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Decision Not To Release Bin Laden Photos Gets Mixed Reactions In Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Unsurprisingly, reaction is mixed across Philadelphia to President Obama’s decision not to release photos showing Osama bin Laden dead.

“The proof is in the pudding, I want to see it,” said Linda Massicotte at Reading Terminal Market.

“I think it would ease the American people’s minds,” said Karen Atkinson. “We saw the corpses of our people. Why can’t we see his corpse?”

“I don’t think so,” said Fitzgerald Dick when asked if Obama should release the photos. “I don’t want any danger to the troops.”

And a possible backlash in the Arab world worries a lot of people, including Zeina Elhalabi, a Muslim who works at the Arab-American Development Corporation in North Philadelphia.

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“I personally don’t feel it’s necessary,” she said. “He is a human being, and if people saw that photo it might stir a lot of emotions.”

When it comes to grisly photos, perhaps no one has more experience than Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams. He makes decisions everyday about how much graphic detail to show juries in homicide cases.

“Showing a photograph that’s gruesome, showing half his skull being blown off isn’t necessary,” he said. “There’s always a balancing test. What is the value of the public to see something versus the effect that it might be in bad taste?”

Williams says there are plenty of instances where prosecutors refrain from showing a jury certain photos because they are not necessary to prove the case. He feels the same way about this.

“I don’t need to see the photograph. I will defer to the president.”

But at least one expert, professor Jamal Elias, chair of the Religious Studies department at the University of Pennsylvania, disagrees.

“I don’t think this is the final word on it. My personal feeling is they almost have to release the photo,” he said.

Elias argues that the possibility of a negative backlash in the Arab world has been over exaggerated. He says it is standard practice for television and newspapers in many other parts of the world, including the Middle East, to publish much more gruesome photos compared with what is done in the United States. He says a fake photo of a dead bin Laden was widely distributed earlier this week.

“There’s no taboo about it,” he said. “The sympathy for Osama bin Laden in the Islamic world is very small.

Reported by Ben Simmoneau, CBS 3

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  • Rose

    I think the President should ask a small group of bi partisan ,respected figures to view the photos. Some names that come to mind: Senator McCain, Chief Justice Roberts, Elected U.S. Senators and House membeers from both barties who serve on inelligence or defense committees

  • Mahmud

    how i can believe that he is dead as the news came several times and then we found he is alive. General people was not present in this incident so we can believe only photos.

  • Taxpayer550

    Obama will release the photos of Bin Laden during his presidential campaign as an attempt to secure votes. He can not afford to never release these photos. He has virtually no credibility or accomplishments as President which leaves the public scrambling for evidence whenever he says something.

  • Vanessa

    I think that we as the public should NOT know all that goes on with homeland security! The operative word being SECURITY!!! The media already tells too much. When will they learn NOT to reveal our ( The U S ) secrets all over the news??? They actually give the terrorists ammunition to use AGAINST the US…I applaud President Obama for his decision.NOT to show the photos. I trust him. Osama is dead.Let’s move on.

    • sammy

      Sheep. As the housing market continues to drop, and gas prices continue to rise, you will still say the economy is getting better because the media tells you so. The media blocks out what the government does not want us to see or believe and constantly lies to us. Go ahead and stick your head in the sand if it’ll make you feel better Venessa. I was joking before, but you’re too much.

  • Barbara K. Lamb

    I do not wish to see the pictures of Osama bin Laden’s dead body, nor do I believe they should be shown. While seeing the photo(s) would appease the doubters here in the United States, the effect it would have in the Middle East is enough to warrant not showing them. These people will become even more inflamed if they see it and they will not hesitate to take it out on our military personnel serving over there. The safety of our people must take priority over curiosity seekers!

  • sammy

    I think Obama paid Osama a zillion rubles to hide his face forever so Obama could say his administration got rid of him.

  • http://none YVETTE STEWART


  • grumpy

    Some people still think that Elvis is alive! These conspiracy people will think that these pictures were altered. I believe that Howard Chud is correct. You cannot call our Special forces liars can you? We must not throw gasoline on a fire that can cause more harm to our troops in the Middle East.
    We should be asking Pakistan who built this compound, who owned this compound, and who keep it quiet about Bin Laden has been living there?

  • Joseph Mc Knight

    I think that the D.N.A. report should convince everyone . The body with a bullet hole in the face could be a body double .

  • M. O

    I think Obama tooke the correct decision by holding the pictures. Why are people eager to view them even after being told of the condition of Osamas death and how gruesome it was. Even though Osama was an evil and extremely wicked man we should not take comfort and search for amusment through the oictures of a dead man. America should simply take comfort over tha fact that he is dead, and attempt to move on from all the tragedies he has caused.

  • Howard Chud

    There is no reason to show the body. I have trust and faith in the men who did the job. Let’s move on and use the information me found to find other Al Qaeda operatives.

  • Betsy

    I believe that we as American Citizens have a right to see the dead body of the man that has cost this country so many lives. This man was pure evil and we deserve to see his body. The government had no problem showing Hussein’s body. I think we should be able to decide for ourselves if the pictures are gruesome. I am sure that there are many of the families out there that want to know for certain that the evil man has paid for his sins.

    • M. O

      Yes but hussien was executed and the sitiuation was entirely different. Sometimes matters such as this one should simply be left alone. And for people to move on rather than to degrade them selves to search for comfort through a dead mans body.

  • kelprod

    They should not show the images from right after the raid….but rather, show the images of him after his body was washed for burial. It will be less gruesome and will satisfy the naysayers. In typical Obama fashion, when approaching a fork in the road- he is taking the wrong one. At least he is consistent.

    • M.O

      The body was said to be buried in the ocean later on.

  • Anne

    Since when are we, the public, shielded from graphic details or pictures. Nothing was more graphic than 9/11. We saw every gory detail. I don’t believe there is any picture of Bid Laden – or maybe the picture of Bid Laden is with Obama’s birth certificate. lol

    • Barbara K. Lamb

      Some people just need to grow up!

  • Jennifer Yansick

    i want to see the proof that, that evil man is dead, I mean after all he has done…. WE ARE OWED THAT MUCH!!!1

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