religion | May 01, 2011

Burying Osama bin Laden: Stephen Prothero on America's Elegant Solution

Responding to news of Osama bin Laden’s death, which spread late Sunday night, world religions expert Stephen Prothero posted a short article on why the U.S.’s decision to bury bin Laden’s body at sea is a tactful and elegant solution. At CNN’s Belief Blog, where he’s a regular contributor, Prothero writes, "One of the perverse promises of Islamic terrorism is that it can transform ordinary people into martyrs for Allah. So I did not want to see bin Laden’s burial place turned into an Al Qaeda Mecca — a pilgrimage site for Muslim extremists and an assembly line for martyrs to come." Prothero adds: "[burial at sea] is permissible under Islamic law, and it does not provide any one location that followers can turn into a shrine to global terrorism."

Stephen Prothero, who is a Daily Show and Colbert Report regular, is often asked by the media to comment on breaking news concerning world religions. In his New York Times bestseller Religious Literacy, Prothero calls for the mandatory teaching of world religions—simply because, without a basic knowledge of the world’s major religions, we are ill-equipped to understand some of the biggest political, military, and social issues of our time. In his new talk, "God is Not One," Prothero debunks the dangerous myth that all religions are basically “different paths up the same mountain.” The sooner we can understand the difference between religions, he says, the more we can figure out how to achieve religious tolerance.

Read more about religions speaker Stephen Prothero

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