Osama bin Laden Is Dead….What Now?

 Leader of the Modern Jihad

A roar went up around the world when President Obama announced to that upon his directive Osama bin Laden, the iconic leader of the Modern Jihad led by al Qaeda, had been killed.  I could hear the swelling sound outside my window. As people rushed into the streets, the crowds around Ground Zero caused the police to reroute traffic.  This was personal for many New Yorkers, who knew someone that was killed or injured in the terrorist attack of 9/11. Some of my neighbors lost loved ones… and I lost my first wife as a result of the attack; a compassionate councilor to young college students who inspired them to reach for the sky.

One of my neighbors was working in the vicinity of the attack and is slowly deteriorating before my eyes as a result of breathing the toxic mixture that polluted the air- which is the same thing that killed my former wife. Hence the boisterous celebration I hear outside my window is heartfelt and justified.  It is the sound of national catharsis: The feeling that justice has finally been done.

The covert operation was carried out with great courage and efficiency.  The entire nation owes those brave soldiers a deep debt of gratitude; for they put their lives on the line in service to our nation. There is no greater love…it is the essence of heroic.  Whatever political differences one may have with government policy; the soldiers acted from a sense of duty, honor and love of country.  They deserve our gratitude and respect for their selfless service!

However as the nation rejoices I can’t help pondering the future and wondering what now?  Given all we know about the dynamics of mass transformative movements in general, and Al Qaeda in particular, our troubles may well get worse before they get better.  Thus I fear it would have been better to take Osama alive and put him on trial if it had been possible.

The fact that Osama’s body was seized by the American forces and buried at sea by infidels will surely be considered an insult to Islam and inspire recruits to the Jihad.  Yet for the US to bury the body in the ground, or leave it lay where he fell, would have created a shrine that could be used as a tool to recruit future Jihadist.  I cannot swear that they gave him a proper Muslim burial – although it is wise to say so, and I believe President Obama wanted it that way because he has a genuine respect for Islamic beliefs, yet it wouldn’t surprise me if they simply threw him overboard with steel shoes where he made a tasty meal for sharks

However Osama went out, among the Jihadist the highest calling is to die in the service of Islam.  Hence whereas Americans view the death of bin Laden as justice for the slaughter of innocents, the Jihadists and their sympathizers view it as the crucifixion of a righteous soldier of Allah at the hands of “The Great Satan.”  The Hamas statement has said as much!  And thus there is a real possibility that Osama will become a more potent force in death than he ever was in life.

Overnight he has metamorphosed from a crafty, illusive, warrior priest to a Martyr for Islam resting in the bosom of Allah.  And that portends trouble ahead.  I fear that we have not seen the end of Muslim Jihadists who are willing to commit mass murder or suicide in order to establish a global theocracy under Sharia Law.  Hence the struggle for modern secular society must go on….and it promises to be a bloody affair.  As for Osama bin Laden, the full page headline in the Daily News that accompanied his picture on the cover expressed the attitude of most New Yorkers: “Rot in Hell!”



Playthell Benjamin

Harlem, New York

May 2, 2011


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