University of Delaware students were celebrating in the streets early Monday when they learned about the death of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. A UD professor, meanwhile, says bin Laden’s killing has more symbolic than substantive value.
“From Tunisia, to Cairo to Yemen, to Syria we are seeing a new movement where people are seeking political change. They want regime change,” UD Professor of International Relations Muqtedar Khan says. “Bin Laden had already become irrelevant to Muslims present and future.”
If democracy is an important American value, now we have a tremendous shared political value. In that sense I think there is tremendous opportunity for improved US – Muslim relations,” Khan says.
Khan says bin Laden’s popularity had declined significantly in recent years, and the push for change is now more through democratic means. He believes individuals sympathetic to al-Qaeda’s cause may still try to strike back, perhaps initially in Pakistan. Khan also says President Obama’s election in 2008 had reduced anti-Americanism in the Muslim world, where former President George W. Bush was reviled for starting the war in Iraq.
Back in the streets of Newark crowds started to gather on Main Street just after the President told the nation about Bin Landen’s death. Crowds grew from the area of Main and Academy and paraded down Main Street until around 2:45. Newark police did ask for help from Delaware State Police, but the crowds were orderly and no arrests were made.