Some Bay Area Muslims on Monday hailed the killing of Osama bin Laden, expressing hope that the death of the 9/11 mastermind will lead to a lessening of anti-Muslim sentiment in the country.
Farid Younos, who hosts a religious and cultural show on Afghan television in the Bay Area and who lectures at Cal State East Bay in Hayward, said he was "delighted" that "such a criminal who was against all norms of civility" was caught and killed after 10 years.
"He did all of this under the name of Islam, which was ridiculous," said Younos, who describes himself as a moderate Muslim under verbal attack by a circle of fundamentalists in his own Afghan community.
Zahra Billoo, executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations-San Francisco Bay Area, said there is a "somber, grateful feeling right now. American Muslims since 9/11 have been incredibly vocal in terms of condemning terrorism."
However, Billoo and several civil rights activists had hoped that with bin Laden's death, the hatred toward Muslims would cease. On Monday morning in Portland, Maine, though, phrases that read "Osama today Islam tomorow (sic)" was scrawled in paint on the side of a mosque.
"We thought we wouldn't hear about it this time," Billoo said. "We still hope this will be the beginning of a turning tide."
She said many Muslims were especially appreciative of President Barack Obama's statements in his address to the nation Sunday night that the United States never had a problem with Islam as a religion and his call for the country to unify.
"It's unfortunate that we need to say it over and over again," Billoo said. "But we are grateful to Obama for saying it and other high-placed officials."
Younos took a dig at Pakistan, saying the intelligence community there "knew very well where Osama has been." And he also said there are extremely conservative Muslim voices in the Bay Area who supported bin Laden.
"Knowing the Afghan community, there are people who like what he did," Younos said, "but would never disclose this openly because of what the FBI might do to them."