Edina Lekovich, director of policy and programming with the Muslim Public Affairs Council of Los Angeles, is married to an Egyptian-American who grew up in Orange County.
While she agrees with Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) leaders who say their faith forbids them from "dancing on the grave" of even a mass-murderer like Osama bin Laden, she adds that, "on a day like this, let me be honest and just say that I am filled with a huge sense of relief and a huge sense of gratitude."
Lekovic reacted to the death of bin Laden on this morning's KTLA Morning News. She continued:
"I think President Obama and the national security team and the Navy SEALs, by eliminating Osama bin Laden, have done a victory for America and a victory for Muslims worldwide, frankly, because bin Laden and Al-Qaeda have represented a perverted vision of our faith. They have done a disgrace to our faith more than any other single factor out there. And the reality of what worldwide we want is being reflected in the Arab spring today. People are using peaceful means to create political change. That's the face of what Islam is really about and the kind of change that people are looking for."
She hopes bin Laden's death "marks a symbolic changing of the page of our nation's history" and "represents a nail in the coffin of Al-Qaeda's bankrupt ideology." The reality, she said, is "bin Laden sat for many years in his mansions while he sent young people to die for his empty rhetoric and his throne of self-righteousness."
People of the Arab world have been voting against bin Laden's belief system "with their feet for the past 5-6 months," Lekovic observed. "These are people reclaiming their faith. . . . The struggle for freedom and democracy, that's the face of what people want around the world."
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Asked about Hamas condemning the death of a "holy warrior," Lekovic said it is important to remember that Hamas "is an isolated minority, and they should not be looked at as anything more than that. The violence that Hamas has been using is also on its way out. Violence is not going to work. The future is going to be determined by people who use peaceful means to bring about change."
Rather than focusing on the comments of small groups like Hamas, Lekovic said, the public should "look at the Muslims worldwide who are looking at this day with gratitude and relief." She noted that 70 percent of those bin Laden killed were fellow Muslims.
"We can't get comfortable, and we can't get complacent. We have to remain vigilant," she said. ". . . We stand with law enforcement and authorities worldwide looking out for any potential threats."
Lekovic praised Obama for last night referring to bin Laden as a mass-murderer and not the leader of Muslims: "President Obama struck exactly the right tone talking about the unity we have to hold these days."