WASHINGTON - Leaders of Shoulder-to-Shoulder: Standing with American Muslims; Upholding American Values, a national campaign of religious leaders and organizations seeking to end anti-Muslim bigotry, released the following statement on the death of Osama Bin Laden:
“The national religious leaders of Shoulder-to-Shoulder express our hope that the death of Osama Bin Laden will close a difficult era in the history of our nation and our world. Bin Laden was well-known for committing crimes against humanity and for manipulating and distorting the religion of Islam to sow division among peoples. Today marks an opportunity for each of us to renew our shared responsibility to be a part of ushering in a new era marked not by hate and discord, but by peace, harmony and mutual understanding.
“Shoulder-to-Shoulder applauds President Barack Obama for reminding us, as did President George W. Bush after 9/11, that ‘the United States is not – and never will be – at war with Islam.’
“We further commend the President and the Armed Forces for handling Bin Laden’s body in accordance with Islamic burial customs. They demonstrated that the United States of America will always hold itself to a high moral standard, treating the body of even its worst enemy with utmost dignity. As people of faith, we do not take pleasure from the fact of a person’s death, even that of our worst enemy. Rather, we remain focused on ensuring justice for all, and are grateful for the opportunity to renew our commitment to affirm our commonalities, promote peace, and work together for the common good.”
Shoulder-to-Shoulder is comprised of 25 national religious, faith-based and interfaith organizations, including Christians, Jews and Muslims. The group consists of the same denominations and faith groups that stood in solidarity on September 7, 2010 to speak out against the rise in anti-Muslim bigotry leading up to the anniversary of the September 11 attacks and the planned burning of the Book of Qur'an in Florida. Shoulder-to-Shoulder has since spoken out on multiple occasions to condemn anti-Muslim bigotry and to promote peace and mutual understanding.