Over the last couple of days, I have talked to many senior level correspondents and executives at major Arabic news networks including but not limited to Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya. I asked them what they thought their viewing audience “needed to see” regarding the death of Osama bin Laden.
The answer has been consistent and uniform. Not withstanding any decision to release a “death photo” of Osama bin Laden — which I personally believe should be released, photos of bin Laden’s corpse being scrubbed, and receiving final Muslim death rites should be released simultaneously.
Bin Laden was one of the world’s greatest villains, and many in the Muslim world completely accept that — but at the same time, they strongly believe that respect for bin Laden as a Muslim translates into respect for all Muslims, good and bad. The White House and those involved with tracking and killing bin Laden feel similarly as so much emphasis has been placed by the White House on the issue that bin Laden received a burial at sea consistent with Islamic tradition.
When the death photo is eventually released, I think it’s vital that a photo showing that Islamic tradition was followed also be released.
This is important generally — but particularly vital for Muslims around the world.
– Steve Clemons