ross helps explain how the highly educated Muslim becomes radicalized by studying. The madrassahs in Afganistan and elsewhere around the world are encouraging the ascendency of Islam and Muhammad specified that the way to ensure the spread of his religion was by force. Those of us who have read the Quran and Hadith and Sunna and have heard the news reports of Christians who have been tortured and executed with the tacit or active permission of government officials for simply answering a question honestly, know that the Scripture of two of the major religions is dead-on accurate when it says 'the heart of man is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.' If Islam would acknowledge that their 'missionary methods' were of an evil nature, some of us would breathe a bit easier.

    May 6, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
  2. john

    osama bin ladin orchestrated the deaths of 3000 americans. an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth: that saying means the appropriateness of the response. if you live by the sword, you will die by the sword. the israelilies in the old testament went and dealt with their enemies. they didn't sit around thinking about how unfortunate that osama bin ladin was unarmed when he was killed. one more thing: when people of the muslim faith come to my door and give me a pamphlet promoting islam as a religion of love and peace, I want to know what brand of islam al queida is practising. it's one thing to say something, but the dossier/resume/curriculum vitae says quite something else. as the saying on police cars where I live say, 'deeds speak'

    May 6, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
  3. Gerry

    OBL got what he deserved and he knew that we would eventually get him. But, his resume seems to be as follows: caused the death of over 3000 on 9/11; destroyed the symbolic WTC; caused a 'mini-recession in late 2001 and 2002; caused financial calamity as the country knee-jerked out of that mini recession via housing and military spending (and, yes the housing bubble was a by-product of 'stimulus' to come out of the 9/11 recession AND all of it had opportunity costs attached); the Patriot Act; near total destruction of international moral standing/credibility; millions of american lives destroyed via financial collapse; caused the 'watch your neighbor' campaign; caused death and injury to countless US servicemen/women; stretched the US military beyond recognition; mobilized millions of extremists worldwide . . . somebody please tell me that I just made all that up. Please!

    May 6, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
  4. pakmamin

    The news about the death of Osama bin Laden is much less important than the popular uprisings moving on in the Arab world.

    Bin Ladens death is not immensely relevant considering the huge revolution in the Arab world that was probably kindled by Osama’s raw courage in spite of weak resources and hostile world opinion.

    If the Arab masses think that a Osama the big “terrorist” contributed massively to Arab regime change, then Osama had achieved something. The wrong way or right way, is for historians to judge. How was Omar Mokthar the Libyan freedom fighter and martyr judged by Italian historians and the Arab historians? Did they use the same yard stick? But the Arab streets seem to say thank you to Bin Laden for feeding a flame that has all the potential to rage into an out-of-control blaze.
    Bin Laden always wanted to get rid of Mubarek and Ben Ali and Gaddafi and so on claiming that they were all “infidels” working for America.

    We have to remember that these oppressive regimes have always been telling the Americans to keep on supporting them because they kept saying, if you don't, Al Qaeda will take over . Did Al Qaeda take over Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Syria, Algeria, Morocco, Jordan and so on or is it going to take over?

    What and who helped them to take over is going to be an interesting part of historians’ future investigation and research.

    Celebrations in the United States over Bin Laden's death are less meaningful compared to the celebrations of the Arab masses on the successful people’s revolutions partly fuelled by the lunatic fringe called Al-Qaeda.

    If the U.S. had killed Bin Laden a year or two after 9/11 the celebrations that are going on in the United States might have been more relevant.

    The struggle against terrorism will not be won through killing, no matter how many people we assassinate. You don't fight malaria by seeking to kill every mosquito on the planet, but rather by draining the swamps ( Please address the root cause, look at for instance, the sufferings of Palestinians:the dispossessed,deprived of their birthright and denied basic human rights and freedoms,)

    The pious Christians also believe that if we could accomplish God's justice by killing people, Jesus would not have come to die, but to kill. But that's not how God's justice works but does the Neocons justice work the same way?

    May 6, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
  5. Muneef

    Rogue.

    Ease with your comments about Islam ,Quran and Muslims....we always thought that people with out faith or a holy book are the ones with twisted minds or into madness.... Don't attempt to acc-use all Muslims for few ones acts.
    You see now that this case is similar to the killing one of the Hamas leaders in Dxb by Israel.
    Should point out that by such acts teaches the masses and the few to change their strategy into a similar killings of individuals in similar ways ? 
    Should expect signs to show in the near future... But now if the MidEast countries do not settle down into peaceful living from their present troubles...sadly I expect that west will be facing many copiers  of the late, attacking all western interests in the west or abroad....

    freedom of speech and human rights ?!

    So it is that you either you write what they would like to hear,read otherwise if you are not a hypocrite as should then better watch it out to what you say if you had any believe of such human rights and freedoms!

    With out you know it, helicopters or thugs landing on your roof top or at your house back yard shooting you dead then throw you in a bag off a helicopter into the Sea with out being heard...!? Any wise family men should be stopping any writing on blogs or just keep your feelings and views for your self to be safe....!! 

    May 6, 2011 at 11:59 am |
  6. MrEee

    "The second major deviation is the targeting of noncombatants. Even when you read in the Quran there are injunctions for fighting. But before and after the injunctions for fighting are calls for restraint. 'Do not attack monks, do not attack women, do not attack children.' And these are numerated heavily in the Hadith, which are uncontested," Malik said, referring to the sayings of the prophet and his close companions.

    No, not really. It does call for killing, but rarely (if ever) is that preceded and followed by a call to restrain the violence. Usually it calls for killing and is followed by the comment that the unbelievers will burn and suffer, Praise Allah, and that the righteous who die for this cause will be rewarded.

    May 6, 2011 at 9:41 am |
  7. Muneef

    Don't attempt to acc-use all Muslims for few ones acts.
    You see now that this case is similar to the killing one of the Hamas leaders in Dxb by Israel.
    Should point out that by such acts teaches the masses and the few to change their strategy into a similar killings of individuals in similar ways ? 
    Should expect signs to show in the near future... But now if the MidEast countries do not settle down into peaceful living from their present troubles...sadly I expect that west will be facing many copiers  of the late, attacking all western interests in the west or abroad....

    May 6, 2011 at 8:52 am |
  8. MARSHALLEARP

    MORE LIES...

    THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS... HE WAS JUST DOING WHAT THE FOUNDER OF ISLAM (MOHAMMED) DID.

    IF YOU HONESTLY GO AND DO YOUR RESEARCH... YOU WILL FIND MOST OF THE MIDDLE EAST WAS CHRISTIAN, TIL THE 700'S WHEN MOHAMMED AND HIS BAND WENT AROUND TERRORIZING THE VILLAGES AND EITHER FORCING THEM TO BECOME MUSLIM AND PROFESSING ALLEGIANCE ALLAH OR KILLING THEM.

    I REALLY WISH PEOPLE COULD GET THEIR FACTS STRAIGHT, AND THE MEDIA WOULD STOP LYING TO THE AMERICAN POPULATION.

    MARSHALL

    May 6, 2011 at 5:50 am |
    • ICHI

      Maybe the simplest post i have ever read, but i appreciate it because you are 100percent correct. I wish others stopped saying so much, and just looked at the facts. GREAT POST

      May 6, 2011 at 9:34 am |
  9. Captain America

    When dealing with humans, we should be civilized. When dealing with monsters (Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Osama Bin Laden) who kill massive amount of humans, their end justify the means.

    May 6, 2011 at 3:55 am |
  10. V A Krishnan

    There are hundreds of them more alive and Pak is hiding them from the US armed forces. So it is a continuous process and given the efficiency of Seals, they may be killing more Ladens inside the Pak. So rest your celebrations for the end of it; this is just a beginning... PS: Obama should continue to fund Pak to help his political fraternity survive US economy disaster. Poor, Americans (I mean, non-political commoners) are busy counting Laden numbers....mmm.

    May 6, 2011 at 3:28 am |
  11. Jennifer

    Most Muslims do not regard Bin Laden as Muslim. His radial action is not obeyed with Islam. His followers tended to me very poor Muslims struggling in life. – The man was evil.

    May 6, 2011 at 12:27 am |
  12. mat

    Once again, the naive talk of the Quran in historical context. Historically speaking Muhammed was merciless to his enemies...and to those whom he perceived as enemies.

    For example, :When he [Muhammad] asked him about the rest he refused to produce it, so the apostle gave orders to al-Zubayr bin al-Awwam, “Torture him until you extract what he has.” So he kindled a fire with flint and steel on his chest until he was nearly dead. Then the apostle delivered him to Muhammad bin Maslama and he struck off his head.”

    That's just one example...yep, sure is a skillful way of dealing with people. Civilized too.

    May 5, 2011 at 9:39 pm |
  13. Darth Okier Lexor

    when it comes down to it...religion is to blame! religion is like a poison that kills a disease if it is used with care and caution, but like a poison it has the potential to destroy and corrode the body and mind! islam, judaism, christianity, Buddhism, hinduism, Taoism....all are religions that at some point have been used as poison to entice hatred against others! Bin laden was a man that used islam to inspire a generation of hate and senseless death, by all means osama was a criminal, his death although not justified was necessary for the safety of all mankind..man like him have the potential to do so much harm!!!! and death is the only answer to them....evil man deserve death !!! so those who say that his death was not justified nor
    ....i say to you what if it had been your brother, mother, son, wife that had burned alive atop the world trade center,,then what would you have done

    May 5, 2011 at 9:25 pm |
  14. Darth Okier Lexor

    when it comes down to it...religion is to blame! religion is like a poison that kills a disease if it is used with care and caution, but like a poison it has the potential to destroy and corrode the body and mind! islam, judaism, christianity, Buddhism, hinduism, Taoism....all are religions that at some point have been used as poison to entice hatred against others! Bin laden was a man that used islam to inspire a generation of hate and senseless death, by all means osama was a criminal, his death although not justified was necessary for the safety of all mankind..man like him have the potential to do so much harm!!!! and death is the only answer to them....evil man deserve death !!! so those who say that his death was not justified nor
    ....i say to you what if it had been your brother, mother, son, wife that had burned alive atop the world trade center,,then what would you have done!

    May 5, 2011 at 9:24 pm |
    • Jake

      I think you should so some research, Buddishm and taoism don't inspire hate in any fashion, they are focused on peace and enlightenment, And focus more on a way of life then deity worshipping. How can you say Buddhism has been used to inspire hatred and violence to others when non-violence and peace are at the core of Buddhism?

      May 6, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
  15. thespiritguy

    There used to be another organization which took a religion hostage, called it their own, and went about terrorizing those who didn't fit into their interpretations, it was called the KKK. They burned crosses to show their pious obedience to Christianity. I look at radical Islamists in the same light or darkness, whatever the case may be. The facts are, there will always be radicals in any religion or philosophy. That doesn't mean they represent the true meaning of these beliefs and ideologies. The vast majority of Muslims and Christians want only peace and the right to practice their beliefs without prejudice or persecution.

    May 5, 2011 at 8:09 pm |
  16. Muneef

    Understand your feelings of grief just as you supposed to understand the same for all innocents that suffer due the same old game that has been played for many years now by the war lords at all ends..

    Assure you that Islam did not attack you but rather a certain group or groups that have chosen to use the name of Islam in their plots...for a far reason exceeding our short sights of their intentions... What has Islam gained since this event was pulled? How many Arabs and Muslims had to pay life and blood since then? How many countries invaded since then?

    Before events America never stood beside Islam when Muslims were being killed Globally but rather stood by their killers side....how about Israelies vs Palestinians...? Maybe that only made some Arabian and Islamic cheer the event with out true understanding but rather in their mind that the tyrant got hurt in his Ego rather than any thing else... But never they did know that the same country who calls for freedom and human rights for the good of all beings to become a beast who did all that is against he was calling for just because some group was using a population as a human shield?!

    Well killing a man with out being taken and heard at court before he is condemned to death, but such act could easily make of the man a martyr that was unjustly treated and killed with out the slightest human rights.
    Wonder what secrets he had or what was the truth he was holding back that has driven his relation with America to such disputes ??
     Must have been some thing that is not supposed to be heard otherwise why he was shut out and thrown out to sea...as a man that never existed...!?

    We as Muslims would have been happier to see him in court and to question him as why he had done all his crimes in the name of Islam? and whether he felt happy now that Islam is mistreated this way after his or followers acts...!? But seems the still waters run deeper than we thought...!

    Another thing that make me wonder is that why would a man who had inherited alone more than few Hundreds of Millions of U.S Dollars and shares in Multimillion family businesses....why would he leave all that back and go to live by the sword running hiding in the mountains chased by the world and to die waste in the end?? Would have understood if had nothing but with all that he had why chose this hard short life over riches ?? That is a secret I would want to know! 

    May 5, 2011 at 6:49 pm |
    • Muneef

      Just wonder who have given him the authority to represent Islam and Muslims and to declare war against to west on it's behalf? Was it the same source that gave him the authority in the name of Islam to fight and drive the Russians out of Afghanistan?  

      May 5, 2011 at 10:01 pm |
  17. Alishaqi Alhashimi

    Islam is innocent from these academics whom what they know and teach is a human tampered with philosophy of Islam. I believe the problem between America and the west and the Muslims is that America and the west want to impose their belief on the Muslims in their countries.. That is the core of the problem. It's not Osama bin Laden (may the Mercy of Allah be upon him) and it is not the Al Qaida. It is the policies of the west that is determined to change the Muslims so that they become like them. But Muslims cannot and will not submit to anyone ever but Allah. President Obama made a very good speech in the beginning of presidency in regards to Islam and Muslims but we still have to see the application of that speech. Just the wars that America is involved either with its troops like Iraq, Afghanistan, annd Libya or by payiing others like Somalia. It's time that US and the west leave the Muslims alone so that they follow their Lord and could practice their religion freely.

    May 5, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
    • lj

      you're mislead alishaqi. america is NOT trying to force thier beliefs on anyone. clearly, the middle east is just AS racist as what you're implying we americans are.

      so, just to set the record striaght, you're saying that it was ok for al-queda to repeatedly bomb the US (before we invaved) and make threats? i believe that everyone's God (Allah, Yaweh, Jesus, etc...) preaches peace. just as y'all have the right to practice your faith freely, we have the right to do what we believe, freely –> without getting bombed for what we believe, or just because we are americans.

      think about what you're saying before you say it.

      May 6, 2011 at 10:44 am |
  18. Alientech

    This is couple academics telling us bin Laden got Islam wrong. I want to hear this from the imams in the Muslim world, not some academics in the West.

    May 5, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
    • paperjihad

      Try looking up the opinions of Sheikh Hamza Yusuf, Imam Zaid Shakir, Sheikh Faraz Rabbani, Sheikh Nuh Keller, Sheikh Gibril Haddad, or Sheikh Adbal-Hakim Murad. All of them are traditional Sunni Muslim scholars and have spoken a great deal on this topic of terrorism.

      May 6, 2011 at 12:23 am |
    • fromArabia

      the reality is, Islam spread in the beginning by violent means (they didn't get across N. Africa and into Spain with the armies acting in purely "defensive" posture). They relied on the very same Quranic injunctions that Bin Laden and others have taken at face value. Esposito, who receives "support" from Islamic groups/nations, for putting such uncritically positive face on the religion of Islam, is far from unbiased scholar. Nothing wrong with recognizing the good, but to never criticize the outrageous material in the Quran and far more accepted Hadith, amounts to bearing false witness. The "Islam is a religion of peace" mantra is undoubtedly the biggest falsehood ever propagated in the name of truth.

      May 6, 2011 at 1:50 am |
  19. disappointed

    what i can see from reading most of your posts is that none of you have learned anything significant from your various religions.
    you all are a reflection of what is wrong in the world today. none of the great religions of the world preach hate, violence, abuse, etc. they all preach peace, contentment, love for your neighbour. go back and read what you all have written, you have done exactly the opposite of what you supposedly believe in. So what if jane believes in the writings of the Bible, who cares if Sam follows the writings of the Qu'ran. What is most important is the message that is underlying all great religious books – newton's third law of physics – for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction – do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
    why are you criticizing each other and one and other's beliefs? why can't you all see that we all believe in the Lord, no matter what name, from which language we speak it, then end result is the same – God, Jesus, Allah, Yaweh, etc. = love.
    Lastly, though OBL did a lot of wrong in the world and his "reign" needed to brought to an end, shooting an unarmed man at anytime is wrong. The USA is a nation of war, their history has proven this time and time again. Though they have done the world a great good by stopping the tyranny of OBL, the wrong is in the way they chose to stop it. At no time, EVER, does one man have the right to take the life of another. It was not yours to create, nor was it yours to destroy.

    May 5, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
  20. Carmine Fragione

    As a good Catholic, it was wrong to just capture a man in war, and then just shoot him summarily in the head, and not bring the Habeas Corpus to Justice. It was a violation of very thing we Americans have believed in from the very beginning of our Revolution. We are a nation of Law, not men, and no man can summarily shoot an unarmed man in the head. What we have is the President of the United States and his advisors, watching on live video feed, while they saw a man captured alive and then summarily shot to death. It violates the Geneva Convention, It reminds me of what the Soviet Bund did, to drag people out of their homes in the middle of night, shoot them in the head and truck them off to unmarked graves in the forests of Russia. And we should note, these are the same people who made an equivocation of waterboarding to be too much of a torture, even for the most repugnant evil killers we might capture and hold. So, what we have is President Bush made out to be evil for dunking heads in water ,but not harmed, to get vital information to actually save innocent lives, and President Obama trying to heal his poll ratings by shooting the bad guy in the head, while he was unarmed, and his children and wife watched on. If then, the enemy comes back to nuke us, how can we say their revenges are then illegal ? It becomes one blood libel after another, Two wrongs never made a right. And the President, who went to Law School, knows he avoided the Writ of Habeas Corpus for those with matters at Court, concerning the victims of 911. It is a travesty that will appear, only after the early celebration is dimmed by time. We have lost our Righteousness, we should have taken the higher ground to lead the world to stop vengeance killings. But we have affirmed the right of murder by opportunity, rather than , as President Bush did, by bringing Hussein to Justice.

    May 5, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
    • Kai

      I believe you are confused and should read more on the topic of a just war. Bin Laden was an active enemy combatant of the US. He was in a position to actively harm US Soldiers, be it by a gun, by an explosive vest, by a trap set up that he could engage, etc. If he had been in complete custody by these soldiers and was no longer an active enemy combatant, THEN it would have been "illegal" to kill him. As it stands, he was at that moment an active enemy combatant, and while it may have been advantageous for us to capture him alive, there was no illegality to killing him in the process of storming his hideout (which he has probably use that one as well as other hideouts to actively perpetuate mass killings of US citizens and other human beings).

      May 5, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
    • Farhan

      Dear Carmine, Very nice note. My dear whenever any nation crosses the line of justice she is doomed by God. You have seen with in the past, I think you have released it , and thats right, america have lost its credibility in the rest of the world. If you will continue like this , you will fail, as it is already started, look at your economy.................

      May 5, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
    • jared

      that man did not deserve a grand jury...he needed an executioner

      May 5, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
    • david

      morally fake. shamed to you carmine fragione (lower case intendedly to show how low you are for being morally fake) – very lucky not many people like you

      May 5, 2011 at 7:24 pm |
    • Hadrian

      Why don't you be a good Catholic in Iraq, or Afghanistan, or even Somalia. I'm sure they won't but a bullet in your head once Osama's people capture you. Most likely they'll just save the bullets and cut off your head.

      May 5, 2011 at 11:30 pm |
    • mary

      Carmine,
      I am also Catholic, but do not agree w/your opinion. Bin Laden was the leader not a foot soldier. He was most dangerous. He was once no. 1 of the FBI most wanted list. Most of the guys that were tortured under Bush were impoverished, uneducated young men who followed the Taliban blindly. Bin Laden was born into a filthy rich family that had a lot of social status and he was well educated. He probably had a lot of charm & charisma, like a fanatical cult lead people to do things they would never have been capable of.

      May 6, 2011 at 12:22 am |
    • Tim

      As an American I can understand your feelings about the mission to take Bin Laden but as a solider entering a dark room to capture a very dangerious man who said he would never be taken alive. Armed or unarmed I would of shot several times, come home alive and not lost any sleep over it.

      May 6, 2011 at 10:22 am |
    • chan007

      I donot know how this man spent his childhood. Would be interesting to know. How come he completely missed somethings in life, things like, peace, happiness, love, caring for others, feeling others pain....I wish he was caught alive and taught these lessons. That would have been the real ultimate win over terror.

      May 6, 2011 at 10:59 am |
    • Robert

      This is just getting out of control. Back to Carmine's oblivious and ignorant statement: The fact of the matter is that OBL took the teachings of the Qu'ran and inflicted his own sadist and heinous twist. He has time after time proven himself a heartless and ferocious monstrosity, taking the lives of innocent people. This, to me, forfeits any rights from any government to be treated/tried as a human being. Put yourself in the shoes of those who lost someone through one of his ruthless acts of terror and sit there and say he should have the right to anything. Very insensitive and unrefined, Carmine.

      May 6, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
    • ThisIsWhyImHot

      Sorry but this is WAR..in a battlefield, religion does not apply. Once you are in a army you have lost all legitimacy of having a religion. ...There is no legal or illegal way to kill somebody. That is merely determined by the people at the top. Which is our government. They determine who is wrong and who is right. And there logic is clearly Dog eat dog world, kill or be killed. Not everyone is religious and not everyone is wiling to hold hands and be happy. This is the world we live in, full of lies and order.

      May 6, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • Visavis

      Shouldn't prez Bush have known better that what he did was not just at all. Do you believe that WMD's were there in Iraq? In their absence as proven time and again, do you call the events that took place there just?

      Why the deviation that occured. If It was a known fact that OBL was in Afghanistan, why did all roads lead to Iraq? I think you are ignoring the fact that are there in front of you and fucusing on the wrong path deliberately.

      I wonder how your views would be presented if you had lost a loved one on that fateful September day.

      Think before you right.

      I think justice has been served. We've know for over 9 years that "Wanted Dead or Alive". The same Bush not Obama coined that phrase in this case. We we're gonna lose more lives in that compound trying to "Smoke Out" that son of a gun.

      May 6, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
    • stubbycat

      A a so-called "good" Catholic, you should realize that we are at war with these swines. America actually did old Benny a favor: he was sent to Allah where he belongs. He was so willing for others to don a suicide vest, why didn't he put one on himself? In a way, I guess he did by being the beast he had become. Doesn't the scripture say something about sowing and reaping and reaping the same?

      May 6, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.