When This Cruel War Is Over

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Taylor sends us this from the Free Press:


Muslims and Arab-Americans across metro Detroit -- greatly impacted by the war on terrorism over the past decade -- rejoiced at the news that Osama bin Laden was killed. "The world is definitely a better place without the patron of all terrorists," said Imam Hassan Al-Qazwini, head of the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn, the largest mosque in a city that has the highest concentration of Arab-Americans in the U.S. Qazwini called bin Laden "the world's most infamous thug." 

"It is so comforting to see justice being served while the families of the thousands of his victims rejoice," he said.

Osama Bin Laden Stories like this strike me, all at once, as necessary and insulting. It's like Obama needing to show his birth certificate to be official. Muslims must show their joy at Bin Laden's death to be official. The problem isn't the joy, but that the joy isn't assumed. The "enemy within" narrative lurks beneath the need to point out that Bin Laden was a killer of Muslims, or that Bin Laden doesn't represent "true" Islam. 

That narrative is fed by this sort of foolishness, We'll know that this era is at an end, not when some figurehead is dead, but when we don't have to trot out Muslims to counter the hate of xenophobes.

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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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