Osama's Islam-violence link weighs heavy on Muslims

Mon May 2, 2011 5:10pm GMT

* Bin Laden linked Islam and violence

* Peaceful Muslims struggle to shake off suspicions

* Arab revolts push religious factor into background

By Tom Heneghan, Religion Editor

PARIS, May 2 (Reuters) - Osama bin Laden's radical Islamism has had a devastating impact on Muslims around the world by linking their faith with violence and using religious texts to justify mass killings.

His "jihadist" strategy has claimed the lives of many thousands of Muslims in Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan, as well as in the United States, Europe and Africa.

It has also tarred Muslims with suspicion and helped feed prejudice against them. Especially in the West, many Muslims felt pressured to denounce a man they never identified with.

"The link he made between violence and Islam made people think this was a religion of terrorists," said Dalil Boubakeur, rector of the Grand Mosque of Paris.   Continued...

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