Local Muslim leaders reacted positively to Osama bin Laden's death and expressed hope that it will improve the daily lives of American Muslims who have been viewed with suspicion and fear for a decade.
Imam Abdulhakim Mohamed of the Al-Hedayah Islamic Center Fort Worth stayed up much of the night watching the reaction locally and around the world.
"The president's statements carried a lot of positive hope, especially where he said Americans are not at war with Muslims," said Mohamed, who added that he still fears retaliation from al Qaeda.
"What I fear most is for the troops in Afghanistan. They've been heavily targeted and experienced so many losses recently. This will only fuel more anger with the Taliban. I would hope they're very prepared for what might come."
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Imam Zia Sheikh of the Islamic Center of Irving issued a news release on the center's website, saying he hopes that it starts a new chapter for American Muslims.
"Despite our condemnation of terrorism and terrorists like Osama bin Laden, our lives have been negatively impacted in every way, from extra scrutiny at airports and immigration, to difficulty in attaining and keeping employment, as well as simply not being allowed to live our lives while enjoying the freedoms and liberty of this great nation," Sheikh wrote. "So the announcement on May 1, 2011, almost ten years after 9-11, that Osama bin Laden has been killed, gives us renewed hope that we can restart to live our lives as we did prior to the tragedy."
Police in North Texas and around the country are readying themselves as news spreads of bin Laden's death.
Lt. Paul Henderson, a Fort Worth police spokesman, said neighborhood officers will visit places where Muslims gather in coming weeks "to provide visibility and assistance."
Arlington police are conducting "directed patrols" of area mosques, and the department encourages residents to report suspicious activity, spokeswoman Tiara Richard said.
Jamal Qaddura, a spokesman for the Tarrant County Muslim community, said it is a time for celebration and saw no reason to expect any backlash against local Muslims. He said he was concerned about reports that bin Laden was buried at sea but felt no sympathy for how his body was treated.
"If you take him from soil to the sea, that is not the proper way to do it -- but they should have thrown him into hell as far as I'm concerned," Qaddura said.
Even though Wadih el Hage, bin Laden's former secretary, who was convicted in a 1998 U.S. Embassy bombing, once lived in Arlington and worked at an east Fort Worth tire shop, Qaddura said there are no bin Laden sympathizers in Tarrant County's Muslim community.
"I am not aware of anybody that supports bin Laden and I know just about everybody in the community," Qaddura said. "Nobody supports his ideology."
Staff writer Aman Batheja contributed to this report.