Ken Connor

When the righteous prosper, the city rejoices; when the wicked perish, there are shouts of joy. Proverbs 11:10, NIV

We finally got him. Almost a decade after the horrific attacks of September 11, 2001, justice has been meted out to the mastermind of Islamic terror, Osama bin Laden.

Though it may seem morbid to rejoice and celebrate over the killing of a person, his demise offers those afflicted by the tragedy of 9/11 an important sense of closure, and the men and women who have put their lives on the line in the War on Terror a feeling of great triumph. It also offers an opportunity for moderate Muslims to reclaim their faith from a man who hijacked it in the name of global jihad.

Osama bin Laden's career of terror didn't begin on 9/11. He desire to destroy western institutions (represented best, in his mind, by the United States of America) and his embrace of militant jihad may be traced back to the beginning of the first Gulf War. Most recall the devastating attacks against U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole, and the first attack on the Twin Towers in New York City. These represent but a few of the attacks planned and executed by bin Laden over the years in his quest to realize his megalomaniacal, radical goals.

In executing his campaign of destruction, bin Laden has always been ruthless and altogether without honor. Indeed, it appears that his cowardice and depravity knew no depths. Massive collateral damage was never considered a problem for bin Laden's al Qaeda; no attempts were ever made to shield innocents from the impact of their attacks. Muslims and non-Muslims alike were fair game. In bin Laden's mind, anyone not practicing the same brand of Islam or pursuing the same path of jihad was guilty in the eyes of God and deserving of death. No one is exempt, and no one is safe. This is the essence of terrorism, and was the heart of bin Laden's evil.

It's a great relief, then, to know that he will never again be able to mastermind another attack on innocents, never be able to plant the seeds of terror in the hearts and minds of freedom-loving peoples around the world.

Hopefully, bin Laden's death will embolden peace-loving Muslims to speak out against radical Islam. In the past decade, Osama bin Laden's twisted ideology in large part defined the western world's view of Islam, and the hesitance for moderate Muslims to stand against his poisonous crusade only reinforced these negative perceptions. Now, however, there is a chance to change that, to show that Islam truly is a religion of peace capable of embracing liberty and the secular rule of law.

Ken Connor

Ken Connor is Chairman of the Center for a Just Society in Washington, DC.