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September 30th, 2011
05:33 PM ET

Worshippers at al-Awlaki's old mosque 'not glad' he's dead, but 'it's helpful'

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Falls Church, Virginia (CNN)– Worshippers hurried by a host of cameras and reporters on their way to Friday prayers at the Dar Al Hijrah Islamic Center. Many of those who stopped to ask about the gaggle of media found out for the first time American Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who once stood in their pulpit, had been killed Friday by a CIA drone strike in Yemen.

“I think he should have gotten a proper burial as a Muslim, but as a human being I don’t think he was right for his mentality and his morality,” said Jouwad Syed, who recently started attending the Dar Al Hijrah Islamic Center.

“In a way, we’re not glad that he’s dead. At the same token, it’s helpful. We’re trying to clear our name. There’s crazy people everywhere you go in different religions. He’s just one of the few and he definitely doesn’t represent what Islam is all about,” Syed said.

Al-Awlaki was the imam at Al-Hijarh from January 2001 until 2002, when he left the United States for London before eventually resettling in Yemen. While he was in the States he preached to and interacted with three of the September 11, 2001, hijackers, according to the 9/11 Commission report, but he publicly condemned the attack afterward.

“While employed at Dar Al-Hijrah, he was known for his interfaith outreach, civic engagement, and tolerance in the Northern Virginia community,” Imam Johari Abdul-Malik, the current leader of the mosque said in a written statement. “However, after Mr. Al-Awlaki’s departure in 2002, he was arrested by Yemeni authorities and allegedly tortured. It was then that Al-Awlaki began preaching violence.”

His ability to speak English and communicate the positions of al-Queda drew al-Awlaki the nickname “the bin Laden of the Internet.”

“Al-Awlaki will no longer spread his hate speech over the Internet to Muslim youth provoking them to engage in violence against Americans. We reiterate that as an American faith community we do not accept violence nor extremism and recommit ourselves to our message living our faith in peace, tolerance, and the promotion of the public good,” Abdul-Malik continued.

Read more about al-Awlaki on CNN's Security Clearance blog

“Some one that’s not in line with Islam; you gotta break away from them,” said Monsoor Rashid, who works for the Army National Guard as a civilian contractor and was on his way into the mosque for noonday prayers.

“Actions of some folks who go to this mosque don’t represent what the mosque is all about. I live in the area, born and raised in America. We don’t obviously feel the same way he did or any of the other terrorists,” Rashid said.

While the mosque has condemned the actions and statements of al-Awlaki, who helped recruit a Nigerian man who tried to blow up a plane in Detroit in 2009 using an underwear bomb, they also expressed their displeasure with manner of his killing.

“We must also add that in previous statements we have rejected the use of extrajudicial assassination of any human being and especially an American citizen which includes Al-Awlaki. We reiterate our commitment to 'due process under law' and justice and are concerned that the alleged drone attack sends the wrong message to law abiding people around the world,” Abdul-Malik’s statement read.

“I would have preferred that he had suffered life in prison. If he’s dead, he’s dead. He didn’t really get to suffer,” Syed said.

Arsalan Iftikhar, the managing editor of the Crescent Post and author of Islamic Pacifism said, “There might be people who might not have fully agreed with the methodology used but I think there are very few people in the Muslim community who are going to lose any sleep at all over the death of Anwar al-Awlaki. If anything he was a stain on the community, both here domestically and globally.”

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 9/11 • Belief • Islam

soundoff (610 Responses)
  1. seo

    Howdy! This post could not be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me of my old room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this page to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing!

    January 31, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
  2. Muneef

    And We send down of the Qur'an that which is healing and mercy for the believers, but it does not increase the wrongdoers except in loss.
    http://quran.com/17
    ---–

    Sahih International
    And [for] every person We have imposed his fate upon his neck, and We will produce for him on the Day of Resurrection a record which he will encounter spread open.17:14

    [It will be said], "Read your record. Sufficient is yourself against you this Day as accountant."17:15

    Whoever is guided is only guided for [the benefit of] his soul. And whoever errs only errs against it. And no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another. And never would We punish until We sent a messenger.17:16

    And when We intend to destroy a city, We command its affluent but they defiantly disobey therein; so the word comes into effect upon it, and We destroy it with [complete] destruction.17:17

    And how many have We destroyed from the generations after Noah. And sufficient is your Lord, concerning the sins of His servants, as Acquainted and Seeing.17:18

    Whoever should desire the immediate – We hasten for him from it what We will to whom We intend. Then We have made for him Hell, which he will [enter to] burn, censured and banished.17:19

    But whoever desires the Hereafter and exerts the effort due to it while he is a believer – it is those whose effort is ever appreciated [by Allah ].17:20

    To each [category] We extend – to these and to those – from the gift of your Lord. And never has the gift of your Lord been restricted.17:21

    Look how We have favored [in provision] some of them over others. But the Hereafter is greater in degrees [of difference] and greater in distinction.17:22

    Do not make [as equal] with Allah another deity and [thereby] become censured and forsaken.17:23
    ---
    Sahih International
    The seven heavens and the earth and whatever is in them exalt Him. And there is not a thing except that it exalts [ Allah ] by His praise, but you do not understand their [way of] exalting. Indeed, He is ever Forbearing and Forgiving.17:45

    And when you recite the Qur'an, We put between you and those who do not believe in the Hereafter a concealed part-i-tion.17:46

    And We have placed over their hearts coverings, lest they understand it, and in their ears deafness. And when you mention your Lord alone in the Qur'an, they turn back in aversion.17:47
    ----
    Sahih International
    And We have certainly honored the children of Adam and carried them on the land and sea and provided for them of the good things and preferred them over much of what We have created, with [definite] preference.17:71

    [Mention, O Muhammad], the Day We will call forth every people with their record [of deeds]. Then whoever is given his record in his right hand – those will read their records, and injustice will not be done to them, [even] as much as a thread [inside the date seed].17:72

    And whoever is blind in this [life] will be blind in the Hereafter and more astray in way.17:73
    ----

    October 5, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
  3. hippypoet , the prophet

    say onto the lord god the SUN, we the people ask you why thoust shine and whom thoust shine for? ALMIGHTY SUN THEN SPOKE – WHY DO HUMANS ASK SUCH QUESTIONS WHY I SHINE FOR THE REASON OF MY FIRE BURNS, THE HEAT IS GIVEN TO USE...TRANSFERR THE ENERGY INTO ALL THINGS, I THE GOD SUN, THE ALMIGHTY SUN, ALL POWERFUL AND GIVING GOD TELL ALL INTELLIGENT ENOUGH TO USE MY ENERGY TO GO FORTH AND SHINE IN EACH YOUR OWN WAY, FOR ALL I FIND ARE BEAUTIFUL. PRAISE BE ONTO THE GREAT LORD GOD THE SUN ,THE ALMIGHTY SUN , ALL POWERFUL AND GIVING SUN!

    October 4, 2011 at 10:37 pm |
    • Muneef

      Hippy poet.

      Is this about using solar power as energy ??! Good idea but still expensive for those who need it most to reduce their bills...!

      October 5, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
  4. Muneef

    How long has this "Diaspora" been going on ?!

    A diaspora (from Greek διασπορά, "scattering, dispersion")[1] is "the movement, migration, or scattering of people away from an established or ancestral homeland"[2] or "people dispersed by whatever cause to more than one location",[3] or "people settled far from their ancestral homelands".[2]

    The word has come to refer to historical mass-dispersions of people with common roots, particularly movements of an involuntary nature, such as the forced removal...
    Recently scholarship has distinguished between different kinds of diaspora, based on its causes such as imperialism, trade or labor migrations, or by the kind of social coherence within the diaspora community and its ties to the ancestral lands. Some diaspora communities maintain strong political ties with their homeland. Other qualities that may be typical of many diasporas are thoughts of return, relationships with other communities in the diaspora, and lack of full assimilation to the host country.[3]

    In all cases, the term diaspora carries a sense of displacement; that is, the population so described finds itself for whatever reason separated from its national territory, and usually its people have a hope, or at least a desire, to return to their homeland at some point, if the "homeland" still exists in any meaningful sense. Some writers[who?] have noted that diaspora may result in a loss of nostalgia for a single home as people "re-root" in a series of meaningful displacements. In this sense, individuals may have multiple homes throughout their diaspora, with different reasons for maintaining some form of attachment to each. Diasporic cultural development often assumes a different course from that of the population in the original place of settlement. Over time, remotely separated communities tend to vary in culture, traditions, language, and other factors. The last vestiges of cultural affiliation in a diaspora is often found in community resistance to language change and in maintenance of traditional religious practice.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diaspora

    October 4, 2011 at 6:44 pm |
  5. Amit-Atlanta-USA

    In a way WE'RE NOT GLAD THAT HE'S DEAD!!!

    Most American Muslims would say that too.............!That Explains it all.......

    October 4, 2011 at 11:27 am |
  6. Muneef

    How Islam should be Judged?

    Before Islam they worship idols
    After worshiping the one absolute God
    Before Islam they didn’t know Jesus or Mary or any prophets
    After Islam who deny Jesus or Mary become blasphemer 
    Before no payers no charity no family relation 
    After Islam it become must 
    Before Islam us-u-ry and slavery adultery was common
    After Islam got forbidden
    Before Islam women has no value and all her property to her husband
    After Islam become her own she can do what she like within Islamic laws 
    Before Islam the girls-child were buried alive 
    After Islam no girls-child were buried alive
    Before Islam no laws or guidance to people
    After Islam established the laws or guidance to people( sharia)
    Before Islam tribes killing each others 
    After Islam they became brothers 
    Before Islam there was no education
    After Islam became must and first word came to Muhammad from the angle was (read)
    Before Islam no scientific study
    After Islam seculars in chemistry and math the no.1234 are Arabic and innovated the ZERO 
    Before Islam they were tribes 
    After Islam became empire from Spain to china 
    And More……. I cannot do it 

    The Big change in history done by ( illiterate ) prophet Muhammad peace be up on him brought the people from darkness to light , but most people killed by the pride they do not want to admitted . 

    Quran verses;
    40) And certainly We have repeated (warnings) in this Quran that they may be mindful, but it does not add save to their aversion. (41).

    (88) And certainly We have explained for men in this Quran every kind of similitude, but most men do not consent to aught but denying. (89).

    And certainly We have explained in this Quran every kind of example, and man is most of all given to contention. (54).

    Islam is most hated for forbidding (Us-u-r-y) and Slavery-1
    http://groups.google.com/group/uk-911-truth/browse_thread/thread/60ca035f7bd0f152

    Islam is most hated for forbidding (Us-u-r-y) and Slavery-2
    http://groups.google.com/group/total_truth_sciences/browse_thread/thread/1031db57c63ea8f4

    Islam is most hated for forbidding (Us-u-r-y) and Slavery-3
    (function() { var scribd = document.createElement("script"); scribd.type = "text/javascript"; scribd.async = true; scribd.src = "#{root_url}javascripts/embed_code/inject.js"; var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(scribd, s); })()

    Islam is most hated for forbidding (Us-u-r-y) and Slavery-4
    http://www.slideshare.net/brighteyes/ancient-slavery-us!u!r!y-and-property-regimes

    October 3, 2011 at 7:50 pm |
    • Reality

      How Islam should be judged:

      Some examples:

      The Muslim Conquest of India – 11th to 18th century

      ■"The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. "

      and the 19 million killed in the Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C by Muslims.

      and more recently

      1a) 179 killed in Mumbai/Bombay, 290 injured

      1b) Assassination of Benazir Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh

      2) 9/11, 3000 mostly US citizens, 1000’s injured

      3) The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US troops killed in action, 3,480 and 928 in non combat roles. 102,522 – 112,049 Iraqi civilians killed as of 9/16/2011/, mostly due to suicide bombers, land mines and bombs of various types, http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ and http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf

      4) Kenya- In Nairobi, about 212 people were killed and an estimated 4000 injured; in Dar es Salaam, the attack killed at least 11 and wounded 85.[2]

      5) Bali-in 2002-killing 202 people, 164 of whom were foreign nationals, and 38 Indonesian citizens. A further 209 people were injured.

      6) Bali in 2005- Twenty people were killed, and 129 people were injured by three bombers who killed themselves in the attacks.

      7) Spain in 2004- killing 191 people and wounding 2,050.

      8. UK in 2005- The bombings killed 52 commuters and the four radical Islamic suicide bombers, injured 700.

      9) The execution of an eloping couple in Afghanistan on 04/15/2009 by the Taliban.

      10) – Afghanistan: US troops 1,385 killed in action, 273 killed in non-combat situations as of 09/15/2011. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed due to the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror

      11) The killing of 13 citizen soldiers at Ft. Hood by a follower of the koran.

      12) 38 Russian citizens killed on March 29, 2010 by Muslim women suicide bombers.

      13) The May 28, 2010 attack on a Islamic religious minority in Pakistan, which have left 98 dead,

      14) Lockerbie is known internationally as the site where, on 21 December 1988, the wreckage of Pan Am Flight 103 crashed as a result of a terrorist bomb. In the United Kingdom the event is referred to as the Lockerbie disaster, the Lockerbie bombing, or simply Lockerbie. Eleven townspeople were killed in Sherwood Crescent, where the plane's wings and fuel tanks plummeted in a fiery explosion, destroying several houses and leaving a huge crater, with debris causing damage to a number of buildings nearby. The 270 fatalities (259 on the plane, 11 in Lockerbie) were citizens of 21 nations.

      15 The daily suicide and/or roadside and/or mosque bombings in the terror world of Islam.

      16) Bombs sent from Yemen by followers of the koran which fortunately were discovered before the bombs were detonated.

      17) The killing of 58 Christians in a Catholic church in one of the latest acts of horror and terror in Iraq.

      18) Moscow airport suicide bombing: 35 dead, 130 injured. January 25, 2011.

      19) A Pakistani minister, who had said he was getting death threats because of his stance against the country's controversial blasphemy law, was shot and killed Wednesday, 3/2/2011

      20) two American troops killed in Germany by a recently radicalized Muslim, 3/3/2011

      21) the kidnapping and apparent killing of a follower of Zoraster in the dark world of Islamic Pakistan.

      22) Shariatpur, Bangladesh (CNN 3/30/2011) - Hena Akhter's last words to her mother proclaimed her innocence. But it was too late to save the 14-year-old girl. Her fellow villagers in Bangladesh's Shariatpur district had already passed harsh judgment on her. Guilty, they said, of having an affair with a married man. The imam from the local mosque ordered the fatwa, or religious ruling, and the punishment: 101 lashes delivered swiftly, deliberately in public. Hena dropped after 70 and died a week later.

      October 4, 2011 at 8:13 am |
  7. Prayer

    Gotta love one thing and that is the reverance these people have.
    Eyes closed, heads bowed and on bended knees!

    October 2, 2011 at 7:59 pm |
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About this blog

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.