Merced, California,-area Muslims relieved to hear of U.S. action

A sense of relief.

That's the sentiment some local Muslims feel about the news of Osama bin Laden's death in Abbottabad, Pakistan, on Sunday.

"It's a feeling of relief that we have been trying to overcome the Taliban for 10 years, and it's finally happened," said Monir Ahmed, who has lived in Merced for a decade.

If the al-Qaida leader's death "doesn't totally eliminate it, it weakens the organization drastically," Ahmed said.

Bin Laden, whom the United States had been tracking since the late 1990s, was called the mastermind behind the Sept. 11 attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people at the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon and in Shanksville, Pa.

Imam Yasin Alabbadi, former imam of the Islamic Center of Merced, said Islam doesn't give anyone a blank check on behavior. "This guy killed 3,000 people," Alabbadi said. "He killed a lot of people, in the airplanes, in the Pentagon. Nobody has that right. When I saw the news yesterday, I was happy to hear the president say that we're not the enemies of Muslims, we're the enemies of terrorists around the world."

Read the complete story at