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Written by Student Rights on 3 May 2011 at 4pm

The World after Bin Laden

Osama_1392499cThe Events of May the 2nd 2011 will forever be remembered as the day that Osama Bin Laden, the man famed for his fanatical desire to massacre the ‘enemies of Islam’, was final brought to justice. An individual who appeared to be almost omnipresent, only appearing in brief videos or audio messages to reinforce his message, finally had his terrorising enigma shattered.  

Yesterday’s events proved that the United States and its allies are strong in their convictions. We now know that the Western world will not give up the fight against terror and that it will hunt from Abbottabad to Aldgate to find and bring these individuals to justice. Importantly the precedent that has been set by yesterday’s events must continue across the globe.  We only need look at the figure of Anwar al-Awlaki to see that he, despite not being quite as enigmatic as Bin-Laden, is carrying on the mantle of influencing extremists to carry out acts of terror. Al-Awalaki has certainly been a far more important figure than Bin Laden has in the last 18 months.

He has influenced many to carry out acts of terror across the globe and appears to have had direct contact with individuals such as Nidal Malik Hasan, the Fort Hood shooter, and in fact helped plan the attack. Awlaki has previously been represented in the United Kingdom through the Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS) and is considered responsible for the ‘YouTube’ radicalisation of the Kings College student Roshonara Choudhry.  

This is something that cannot be said for Bin Laden in recent years. It is clear now that he was almost entirely isolated; with no internet or telephone line he relied on couriers and was as a result reduced to a shadow of his former image as the figurehead of global jihad.  

The ultimate point behind the above comparison is that we would be wrong to view the killing of Bin Laden as the beginning of the end for Islamist terrorism. Jihadism is ultimately an ideology and not an organisation.  The ideology behind this global insurrection is something that cannot be defeated in conventional terms and this is why framing this conflict within the parameters of a conventional war is misleading. 

Without strong action however, another murderously zealous individual will fill the vacuum not long left by his predecessor and this conflict could carry on eternally.