Many religious groups have issued statements in the wake of President Obama's announcement late Sunday night that Osama bin Laden had been killed. We will provide the updated responses of American and international religious organizations as they become available.
The Vatican issued a short written statement through spokesperson Father Federico Lombardi. The statement reflected the conflict of emotions that many people of faith are feeling in the wake of the news:
" ... In the face of a man's death, a Christian never rejoices, but reflects on the serious responsibilities of each person before God and before men, and hopes and works so that every event may be the occasion for the further growth of peace and not of hatred."
Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the Muslim leader best known for his former association with the Park51 community center in New York City offered his support for President Obama's actions and expressed hope that the death bin Laden would bring, "closure and healing around 9/11."
The Muslim Public Affairs Council greeted the news of Osama bin Laden's death with an "immense sense of relief." The group's President, Salam Al-Marayati said:
"We hope this is a turning point away from the dark period of the last decade, in which bin Laden symbolized the evil face of global terrorism. His actions and those of al Qaeda have violated the sacred Islamic teachings upholding the sanctity of all human life. His acts of senseless terror have been met with moral outrage by Muslims worldwide at every turn in the past decade."
Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church limited his response to a single Bible verse in the form of a tweet early Tuesday morning:
"When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers" Proverbs 21:15
The Anti-Defamation League issued a statement praising the actions of President Obama and the American military forces, but expressing concern for the possibility of retaliatory attacks, especially those against Jewish targets. Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, said:
"The death of Osama bin Laden at the hands of U.S. forces in Pakistan strikes a critical blow against the Al Qaeda network and is a significant turning point in the war against global terrorism ... The death of such a significant figure in global terrorism inevitably raises concerns that those sympathetic to bin Laden will now seek to retaliate against the U.S. and its allies in the West, or against Israeli or Jewish targets. One recurring theme of bin Laden's videotaped messages was a special hatred for Israel, often expressed in anti-Semitic terms. Past plots in the U.S. motivated by the ideologies of extreme intolerance have often targeted Jewish and Israeli institutions. We must remain vigilant against the ever-present threat of new acts of terrorist violence inspired by his death."
Another group, The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, congratulated the United States government on the success of the mission and made special note that the events transpired on the eve of Yam Hashoah, the Jewish holiday dedicated to Holocaust remembrance:
" ... Bin Laden threatened the Jewish people and pledged to destroy the Jewish State. The announcement of his elimination coincided with the commemoration of Holocaust Memorial Day and is a reminder that those who perpetrate evil will ultimately be held to account."
"As president Obama reminded us that this terrorist was not a Muslim leader and did not represent Islam. He caused many to question the fundamental core beliefs we hold dear-love of one's fellow neighbor; respect for others' ways of life, and; mutual dialogue and understanding."
The Islamic Circle of North America echoes similar sentiments and adds a call for the ending of America's presence in Iraq and Afghanistan:
"Our thoughts are first and foremost with the families of those killed on 9/11 and the countless innocent men, women and children who have died in the ensuing wars. We pray this news brings closure to these families and ultimately ushers in a new chapter of peace and understanding in America's history.
ICNA hopes that the Obama administration will use this pivotal moment as an opportunity to rapidly end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and ensure the safe return of our troops."
Speaking at the University of Southern California on Tuesday night, His Holiness the Dalai Lama suggested that the killing may have been a necessary countermeasure.
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