Screenshot 2014-03-05 15.40.10

Death of Osama Bin Laden on Wikipedia

So the man’s dead. Quite an event. As Europeans are waking up and catching up with the big news, one question is: who’s got the best coverage? Believe it or not, but Wikipedia is one of the candidates.

In less than five hours and in an impressive 400 edits, a dedicated team of self-appointed authors and editors has come up with a pretty good (and protected) article. Of course it is largely a compilation of press articles and official announcements. But the result has more detail and better sourcing that most news stories.

One interesting bit on the date of Bin Laden’s death that I haven’t seen in The New York Times‘s story:

On May 1, shortly before the official announcement, George Stephanopoulos on ABC News reported that Osama bin Laden was “likely killed in northwest Pakistan several days ago.” Brian Ross elaborated, “That’s right. Several days ago there was an attack. Most recently there have been killed about 20 to 25 suspected al-Qaeda figures, and according to one intelligence source he was among those killed. This was several days ago. It is likely they have done a DNA match at this time, before they would make such an announcement.”

We’ll see if that’s the case. All this will be dated soon, of course — this is also a good moment to check out Twitter. @joshuafoust, for instance, is on top of the story, retweeting a bunch of interesting stuff.


4 thoughts on “Death of Osama Bin Laden on Wikipedia

  1. David Betz says:

    I found Wikipedia was also the best news source in the immediate aftermath of the 7/7 bombings. I remember being called up by a BBC journalist asking what was going on–I was looking at the BBC website at the time. It was the day I gave up any thought of punditry. I switched off the BBC and looked at wikipedia. If all you want is a detailed update on what has been said already it’s a very fine source.

  2. charles k. dabney says:

    So much information…so timely presented. Makes me wonder if we’ll ever get the truth. My thoughts…
    1. Yes, ABC’s Stepanopoulus (w/Brian Ross) did report that OBL had been killed days before Obama’s “official” report said otherwise.
    2. Obama, then specifically said the order to proceed with the mission was given Sunday morning when news sources state earlier.
    3. Obamamedia reports OBL was armed, used a woman as a “human shield” and was eventually shot in a “firefight” (as it turns out, he was unarmed, with no human shield, and the last time I checked a “firefight” with only one side armed isn’t much of a fight.
    4. Quick burial…at SEA?? Check this quote from ~Eowyn.

    “Administration official says the body would be handled according to Islamic practice and tradition. That practice calls for the body to be buried within 24 hours. Finding a country willing to accept the remains of the world’s most wanted terrorist would have been difficult, the official said. So the U.S. decided to bury him at sea. The official, who spoke Monday on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive national security matters, did not immediately say where that occurred.”

    Alas, the Wikipedia article on “Islamic Funeral” does not say that Muslim practice calls for the body to be buried within 24 hours. This is what Wiki says:

    “sharia (Islamic religious law) calls for burial of the body, preceded by a simple ritual involving bathing and shrouding the body, followed by salah (prayer). Cremation of the body is forbidden. Burial rituals should normally take place as soon as possible and include:

    ■Bathing the dead body, except in extraordinary circumstances….
    ■Enshrouding dead body in a white cotton or linen cloth.
    ■Funeral prayer.

    ■Burial of the dead body in a grave.
    ■Positioning the deceased so that the head is faced towards Mecca.”

    In other words, Sharia law does NOT mandate that the dead must be buried within 24 hours. However, Sharia law DOES mandate that the corpse be buried in a grave, that is, in the ground instead of at sea. I can think of at least one reason why Muslims don’t bury their dead at sea. The dead is supposed to be buried with the head facing towards Mecca — something that just can’t be done if the body is dumped into the sea.

    In fact, according to, Sharia law specifically instructs the following:

    “620. * It is obligatory to bury a dead body in the ground, so deep that its smell does not come out and the beasts of prey do not dig it out, and, if there is a danger of such beasts digging it out then the grave should be made solid with bricks, etc.

    621. If it is not possible to bury a dead body in the ground, it may be kept in a vault or a coffin, instead.“

    In other words, what we are told by the Obama administration — that bin Laden’s body was “buried at sea” to abide by Muslim traditions — is bupkus, A LIE.

    Lastly, since when does the United States bury the body of an enemy combatant in accordance with the enemy’s religious strictures?



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