Religion and Conflict Resolution Reflects on the Death of bin Laden

Releasing the news of Bin Laden’s demise brought a measure of relief to many Americans; however, some have taken the news as cause for celebration. Although Bin Laden was a brutal criminal who caused many to mourn their loved ones, we should not be celebrating his death. Rather, we should remember that Bin Laden was a fellow human being, and rather than rejoice, we should use this time to reflect on and commit ourselves to always remembering the many victims of his perverse ideology of hate. Death is respected across cultures as an ending, even if the death is that of the enemy.

The end of Bin Laden’s life can mark the beginning of a new chapter in America, a chapter in which people from all religions are valued and respected, a chapter that demonstrates the value of tolerance in our everyday life and emphasizes the virtue of respect for all citizens regardless of religion, race, gender or belonging.  We should use this time to reach out to the Muslim community and acknowledge their place in American society, a society that has room for everyone. Bin Laden’s actions did not represent Islam; rather, they desecrated the teachings of Islam that call for love and respect for each other, As the Qur’an states, “Not one of you is a believer until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.”
 
As an organization that creates tools that reduce religious conflict and help build a more inclusive, peaceful world, we embrace this opportunity to remember those who died in the 9/11 attack, those who responded, those who still feel pain and urge each one of us to work toward reducing religious ignorance and preventing hatred and violence perpetrated in the name of religion. This is a time for all of us to come together and manifest our shared values of understanding and tolerance. All world religions share one “golden rule,” which calls on us to treat others, neighbors, and all of our brothers and sisters, as we want them to treat us.