Arab and Muslim Americans have celebrated the death of Osama bin Laden, saying justice has been served, but they remain wary of al-Qaeda reprisals, with the scars of Sept. 11, 2001, still running deep.
“We are very happy to hear the news that he has been eliminated,” said Osama Siblani, publisher of the Arab American News. “People are very excited that this happened, because they want this sad chapter to be closed. They understand more than anyone else how much damage this man has done to the Muslim world and to the Arab world.”
Dearborn is home to one of the largest concentrations of Arabs and Muslims in the US, and it acutely felt the anger unleashed against Muslims in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.
Down Warren Avenue — Dearborn’s main drag — Monthir Alsaid, who runs a shop selling phone cards and disposable mobile phones, said he hoped US President Barack Obama would now take out Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi.
“We should smash them all like the cockroaches they are,” he said.
Others, like Yasmeen Saad, lunching with her three-year-old daughter in Dearborn, recalled the atmosphere of suspicion after the Sept. 11 attacks.
“It made me feel unsafe and unhappy,” she said. “His death at this point feels anti-climatic, but I’m glad it’s over.”
Some were hopeful that bin Laden’s death would ease tensions.
“I am very happy. bin Laden was making Muslims look bad,” said Salah Allamoth, shopping at the Arabian Meat Market.
Community leaders greeted the news with a sigh of relief, but cautioned residents to remain on their guard against a potential al-Qaeda backlash.
“We have reached a very important goal, but the struggle continues,” Siblani said. “There are extremists out there that want to do us harm — all of us. We are going to be vigilant and we’re going to report anything that is suspicious.”