HIGH-profile Dewsbury politician Baroness Sayeeda Warsi says the death of Osama bin Laden will be ‘a huge relief to millions of people’.
On the shooting of the Al Qaeda terror chief, Baroness Warsi said: “Both mankind and religion will be better off without him.”
She urged short-term vigilance in the aftermath of the killing by crack US forces. And she warned against casting suspicion on the whole of Pakistan because bin Laden was tracked down to an affluent town in the country.
This view was echoed by the Kirklees Faith Network which appealed for people not to be stereotyped. “We must not use the actions of a tiny minority to wrongly tarnish the majority,” said a spokesman.
Baroness Warsi, the first Muslim woman to serve in the Cabinet, said: “Although we must remain vigilant in the short-term, I hope this will make the world a safer and more cohesive place.”
She said Pakistan was a country of contrasts. “I have made four official visits to Pakistan bince taking office last May,” she said. “I have learned that there are many Pakistans.
“There are the people, tens of thousands of whom have been killed by terrorists; there is the military, who have also lost many thousands of lives fighting extremism; and there is the democratically-elected government whose prime minister lost his own wife to terrorism.
“Although the fact that Osama bin Laden had been hiding in such a well-known place inside Pakistan may suggest that someone could have known of his presence, it would be wrong to cast the whole country under a shroud of suspicion.
“Bin Laden was responsible for some of the world’s worst terrorist atrocities. He wasn’t just the enemy of the West, he did more damage to the reputation of Islam than anyone else in recent times.
“He also killed more Muslims than anyone of any other faith. “That tells us all we need to know about his warped ideology.”
The Kirklees Faith Network hopes things will calm down globally after bin Laden’s death.
“But the harsh reality is these violent extremists are part of a long chain that is not easy to break,” said the network spokesman. “Even Prophet Mohammad predicted their rise and described them as ‘the horns of Satan’.
“Locally, there is a need for everyone not to stereotype. The Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa used Bible verses to bring misery to black people by supporting apartheid. Yet no one labelled all Christianity’s followers as racists or extremists.
“As residents of Kirklees, we should adopt the same approach when looking at the Islamic faith.”