PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Ever since September 11, 2001, it has been a struggle of misunderstanding for Muslims in America.
“I’ve pretty much grown up hearing about terrorism against every kind of Muslim, Pakistani, Arab,” says Kamran Butt, a junior at Temple University and a member of the school’s Pakistani Student Association.
Butt says the death of Osama bin Laden is a chance to bridge the gap between Muslims and non-Muslims.
“These folks are as kind and as gentle as the people walking around in this university,” said Butt.
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As the nation rejoices at the death of the world’s most wanted terrorist, Muslims celebrate as well. They were victims too, not only on 9/11, but in the years that followed.
“American foreign policy is in large part a reaction to what [bin Laden] did and you could even say the blood of many Muslims is on his hands for what he stood for,” says Marc Manley, an Imam who teachers and lectures around the city.
He says Muslims suffered under the shadow of bin Laden, arguably the world’s most famous Muslim.
“We would certainly hope to move beyond that cloud or that heavy weight of bin Laden that’s been kind of like an albatross around our necks for the last nine and a half years,” says Manley.
Muslims see Osama bin Laden’s death as an opportunity to educate others about the beliefs and culture of the world’s second largest religion.
Reported by Oren Liebermann, CBS 3