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Osama Bin Laden's death brings relief to Southland families

May 2, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
People nationwide, including those in Southern California, are expressing relief that the hunt for Osama Bin Laden is finally over.

Southern California reaction

The news of Bin Laden's death was on the tip of most tongues Monday. The Al Qaeda mastermind was killed in a mansion in Pakistan by a U.S. forces ground attack.

Some said they're satisfied that justice has been served, but there was also some concern that terror groups may ratchet up their efforts in a way to avenge Bin Laden's killing.

Sunday night, word of Bin Laden's death took little time to spread around the world. Celebrations broke out in Southern California, including Hollywood and at the Federal Building in Westwood.

"I think it's wonderful. I think it's too bad it didn't happen sooner, but I think it's great. We just need to be diligent in all areas," said Pasadena resident Madeline Weber.

For 12th grade government students at Norte Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, the news of Bin Laden's death was a defining moment in their lives.

"When Obama gave his speech, my whole family gathered around the TV," said student Arianna Vasseghi. "It was one of those moments, where we all, like American patriotism. You are proud to be an American."

However, not all were proud of the way people expressed that patriotism outside the White House.

"To me, last night watching it on the news, it was like we won a football game or we beat our rivals and everyone is like we're number one," said student Jeffrey Conroy. "It might be disrespectful."

But the end of Bin Laden doesn't mean the end to terrorism. Several people said they're worried Al Qaeda may step up their efforts to retaliate for hunting down their leader.

"That doesn't mean he's the only one that's running that whole deal he was doing in Afghanistan. I'm pretty sure he's going to have other leaders that are going to follow him and they're going to come back for revenge," said Woodland Hills resident Amir Pourzanjani. "He wasn't a one man job. It was a whole country behind him, Afghanistan."

Loscal Muslims react to Bin Laden's death

Bin Laden's death was welcome news to those in the Muslim community, some of whom were targeted following the Sept. 11 attacks.

The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) said it greeted news of Bin Laden's death with an immense sense of relief. They also said they feel gratitude toward the president, his national security team and for the forces on the ground behind the mission that finally brought Bin Laden to justice.

MPAC said the Al Qaeda leader violated the sacred teachings of Islam and was not a Muslim leader. They said he was a murderer of countless Muslims and non Muslims.

"The death of Bin Laden is a victory not only for America but for Muslims worldwide, who had largely rejected his bankrupt message and have viewed Bin Laden as a disgrace to Muslims worldwide and as a perversion of our core faith values," said Edina Lekovic of MPAC. "So today is a moment to stop and feel gratitude but also to continue to remember the victims of Sept. 11 and the victims of terrorism worldwide."

Lekovic also said local Muslims will continue to stand with their fellow Americans and remain vigilant against any threats. She said seven out of the last 10 domestic terror plots have been foiled because of a tip coming from a Muslim.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) also said it was relieved that the Al Qaeda mastermind is no longer a direct threat to the United States.

CAIR leaders have said repeatedly since the 9/11 attacks that Bin Laden did not represent the interests of Muslims or Islam.

President Barack Obama called Bin Laden a mass murderer of Muslims in his address to the nation on Sunday night. The president said Bin Laden's death should be welcomed by all who believe in peace and human dignity.

CAIR's spokesperson Munira Syeda agrees with the president. She hopes Bin Laden's death won't trigger more terror attacks, especially when progress is being made in North Africa and the Middle East.

"Muslims worldwide have embraced democracy. Muslims across the world have rejected extremism, and they have rejected repression," said Syeda. "So this is actually good news at a good time."

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said residents need to remain on guard against those who still want to do harm. He released a statement, saying, "We must also recognize that members of the Muslim community are and have been our partners against terrorism. They have worked side by side with us for years, and we have stood together against hatred and united as one nation against terrorism."

Members of law enforcement were slated to join MPAC in Highland Park later Monday.

O.C. father finds closure in Bin Laden's death

An Orange County honor student was on one of the planes that plowed into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11.

Lisa Frost's flight from Boston was diverted by terrorists into the South Tower. Her father, Tom Frost, says he's found closure now that Bin Laden is dead.

"I just keep saying to Lisa, 'Sweetheart, we got him. We got him,'" said the Rancho Santa Margarita resident. "It's all I ever wanted."

Frost sent thousands of buttons with his 22-year-old daughter's picture to U.S. troops as a reminder.

"He is not in heaven, he did not go to Promised Land," Frost said of Bin Laden. "Anyone like that who had that much hatred, I cannot imagine that there is any God out there that would accept him into his eternal palace."

Frost says his daughter graduated summa cum laude with two degrees.

Riverside residents: it was 'long time coming'

The Riverside National Cemetery is a somber reminder of America's war on terror. Among the thousands of graves, there lay 81 men and women killed in action during operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, two wars born out of the Sept. 11 attacks.

"It's been a long time coming, but thank goodness it finally happened," said Riverside resident Aja Dencarnaco of Bin

"Considering what the man has done, it's justice served, if there is ever such justice for all the people that have died at his hands," said another Riverside resident, Steve Rush.

Some are worried Al Qaeda may try to avenge their leader's death.

"We know it is not going to be the end of it," said Larry Stone of Moreno Valley.