Color photograph of Osama bin Laden, founder of militant Islamist group al-Qaeda.

Osama bin Laden

(1957 - 2011)

Osama bin Laden said of his cohorts’ dedication, “These young men—I pray that God will accept them and those of them who have died throughout this blessed jihad as martyrs—have left the material world and come to these mountains and this land…to face bombardment by American cruise missiles.” Three years later he and other Al Qaeda operatives perpetrated the attacks of September 11, 2001. Bin Laden was shot and killed by American forces inside his residential compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in 2011. 

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On May 2, 2011, Rear Admiral Charles Gaouette emailed Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Michael Mullen to report on the traditional Islamic procedures that were followed in the burial of Osama bin Laden. “The deceased’s body was washed (ablution) then placed in a white sheet. The body was placed in a weighted bag. A military officer read prepared religious remarks, which were translated into Arabic by a native speaker. After the words were complete, the body was placed on a prepared flat board, tipped up, whereupon the deceased’s body slid into the sea.”

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