On radical Islamist websites, tributes started to pour in for Osama bin Laden, the Al Qaeda mastermind, who was killed by the U.S. military in Pakistan. The accolades illustrated Bin Laden’s enduring appeal in extremist circles.
On one radical website, called Al Hasahisa, the messages paid tribute to Bin Laden’s legacy as the man who launched the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States and built up networks of jihadists around the globe under the umbrella name Al Qaeda.
“He was like a renewer of Islam. He was eminent not only as a Mujahid [Islamic warrior], but as a religious scholar,” Muntasir Taj wrote online. “So, it is not strange that all of Islam is saying eulogies and sending condolences. Even if he is dead, his sweet-smelling reputation is not. He was like a father for all, he was the Imam of all, and all times.”
Photos: The death of Osama bin Laden
A site called Jazeeratalk.net propagated the theory that Bin Laden wasn’t even dead. It compared old pictures of him with a photo of his corpse and concluded the latest images were digitally altered. One Facebook page dedicated to Bin Laden’s memory included promises of revenge. There, a man, named Ayam Omry, wrote “You worshippers of the Cross, don’t be happy and celebrate a lot. Death will invade you in your homes.”
A notorious Al Qaeda ideologue who goes by the name Asad Jihad2, the Lion of Jihad, weighed in with an online eulogy counseling patience, according to the Associated Press. “Woe to his enemies. By God, we will avenge the killing of the Sheik of Islam," he posted. "Those who wish that Jihad has ended or weakened, I tell them: Let us wait a little bit."
Jihad2, who often comments on religious and doctrinal disputes for Islamic fighters, urged true believers to bide their time. "The battle between us and international tyranny is long and will not be stopped by the martyrdom of our beloved one, the lion of Islam," he added. "How many martyrdom seekers have been born today?"
On at least one militant website, arguments broke out over Bin Laden’s legacy. The arguments showed what a divisive figure he had become since the Sept. 11 attacks and that day's decade-long aftermath of bloodshed across Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
“Go to hell, Go to hell Qaeda, nobody is sorry for you,” Hiqooq Ensan wrote on a website called Palestine. His words prompted several heated defenses of Bin Laden.
One user praised Al Qaeda for “launching harmful strikes to the American enemy” and then warned Essan: “You should be afraid of God and you will be punished for the bad words you are saying about Qaeda and Bin Laden.”
Full coverage: U.S. kills Osama bin Laden
Bin Laden had been losing support in Islamic world
Osama may have tried to use wife as shield, officials say
-- Salar Jaff in Baghdad and Ned Parker in Cairo
Photo: A television news broadcast in Kuta, Bali, reports on the death of Osama bin Laden. A radical Indonesian Islamist group on May 2, hailed assassinated the dead Al Qaeda leader as a "martyr" who championed Islam against America. Credit: Sonny Tumbelaka / AFP /Getty Images