I would not want readers to miss the comments of Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal as reported by AFP on the death of, and last rites for, Osama bin Laden:
Khaled Meshaal, head of the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, on Thursday criticised the method used by US special forces to kill Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden and his burial at sea.
Meshaal called on the West to “recognise the atrocity of the American raid and the burial of [bin Laden’s body] at sea,” in remarks to AFP in the Egyptian capital.
“Arabs and Muslims are human beings and the West should treat them as such, regardless of whether they are partisans or opponents of Osama bin Laden.”
Soon after bin Laden’s death was announced early on Monday, Hamas’s government chief in Gaza, Ismail Haniya, said: “We condemn any killing of a holy warrior or of a Muslim and Arab person, and we ask God to bestow his mercy upon him.”
That drew a sharp reaction from the United States, with State Department spokesman Mark Toner calling Haniya’s remarks “outrageous.”
“Bin Laden was a murderer and terrorist,” said Toner, whose administration has said the Saudi-born Islamist militant was buried at sea to ensure his final resting place was not turned into a shrine for extremists.
Senior clerics in Egypt have also said the method violated Islamic rites.
“Islam does not accept burial at sea, only on land,” said Mahmud Azar, adviser to Ahmed al-Tayeb who heads the most prestigious institution in Sunni Islam, Cairo’s Al-Azhar.
The rule “applies whether the person is assassinated or dies of natural causes,” he told AFP.
How much evidence does the Obama administration need that Hamas is an enemy of the United States? So nice that he’s able to condemn the United States for failing to meet his standards while pursuing other interests with his new friends in Cairo. Is anyone paying attention?
I wonder if Obama administration counterterrorism chief John Brennan has felt any consternation over the disapproval of the treatment of bin Laden’s remains expressed by the Islamic authorities quoted by AFP. On Sunday Brennan proudly proclaimed that bin Laden’s last rites had been “handled in accordance with Islamic practice and tradition. This is something that we take very seriously. And so therefore this is being handled in an appropriate manner.”
I took Brennan at face value in these comments. In the event, Brennan appears to have pleased neither critics of the attitude expressed in his remarks nor the Muslim religious authorities. Maybe the problem is that Brennan was unable to go the whole hog, so to speak. in having the United States armed forces honor the applicable Islamic requirements. Brennan certainly seems to deserve whatever credit accrues to having tried his best under the circumstances, even if it wasn’t good enough.
UPDATE: Lee Smith has now posted an examination of the burial issue in greater depth than I have seen anywhere else.