East Bay News

Fremont's Little Kabul area reacts to Osama's death

Tuesday, May 03, 2011
Afghanistan flag Executive Director of CAIR Zahra Billoo President Obama announces Bin Ladens death

In Fremont's Little Kabul neighborhood, people are celebrating Osama bin Laden's death with a sense of new hope for their homeland. Fremont has the largest Afghan community in the United States. One woman Monday summed up what many there are feeling: that bin Laden's death closes one chapter in the war on terror, but it does not close the whole book.

The U.S. and Afghan flag both fly in Little Kabul but Monday there was just one universal sentiment.

"We've been waiting for this news for the past 10 years," restaurant owner Aziz Omar said.

Afghan immigrants like store owner Sam Saleh say bin Laden terrorized their homeland as much as he terrorized their adopted one.

"He killed a lot of our own people; we lost a lot of people because of bin Laden," Saleh said.

Inside the De Afghanan Kabob House, Omar breaths a sigh of relief.

"Afghans are such a peace loving people, but unfortunately these are radical Muslims and unfortunately they use that beautiful land and finally, finally it's over," he said.

But with a hope for peace in Afghanistan comes a plea for tolerance in the United States.

"We are afraid of retaliation, obviously, still; the Afghan community has experienced a significant amount of hate crime post 9/11," Afghan Coalition Center spokesperson Mizgon Darby said.

In Little Kabul, Muslims say their religion has been given a bad name and they blame bin Laden for that. At the Taqwa Islamic Center, there are prayers that this terrorist's death means no more innocent lives lost.

"We have a hope that inshallah, that means 'God willing,' a lot of senseless killings will stop; more senseless killings, like so many people in Afghanistan, Pakistan have been killed, innocent people," Taqwa Islamic Center volunteer Mola Sobayo said.

The Afghan Coalition Center is the largest Afghan American organization in the U.S. There, and around Little Kabul, there is now just one thing left that many Afghans want: proof.

"They wonder if he's really dead or not; they're hoping that he is, because again, Osama bin Laden was not a Muslim, he was a mass murderer," Darby said.

(Copyright ©2014 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

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Tags:
fremont, barack obama, osama bin laden, afghanistan war, terrorism, al qaida, east bay news, cecilia vega
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