Chicago Muslims: It's Time to Move On

Muslim leaders believe bin Laden's death marks new beginning

By Natalie Martinez
|  Monday, May 2, 2011  |  Updated 6:54 PM CDT
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Local Muslim leaders react to the death of Osama bin Laden.

Local Muslim leaders react to the death of Osama bin Laden.

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Many Chicago Muslims are hoping Osama bin Laden's death marks the end of a dark era.

A number of organizations, including the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago, held a press conference Monday with one united hope -- that bin Laden's death will mean justice for the victims of the terrorist attacks and closure for the surviving families.

"I'm just waiting to see if it will change anything in terms of our foreign policy, our strategy on the war in terror, and if it will change anything in Muslim relations," said Amina Sharif of CAIR Chicago.

Group members say they're not celebrating death, but rather, new beginnings.

"There's a sense of relief, there's closure ... people are tired of this mentality. We felt we had been taken hostage -- the whole nation had been taken hostage for almost 10 years," said Rizwan Kadir of the Pakistan Club.

The individuals who spoke at the press conference lead schools, mosques and various organizations in the Chicago area that represent more than 400,000 Muslims.

"The Muslim American society is here to stay, and our hope is that the Islam fear that we've witnessed the last few years will dissipate," said Allie Kabba of the Illinois Coalition of Immigrant Refugee Rights.

There might be some people who use this event to advance their ideology, and to avenge or retaliate against Muslim interests, and we have to be alert to that," said Dr. Zahar Sahloul of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago.

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