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. allien;;;;.....


    September 30, 2011 at 11:53 pm |
    • 2011cnn2011

      imams=being watched 24/7

      October 1, 2011 at 12:16 am |
  2. 2011cnn2011

    First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out -
    Because I was not a Socialist.
    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out -
    Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out -
    Because I was not a Jew.
    Then they came for me - and there was no one left to speak for me.

    September 30, 2011 at 11:53 pm |
  3. Adi

    You guys are all nuts. Go enjoy your weekend and leave the politics to the Republicans. Ha ha ha.

    September 30, 2011 at 11:44 pm |
    • Peter Rabbit

      yes leave it to republicans to run our country into the ground...all for another dollar (or yen) in the bank account.

      October 1, 2011 at 3:52 pm |
  4. independent

    Both sides of this argument are full of what makes the grass grow green.
    1) the man calling himself a muslim and supporting the acts of a terrorist; and
    2) those of you calling for war against Islam.
    As my Pakastani, Islamic neighbor once explain, neither a Muslim, no a Christian can be a terrorist; because once they are a terrorist they are no longer a Muslim or Christian.
    You can both have you little war, but it won't be between Muslims and Christians. It will be between two terrorists.

    September 30, 2011 at 11:42 pm |
    • Reality

      Au Contraire!!!!

      What instigated the attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon? And what drives today's 24/7 mosque/imam-planned acts of terror and horror? The koran, Mohammed's book of death for all infidels and Muslim domination of the world by any means. Muslims must clean up this book removing said passages admitting that they are based on the Gabriel myth and therefore obviously the hallucinations and/or lies of Mohammed. Then we can talk about the safety and location of mosques and what is taught therein.

      Until then, no female or male Muslim can be trusted anytime or anywhere..................................

      September 30, 2011 at 11:47 pm |
    • Dan

      Reality you could use a dose of your namesake. I bet you call youself a Christian, yet you probably ignore all the negative hateful passages in the bible. Complete and utter hypocrite.

      October 1, 2011 at 11:23 am |
    • Reality

      The Apostles' Creed 2011: (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

      Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
      and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
      human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven?????

      I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
      preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
      named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
      girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

      Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
      the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

      He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
      a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of

      Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
      many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
      ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
      Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
      grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
      and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
      called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.


      October 1, 2011 at 11:40 am |
    • .........

      plz do not read reality posts hit report abuse

      October 1, 2011 at 11:43 am |
    • JohnR

      @independent Sure. And no TRUE Marxist would send people to death camps. Absolutist ideologies tend to spawn absolute a–holes so convinced of the wonderfulness of their goals that all means seem justified.

      October 1, 2011 at 11:45 am |
  5. mike givler

    It amazes me how the terrorists demand proper burial of thier slain murderers while they blow themselves up to kill other people. how do they justify thier actions? the koran states the laws of thier religion, but all i see is a huge double standard, what makes them so special? we live in fear of them while they dictace how things should be. thay are gangstars and drug dealing thugs that rule by fear. no different form any other organized crime syndacate. we calll them al-queda, they are the afgan mafia

    September 30, 2011 at 11:41 pm |
  6. happyday

    I went out across the street on route 7 right in front of the mosque with an American flag and a big poster board saying TANGO DOWN on it. Cheers and honks from many driving by! No lie!

    September 30, 2011 at 11:34 pm |
  7. gary

    Look, up in the sky, it's a bird, it's a plane......

    September 30, 2011 at 11:24 pm |
  8. MeatyPortion

    Terrorist dead? Good.

    September 30, 2011 at 11:21 pm |
    • 2011cnn2011

      terrorist dead ...priceless...

      September 30, 2011 at 11:42 pm |
  9. jack

    The Imam Abdul Malik says " 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". Let me assure him. If he is a law abiding citizen, he should not be worried about getting killed by a drone attack. It is surprising that the ACLU is concerned about the civil liberties of a terrorist who has sworn to kill innocent Americans. If anyone is holding a gun on you head, he should be taken out. If we worry about his rights, innocents will die. I would like to see if the ACLU libs would behave the same way if their near and dear had lost lives on 9/11.

    September 30, 2011 at 11:08 pm |
    • brown

      The ACLU was hiding under their beds on 9/11. It is safe now, so they come out to sing their song once again.

      September 30, 2011 at 11:12 pm |
    • Voron

      Considering that most of the 9/11 victims were New Yorkers, it's probably fair to say that most 9/11 victims were liberal to begin with!

      October 1, 2011 at 7:26 am |
  10. AGuest9

    Interesting viewpoint: “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.

    I'm glad MY tax dollars aren't supporting him for the rest of his life.

    September 30, 2011 at 9:47 pm |
    • Jack

      I second that

      September 30, 2011 at 11:09 pm |
  11. Muneef

     (The Prophets)
    01) [The time of] their account has approached for the people, while they are in heedlessness turning away.

    02) No mention comes to them anew from their Lord except that they listen to it while they are at play.


    16) And We did not create the heaven and earth and that between them in play.

    17) Had We intended to take a diversion, We could have taken it from [what is] with Us – if [indeed] We were to do so.

    18) Rather, We dash the truth upon falsehood, and it destroys it, and thereupon it departs. And for you is destruction from that which you describe.


    35) Every soul will taste death. And We test you with evil and with good as trial; and to Us you will be returned.


    48) And We had already given Moses and Aaron the criterion and a light and a reminder for the righteous.

    49) Who fear their Lord unseen, while they are of the Hour apprehensive.

    50) And this [Qur'an] is a blessed message which We have sent down. Then are you with it unacquainted?


    September 30, 2011 at 9:23 pm |
    • Kraken

      Mohammed's brother slept with 5 thugs, and now we see the result.. Nothing.

      September 30, 2011 at 9:30 pm |
    • Michy

      Muneef, how come your god needs to test anything? Yours is not one of the all-knowing gods?

      September 30, 2011 at 9:32 pm |

      the koran also says its ok to beat women

      funny your kind dont ever post that scripture

      September 30, 2011 at 10:00 pm |

      now that i think about it

      hitler must have been a muslim

      he was doing everything the koran teaches people to do

      September 30, 2011 at 10:19 pm |
    • Matt

      Way to take random quotes and put them out of context. The actual passage is the same "convert to our God and you shall be saved" crap that's in the Bible.

      September 30, 2011 at 10:23 pm |
    • Burt

      Muslims are commanded to lie to unbelievers, to slay them, to rob them, to do anything at all to them. That's Islam all the way.
      When Islam is gone, there will still be Christians and Jews to do nasty things to "unbelievers".
      Every religion does this. Jews committed genocide thousands of years before Hitler tried and failed. Not a single person was left alive in many places after the nomadic Jews were done with them. They were just following what the priests said.
      Muslims are just following their own interpretations of the lies they follow.
      All religions do this.
      Killing because someone thinks their god wants it that way is how religious wars start.
      One side starts it because of their religion.
      Then whoever they attacked might fight back for religious reasons as well or purely in self-defense or both.
      But it is the religion itself that is to blame. The religion is the virus that leads to maniacs with blood in their eye screaming religious insanity as they murder innocent people.
      Religion is evil. To be fooled by ridiculous lies that require no proof is to be a stupid tool of religious leaders.
      Imams send young idiots who have never read anything but the Quran out to die but never go themselves.
      They can interpret anything they like however they like at anytime. Every religion does this. Leaders make it up to fit their desires and the blind fools who follow them waste their whole lives following what a liar said.

      September 30, 2011 at 10:30 pm |
    • † the best and only way

      † for me, thank you.

      September 30, 2011 at 10:49 pm |
    • Ectoplasm

      Okay, we got a guy wanting to be tortured to death on a cross. Buddy, if you want to die, go play in the street.

      September 30, 2011 at 11:06 pm |
    • 2011cnn2011

      Try Jesus....he is Gods son...give it a try...because what ya got aint working...

      September 30, 2011 at 11:45 pm |
    • Reality

      o On the koranic passages and world domination:
      "Mohammed could not have known the size of the world, but several passages in the Koran show that he envisioned Islam dominating all of it, however large it might be: “He it is who sent his messenger . . . that he may cause it [Islam] to prevail over all religions´(Koran 9:33, M.M. Ali; see also 48:28 and 61:9). M.M. Ali designates these three passages as “the prophecy of the ultimate triumph of Islam in the whole world.”

      Mohammed’s successors, the caliphs, quoted passages like these to inspire Muslim armies as they advanced out of Arabia, imposing Islam by the sword upon a peacefully unsuspecting Middle East and North Africa, as I described in the previous chapter.

      Islamic armies, imbued with what Mohammed claimed was divine authorization, imposed Islam by force over vast areas, all the while extorting wealth from subjugated Jews and Christians to fund their ongoing conquests. As I noted, major defeats at Tours, France, in A.D. 732, and again at Vienna, Austria, in A.D. 1683, halted Islam’s attempt to take all of Europe by force. Gradually Islamic forces were forced to retreat from Europe, except for part of the Balkans. But Islam has again set its sights on a conquest of Europe and of European civilization, wherever the latter has spread to North and South America and other regions. Muslim strategists ask their followers, Why do we find in these modern times that Allah has entrusted most of the world’s oil wealth primarily to Muslim nations?

      Their answer: Allah foresaw Islam’s need for funds to finance a final politico-religious victory over what Islam perceives as its ultimate enemy: Christianized Euro-American civilization. So, Islam follows Nazism, fascism and communism as the world’s latest hostile takeover aspirant.

      Nazis, fascists and communists failed. Does Islam have a better chance at success? I believe it will flounder if we awaken to its threat in time; yet, if there is not adequate planned resistance, Islam does have a better chance of succeeding. Communism’s world takeover attempt was guaranteed to fail because its economic policy was naively contrary to human nature. Advocating the rubric What is mine is thine, and what is thine is mine, communism failed to see that human nature will not keep those two balanced propositions in equilibrium. Like a female black widow spider consuming her mate, the latter part of the formula makes a meal of the former, leading to the collapse of any system based upon that formula.
      In contrast, political systems do well if they can persuade people to adhere to What’s mine is mine and What’s thine is thine maxims.

      Only if a strong religious incentive is added does such an idealistic formula have any long-term chance. Even then success will be spotty. But communism (and Nazism, for that matter) excluded religion. And that mistake was the final nail eventually clamping a lid on communism’s coffin. Communism, on a historical scale, perished while still in its childhood.
      Islam is not repeating communism’s mistake. Mating political cunning and incredible wealth with religious zeal, Islam does have a chance to succeed and will succeed unless major parts of the Western world unite to take appropriate countermeasures. But many Western leaders, unable to believe that a mere religion could possible be a serious political threat, keep proclaiming themselves as Islam-friendly, reasoning that all religions are good-aren’t they?

      A Muslim strategist in Beverly Hills, California, declared several years ago, as quoted by a friend of mine: “Now that the struggle between Western democracies and international communism is winding down, it is time for the real and final struggle to begin, and we are going to win!”

      Don Richardson

      September 30, 2011 at 11:49 pm |
    • 2011cnn2011

      400,000,000 americans--1% are muslim--96% Christian-–in other words, shut your yaps muslims....

      October 1, 2011 at 12:19 am |
    • Muneef


      October 1, 2011 at 11:54 am |
    • JohnR

      This country isn't 96% Christian.

      October 1, 2011 at 11:56 am |
    • .........

      plz hit report abuse on all reality postsd

      October 1, 2011 at 11:57 am |
    • Cedar rapids

      "Michy – Muneef, how come your god needs to test anything? Yours is not one of the all-knowing gods?"
      Yeah he should follow on of those all knowing gods that ask fathers to sacrfiice their sons....as a test, or asks those that follow him to paint a sign on a door so that he then knows not to visit there to kill their kids.

      "2011cnn2011 – 400,000,000 americans–1% are muslim–96% Christian-–in other words, shut your yaps muslims..."
      Way to be against everything the US stands for.

      October 1, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
  12. JohnnyJihad

    Looks like from the picture there are dozens to take his place...

    September 30, 2011 at 9:08 pm |
    • 2011cnn2011

      all terrorists will be hunted down and killed like the animals they are

      October 1, 2011 at 12:05 am |
  13. JohnnyJihad

    Surprise, surprise... An American Muslim Cleric was a terrorist. We are at war with Islam boys and girls, wake up before it is too late.

    September 30, 2011 at 9:02 pm |
  14. Muneef

    At least now you Americans know what you been exporting to our countries...teaching our kids violence...
    Any way are you sure he is dead now or only on the records....or maybe will be taken where Ossama is for further preparation to final stages of "Tom & Jerry" series...!

    September 30, 2011 at 7:20 pm |

      yeah its all our fault

      because unlike the middle east

      at least people here are allowed to worship whatever tooth fairy they want

      September 30, 2011 at 7:35 pm |
    • Muneef

      The Middle East Channel. 
      Daily News Brief
      September 30, 2011
      U.S. born Yemeni cleric with links to al-Qaeda reported killed 
      Yemen's Defense Ministry sent a text message to journalists announcing "the terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki has been killed along with some of his companions." The report was confirmed by a senior Obama administration official, however Awlaki, who was born to Yemeni parents in the United States, has been reported dead several times in the past. It is is unclear whether he was killed by Yemeni forces or a U.S drone attack, but the United States has targeted him at least 3 times. Awlaki was a spiritual leader in the al-Qaeda affiliate, al Qaeda in the Arabia Penninsula, however the extent of his role in the organization is highly debated. His English speaking skills and strong internet presence made him highly influential. He has been noted as connected to or the inspiration for several attempts to attack the United States such as the Christmas Day 2009 failed bomb attempt on a Detroit-bound airliner and the shootings at the army bases at Fort Hood, Texas.  

      September 30, 2011 at 7:38 pm |
    • *frank*

      "At least now you Americans know what you been exporting to our countries...teaching our kids violence"
      What are you smoking, the middle East was a blood-soaked pesthole long before there even was an America...

      September 30, 2011 at 7:45 pm |
    • Drone Operator MSasoDO2231

      Muneef is full of shlt. He's probably a member of Al-Qaida, might even be close friend of Al-Awlaki since he is on the internet so much.
      If we didn't kill Al-Awlaki, then maybe Muneef is him. Let's send a drone Muneef's way and see how he likes it.

      September 30, 2011 at 7:57 pm |
    • Demo-Crate

      Frank's right. The middle east has been a total shlt-hole filled with shlt and blood violence for thousands of years.
      Mohammed was a piece of shlt thief, bandit, robber, murderer, rapist, and many other disgusting things.
      Islam teaches violence. It fills the Koran to overflowing. It is nothing but shlt.

      September 30, 2011 at 8:01 pm |
    • Muneef


      Thanks that's all I need on top of all the trouble we have at the moment back here...!

      September 30, 2011 at 8:57 pm |

      muneef you deserve it

      September 30, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
    • Kraken

      Mohammed's brother slept with 5 thugs and now we see the result. Nothing.

      September 30, 2011 at 9:05 pm |
    • Muneef

      Guess you are no different than him spreading your terror.


      Middle East falling between Eastern and Western empires has made it under constant attack from their armies so it will remain always be a troubled area....!

      September 30, 2011 at 9:19 pm |
    • Muneef


      What are you writing or trying to say what ever it was I just hope you were not the victim ....!!

      OMG. The number of fangs that am counting...but strange how am required to be polite and respect any of you visiting or living on our lands?!!

      The only way I see it is to consider that those fangs are of new immigrants that are non real Americans (White/Black/Red) I will consider that maybe Asians or Africans...since I hate to think that some you are that ........!!!
      Guess have to go for Fajer prayers and so long...

      September 30, 2011 at 9:41 pm |

      most people arent interested in visiting your lands

      been there

      it sucks

      no wonder they turn to animal love and man on man love

      September 30, 2011 at 9:58 pm |
    • Muneef


      Visiting no invading yes....haha 🙂

      October 1, 2011 at 10:10 am |
  15. Henry

    Yes...it's helpful that this piece of sh–t is dead because then they can pretend they are peaceful again without the CIA sniffing around. Yes, very helpful.
    Then they can continue to be insane without notoriety.
    Isn't that what every suicide bomber wants?
    You can't get close to your target if everyone is suspi.cious of you.

    September 30, 2011 at 7:08 pm |

    none of them deserve a proper burial

    kick some dirt over their faces

    call it a day

    eat chicken fingers and drink beer

    September 30, 2011 at 6:53 pm |
  17. Fragistan

    Killing people in self-defense is completely legal. These idiots don't understand that our country has the right to defend itself against all enemies foreign and domestic. A US-born citizen can be killed by our Armed Forces if they are perceived as a deadly threat. That's just common sense.

    September 30, 2011 at 6:44 pm |
  18. Keith

    Who cares what these jerks think? "proper burial as a muslim"? Are you kidding me? What proper burial did those in WTC get? I hope the warhead was filled with pigs blood. And if these people don't like it, then get the hell out of this country. The way islam is coddled by the media and gov't here stinks.

    September 30, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
    • 2011cnn2011


      October 1, 2011 at 12:07 am |
  19. *frank*

    rest in piss, maggot!

    September 30, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  20. Yay another piece of filth is dead~!

    Let's celebrate the removal of a piece of dog filth like Al-Awlaki~ by having a barbecue weekend! Yay~!

    September 30, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
    • Ectoplasm


      September 30, 2011 at 11:07 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.