It may not be true that Osama bin Laden is dead and buried at sea, according to two Pakistani TV stations and some Americans, who feel he is still alive.
U.S. President Barack Obama announced on Sunday night that dreaded terrorist and al Qaeda leader bin Laden was killed in a firefight with U.S. forces led by the CIA. bin Laden was reportedly killed - shot on the head - in a mansion that was stormed by U.S. forces in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
Soon thereafter, to respect Islamic rituals and practice of burying a body in 24 hours, the U.S. forces smuggled his body out of Pakistan and buried it at sea. A senior U.S. official said that as it was difficult in finding a country where his body could be buried, they decided to bury him at sea.
The AFP reported Pakistan television stations as saying that the lower half of Laden's face in the circulated death photo (source of photo unknown) is from one of his handout photos. The upper half of his face may be from another picture of dead body. A member of the AFP photo lab analyst examined the image and confirmed that in the death photo, the beard and the lower part of the image were most probably copied from one of bin Laden's handout photos and pasted onto the image of a different dead body.
Even some conspiracy theorists believe bin Laden is alive and well as neither the Talibans nor al Qaeda has come out with an official statement that bin Laden is dead.
One reveler in Time Square quipped that this is just a well-crafted media propaganda to boost Obama's flagging ratings before elections.
If Osama was really been killed and buried at sea, why aren't clear evidence being produced? Why isn't the government showing us clear photos or videos of his dead body? Is he really dead? I doubt whether his body has been thrown into the sea, the reveler, who identified himself only as 'Nick' said.
Meanwhile, even if it is true that bin Laden is truly dead and truly buried at sea, it has failed to appease Islamic scholars, who claim that only those who died at sea, away from land, can be buried at sea.
As bin Laden died on land, he should have been buried on land, according to Islamic rites, that include placing the body in a grave with the head pointed toward the holy city of Mecca. Moreover, Muslim prayers have to be recited and the body need to be ritually washed, as is usually required by Islamic law. And, even if the body is buried at sea, it needs to be wrapped in a shroud and buried only after a brief Islamic service is held, the scholars said.
The scholars feel the Americans have humiliated the Muslims by disregarding Islamic practice and customs.
The Americans want to humiliate Muslims through this burial, and I don't think this is in the interest of the U.S. administration, Omar Bakri Mohammed, a radical cleric in Lebanon, said.
It is not acceptable and it is almost a crime to throw the body of a Muslim man into the sea. The body of bin Laden should have been handed over to his family to look for a country or land to bury him, another Islamic scholar from Iraq, Abdul-Sattar al-Janabi, who preaches at Baghdad's famous Abu Hanifa mosque, said.
They can say they buried him at sea, but they cannot say they did it according to Islam, Mohammed al-Qubaisi, Dubai's grand mufti, said about bin Laden's burial. Sea burials are permissible for Muslims in extraordinary circumstances. This is not one of them.
Another Muslim scholar also said a simple solution would have been to hand over bin Laden's body to his family or bury him in an unmarked grave.
What the Americans have done is forbidden by Islam and could alienate Muslims further and anger them. It could trigger a retaliation, the scholar said.
OTHER UNANSWERED QUESTIONS
-> bin Laden's eye-catching mansion was around 1000 yards away from what is Pakistan's version of West Point military academy. Did Pakistan intelligence really not know that bin Laden was living in their midst? If Pakistan knew of bin Laden's whereabouts, did Pakistan double-cross United States by not sharing the information even after receiving billions of dollars in aid?
-> A U.S. national security official said This was a kill operation. Why would the U.S. forces want a kill operation when bin Laden would be a million times more valuable if captured alive? And if indeed it was a kill operation, why did the U.S. forces give bin Laden a chance to surrender, an offer which bin Laden supposedly refused, as reported by different media?
-> U.S. officials say the firefight lasted about 40 minutes. According to Muslim practice, a body should be buried in 24 hours. In the case of Saddam Hussein, his sons' bodies were embalmed and not buried within 24 hours. According to John Brennan, counter-terrorism advisor, the burial of bin Laden's remains was done in strict conformance with Islamic precepts and practice. Why would U.S. forces act with such urgency and respect in burying the body of a person, who has killed over 2,500 Americans and snatched away the dreams of millions of others? Is it really true that the U.S. forces would simply bury the body of the world's most wanted man at sea?
-> Assuming that bin Laden's body was buried at sea, why did the U.S. forces act so hurriedly? They had 23 hours and 20 minutes to do away with his body - sufficient time for them to even transport the body to the United States, confirm the identity of the body properly and then dispose of the body.
-> Assuming bin Laden's body was indeed buried at sea, why can't the U.S. government release any official photo/video clip of bin Laden's body being buried at sea?
-> Assuming that U.S. forces had buried the body of bin Laden at sea, what did they do with the bodies of his son(s) and brother(s) and other terrorists who were killed in the raid? Were those bodies also buried at sea or laid in unmarked graves or brought to the United States?
Indeed, reports of bin Laden being killed and his body being disposed off so suddenly and quickly when the U.S. could not even find his trace for nearly a decade are somewhat hard to digest.
What do you think? Is Osama bin Laden really dead? Or could the U.S. forces even capture bin Laden? Has bin Laden really been buried at sea? Or is he (perhaps captured and alive even) somewhere in a secret military compound in the United States? Leave your comments below.