Trans-Atlantic Muslims unite over bin Laden’s death: Manchester UK to Manchester US

By Calum Leahy, Steven Oldham, Josh Powling and Iram Ramzan

Manchester Muslims on both sides of the Atlantic are welcoming Osama Bin Laden’s death, but in slightly different ways.

In Manchester, New Hampshire, USA, Muslims are rejoicing while reaction in Manchester, England, is more low-key.

The Al-Qaeda leader was assassinated near Pakistan’s capital Islamabad on Sunday night by American forces.

“Osama bin Laden has been responsible for preaching hatred and using terrorism to kill innocent people around the world,” said Mohammed Shafiq, chief executive of the Ramadhan Foundation, based in Greater Manchester.

“Al Qaeda is a murderous organisation that runs totally against Islam, their actions to use terrorism around the world is not sanctioned by our faith, which promotes peace and protecting human life.”

Meanwhile in New Hampshire, Muslims were hoping the preacher’s death signalled a new dawn for their religion.

Fatima Deek, a Jordan-born Palestinian and Manchester resident for nearly 20 years, said:
“It’s a relief for everybody that he’s gone. It’s a sense of relief because Islam’s been so misrepresented.”
Tamam Mohamad, owner of a New Hampshire Middle Eastern market agreed with Fatima’s sentiments.

He said: “It’s the best thing that’s happened in 2011 so far. He’s a killer.”
Back in the UK some organisations were more reserved, such as the Muslim Youth Foundation, which refused to comment citing their apolitical stance. 

However, Councillor Salim Mulla, chairman of the Lancashire Council of Mosques, said although he has been critical of American foreign policy in Afghanistan and Iraq, he hopes the violence will end here.

He added: “I really hope and pray that there will not be a backlash. I hope it won’t happen and I can’t see it happening.

“I am appealing publicly to all Muslim communities wherever they may be that there is no backlash. We should now move on.”

ACROSS THE SEA: In Manchester, New Hampshire, US, people rejoiced in the streets at the news of bin Laden’s death

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