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Sources: Don Mrozek, 785-532-0377,;;
Craig Stapley, 785-532-6362,;
Farid Al-Salim, 785-532-5044,;
and Daryl Youngman, 785-532-7409 or
News release prepared by: Greg Tammen, 785-532-2535,

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


MANHATTAN -- Four Kansas State University members are available to talk about the following in relation to the death of Osama bin Laden:

* Military history/relations and handling of bodies during war
As a military historian, Don Mrozek, professor of history, researches and teaches about the treatment of and respect for the deceased during war.

Mrozek said it's important to show that bin Laden's body was buried at sea in a courteous manner sufficiently in line with Muslim practice. Muslim tradition requires the body to be washed, wrapped in a white sheet and buried within 24 hours. In doing this, it shows U.S. Muslim military personnel and citizens and non-U.S. residents that Islam is not the enemy. This decision to comply with Islamic expectations is also affecting the decision to release photographs and videos documenting bin Laden's death.

President Barack Obama's decision to deploy a special operations unit to kill bin Laden rather than using drones has made many in Pakistan and other countries rethink what American leaders may choose to do if they feel sufficiently motivated, Mrozek said.

Mrozek is also a faculty member of K-State's Institute for Military History and 20th Century Studies, and is particularly interested in civil-military relations, the interplay between societal development and military institutions and American notions about the nature of war.

He can be contacted at 785-532-0377 or

* Terrorism
Craig Stapley, assistant professor of political science and director of the security studies program, researches terrorism -- specifically the targeting priorities of terrorist groups.

Stapley said bin Laden's death should have no effect on the ongoing war on terror and U.S. involvement in Afghanistan, aside from a short-term increase in the risk of a attack. Al-Qaida leaders believe a retaliatory attack would reassert relevance.

America's time in Afghanistan eliminated the middle level of al-Qaida's once fairly hierarchical structure. Because of this, al-Qaida evolved and has become a "network of networks or a franchise," Stapley said. Other groups -- like al-Qaida of the Arabian Peninsula, al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, Al-Shabab in Somalia, etc. -- have taken the al-Qaida brand for their own independent franchises. For many of these groups, bin Laden was more of an ideological leader than a daily operations director, meaning his death has little affect in the war on terror.

Stapley can be contacted at 785-532-6362 or

* Islam and the Middle East
Farid Al-Salim, assistant professor of history, specializes in and teaches about politics, religion, social life and popular culture in the modern Middle East and Islamic world.

Al-Salim can be contacted at 785-532-5044 or

* Cultural understandings
Daryl Youngman, an associate professor at K-State Libraries, works with educating and training U.S. military and non-governmental organization members on interacting with the Afghan culture once overseas.

Youngman's work is focused on understanding the Afghani culture, which relates to the U.S. military's counterinsurgency, or COIN, efforts. This includes understanding societal dynamics like Mullahs, jihad and seeing religion as a political power.

Youngman can be contacted at 785-532-7409 or