Killing left a 'very uncomfortable feeling' -- Archbishop
Published 06/05/2011 | 05:00
The Archbishop of Canterbury yesterday said the killing of an unarmed Osama bin Laden by US special forces left him with a "very uncomfortable feeling".
Dr Rowan Williams also criticised the way in which the Obama administration has appeared to change its account of the raid.
Asked about the moral justification of the al-Qa'ida mastermind's death in Pakistan, he said: "I think the killing of an unarmed man is always going to leave a very uncomfortable feeling because it doesn't look as if justice is seen to be done."
He added: "I think it's also true that the different versions of events that have emerged in recent days have not done a great deal to help.
"I don't know the full details any more than anyone else does. But I do believe that in such circumstances, when we are faced with someone who was manifestly a war criminal in terms of the atrocities inflicted, it is important that justice is seen to be served."
Dr Williams is the latest religious leader to comment on the ethics of the killing. On Monday, Father Federico Lombardi, a Vatican spokesman, said that while Christians "do not rejoice" over a death, it serves to remind them of "each person's responsibility before God and men".
"Osama Bin Laden, as everyone knows, had the grave responsibility of having spread division and hate among people, causing the deaths of an innumerable number of people."
Farooq Murad, the secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain said the killing was "unfortunate" in denying the families of his victims the chance to see him brought to justice in a courtroom, but added: "Few will mourn the reported death of Osama Bin Laden, least of all Muslims."
"The actions of his movement, which have no basis in the teachings of Islam, have led to the pursuit of unjust wars and untold suffering," he said.