Not surprisingly, people in the Taliban-controlled areas along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border have turned out -- some of their own volition, many under duress -- to mourn Osama bin Laden's death and to threaten the United States and its allies. Yet, as a Pew survey documented, the idolization once lavished upon bin Laden seems to have waned in recent years among Muslim polities. The sociopolitical change now being sought by Middle Eastern masses protesting their countries' secular and religious autocracies is a far cry from the caliphate that bin Laden envisioned.
Islamist militant groups like Hamas in Gaza have condemned the circumstances of bin Laden's demise. Indeed, some Arabs wish he had been brought to public trial. Yet, in the immediate wake of his death, few deny that bin Laden merited his fate.
Indeed, across the Middle East, bin Laden's elimination has been met with relief that his reign of terror has ended and with the hope that terrorism's ties to Islam will abate. Even Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood admitted publicly that neither al-Qaida nor its founder and his violence represent Islam. The Muslim Brotherhood's about-face is especially noteworthy because Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaida's second-in-command for the past decade and its presumptive new leader, was once closely linked to the Egyptian Salafist movement.