Don't jump to conclusions on Fort Hood shootings
Islam bashing is fully justified, 100%
Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan is a jiggle Jihadi
Hasan kept his inner life well-concealed
Red flags at Fort Hood
Army to probe whether it missed warning signs before Fort Hood massacre
Visiting Maj. Nidal Hasan's Hospital
Muslims face Insults but no widespread backlash
By Joshunda Sanders
November 17, 2009
Central Texas Muslims say increased knowledge of Islam since 9/11 attacks helped deter anti-Muslim sentiments.
When the suspect in the Nov. 5 Fort Hood shooting was identified as Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, Muslims all over the country braced for widespread retaliation similar to what they saw after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
In Texas alone, the days following the 2001 attacks saw three mosques vandalized: a Molotov cocktail was thrown against the side of the Islamic Society of Denton, at least six bullets were fired through windows of the Islamic Center of Irving and a window was smashed at an Islamic center in Carrollton.
But no such widespread backlash has come after this month's shootings.
Imam Islam Mossaad, who leads the North Austin Muslim Community Center, said a few hateful voice mails were left at the mosque after the Nov. 5 shootings, but he said that's far fewer than the dozens they received after Sept. 11.
"Thankfully nothing major, only insults and empty threats here and there," he said. "All the positive e-mails and calls of support from fellow faith leaders in Austin that we have interacted with by far overshadow the ignorant hatred of anonymous individuals."
"I give credit to the U.S. military and a lot of the media in not jumping to too many conclusions or insinuating some sort of mass conspiracy was going on by their Muslim neighbors," Mossaad said.
Muslims groups locally and nationally immediately denounced the shootings.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations was one of several national Muslim organizations to condemn the "cowardly act" and urged Americans not to see the suspect's actions as a reflection of their religion.
Hasan has been described as a devout Muslim by those who know him.
President Barack Obama and other officials condemned anti-Muslim backlash and vowed to "be on the lookout" for mistreatment of Muslim soldiers. Days after the shooting, Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey said he was concerned that increased speculation could bring reprisals against Muslim soldiers.
"The Fort Hood shooting," said Ian Benouis of Austin, an Army combat veteran who converted to Islam, "is a great opportunity for certain crazies to say, 'I told you so. ... We've been accommodating, we've let the Muslims in our country, and look at what they do.' "
Such anti-Muslim sentiments have been expressed on local talk radio and through Internet posts. In one, Javier Gonzalez, 56, of Buda suggested in a comment on the Statesman's Web site that the country was not safe with Muslims in the military.
"We need to batten down the hatches and round up all Muslim personnel and enter them in a camp," he wrote. "We can't know what will set off another Muslim in the country."
Mossaad dismissed such comments, saying some people were "unfortunately trying to fuel fires."
Benouis, who is helping coordinate a fundraising effort by dozens of Muslim organizations for the families of the Fort Hood victims, noted that things have changed in the eight years since the Sept. 11 attacks, which may have kept backlash in check.
"All of the interfaith and Muslim outreach since 9/11 seems to have had a positive impact," Benouis said. "At one level, people have come to know Muslims, and we're not this monolithic group of people that's hellbent against America."
Even so, it may be too early to rule out long-term anti-Muslim reactions, some caution.
"The sentiment is out there, even though it's not manifesting itself in the real world, which is good," said Shahed Amnullah, editor of the online magazine AltMuslim.org. "The trick is keeping it from metastasizing into real-world actions."
Faith and Policy: Don't jump to conclusions on Fort Hood shootings
Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi
November 17. 2009
The tragic shootings at the Fort Hood military base allegedly committed by Major Nidal Malik Hasan shook our nation. The killings received a collective condemnation from all patriotic citizens, including all Muslim leaders of America.
Murder is one of the most serious sins in our Abrahamic traditions. The Bible says, "Thou shall not kill," while the Quran says a crime against one is a crime against all. If the killer didn't receive what he deserved from the justice system and if the victims' families refuse to forgive him, the killer will be faced with a painful punishment in hell forever. Prophet Mohammad said the shedding of innocent blood would be the first to be judged in the court of the Resurrection.
During his trial, Nidal may give us some explanations, but nothing can justify the crime. As our hearts go out to the families of the deceased and wounded, we should look at this disaster as a wake-up call to find out what went wrong. The president, Congress, the military, the families of the victims and the nation need to know the motive behind this mess.
Many in the media and politics already jumped to their desired conclusion and used Nidal's religious affiliation for Islamophobia propaganda. Nationwide, an average of 276 people are killed with a gun or treated for a gun injury in the emergency room every day, while more than 18,000 of them die every year, including more than 400 in Detroit last year.
This is not the first time a U.S. soldier has turned his gun on his fellow soldiers. No one seemed to care about the religion of those shooters while all the microscopes focus on the religious background of the killer of Fort Hood.
Although 13 lives are a huge loss, remember that the same base has already lost at least 545 soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Soldiers sent to war frequently suffer from heavy psychological problems such as depression, anxiety and stress. At least 100 soldiers commit suicide each year. We will continue to see the side effects of these wars begun by a previous administration when the 162,000 troops return home.
What is shocking is that the doctor who was supposed to treat those suffering soldiers, according to NPR, was himself "psychotic." If reports about Hasan performing poorly, behaving strangely and doubting his interest in the job were true, then instead of blaming 1.5 billion Muslims and asking them all to apologize for what Hasan did, it is better to learn from this experience and give the right job to the right people and stop discriminating against the thousands of Muslim men and women in the military.
Many questions remain in the Fort Hood tragedy. Was Hasan a terrorist or terrified? Was he motivated by madness or did he act out of political frustration or a combination? Obviously he couldn't be both a devout Muslim and a frequenter of a local strip joint. Just saying God is great is not enough to make someone a perfect Muslim or Christian.
Some observers focus on Nidal's Palestinian background and relate crimes at Fort Hood to Israeli crimes in the occupied territories. It's hard to determine. Let's pray truth prevails at the trial.
Faith and Policy Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi heads the Islamic House of Wisdom in Dearborn Heights. E-mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Islam bashing is fully justified, 100%
I just finished reading a blog by someone who was questioning and was somewhat surprised that Islam bashing has become a sport if you will.
As apparently bewildered as he was about what is going on, I am bewildered as to how someone who claims to be non religious is so clueless as to why what is happening, is happening.
Lets look at 2 countries which are the primary hubs of the 2 main sects of Islam, Shia' and Sunni; Iran and Saudi Arabia respectively. In these countries:
Iran Saudi Arabia
1) Are women equal to men? No No
2) Is there freedom of speech? No No
3) Do people of other faiths practice No No
their religion freely
4) Can a citizen of these country No No
change his/her religion without fear of execution?
5) Are there free elections? No No
6) Do these countries support global Yes Yes
7) Is Islam forced down the throat Yes Yes
of their citizens?
8) Do religious clerics in these Yes Yes
countries advocate hatred and
killings of people of other faiths?
9) Do 51+% of people of these Yes Yes
countries like and support regime change?
10) Is there oppression and censorship Yes Yes
of arts and literature?
11) Can men have more than 1 wife? Yes Yes
12) Is there religiously sanctioned Yes Yes
prostitution (temporary sigheh)
The list is too long to type; you can add censorship of all type of media (TV, internet, newspapers) and a whole host of other things like honor killings, "taghiyeh", culture of sadness etc etc etc
I personally hold Islam responsible for ALL (100%) ills of Iran and Iranian society. To that end, I am a strong proponent of Islam bashing at every opportunity possible.
Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan is a jiggle Jihadi
By CHUCK BENNETT
November 17, 2009
There won't be 72 virgins in paradise for Fort Hood madman Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan -- but he spent his nights enjoying earthly carnal pleasures at a no-frills strip club.
The girls of Starz -- an off-base jiggle joint in Killeen, Texas -- remember Hasan well for his unusual interest in their personal lives and his self-restraint with alcohol.
Hasan, the Army shrink accused of killing 13 people and wounding 42 two weeks ago in an Islamic terror-inspired rampage, had visited the club at least three times, the dancers say.
He paid particular attention to a 31-year-old blonde named Jennifer Jenner, from whom he bought two $50 lap dances -- three songs per dance -- in a private room, ABC News reported.
Located in a prefab warehouse, Starz caters to the men, and occasionally women, of Fort Hood. It's a bring-your-own-beverage joint where the women bare it all on stage and then hustle the patrons for private lap dances on the floor.
"I remembered his face because it was the first lap dance I [gave] to a customer while working here," Jenner told Fox News. "He preferred blondes."
Jenner remembered that Hasan visited two days in a row, Oct. 29 and Oct. 30, staying from about 6:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. both nights.
"He asked us why we were working at the strip club, if we liked the lifestyle, if we had any kids," she said. "It was right before Halloween, so he asked what our kids were dressing up as. He just wanted to know a lot about us."
Hasan, 39, was a lifelong loner. He frequently told people at mosques that he was looking for a wife, but love apparently always eluded him.
"He wasn't too loud like some of our other customers, or sleazy. He didn't try to take any of us home, and he was respectful," she added. "He stood out here because he was much more reserved than our other customers."
Hasan came alone with a six-pack of light beer, but took only a few sips and gave the rest to the girls.
"You know, he tipped every girl as she came off the stage after her dance. He was a really good tipper," Jenner said.
Hasan, meanwhile, received spiritual tips via e-mail from an al Qaeda-linked imam in Yemen.
"It was clear from his e-mails that Nidal trusted me. Nidal told me, 'I speak with you about issues that I never speak with anyone else,' " Anwar al-Aulaqi told a Yemeni journalist reporting for The Washington Post.
FBI and Pentagon counterterrorism investigators were aware of the communication between the two but had discounted it as part of Hasan's psychiatric research.
Aulaqi said he was Hasan's "confidant" but denied ordering the assault.
More insights into Hasan's troubled last weeks also emerged.
Right up until three days before his bloody rampage, Hasan had repeatedly badgered his higher-ups, telling them that the shell-shocked soldiers under his care had confessed to "war crimes" and that they deserved prosecution, ABC News reported.
"The Army may not want to admit it, and you may not hear much about, but it was very big for him," one federal investigator said.
Col. Anthony Febbo, Hasan's superior, told investigators that, on Nov. 2, the troubled psychiatrist contacted him twice to discuss whether he could legally turn over evidence of what he called "war crimes" learned during his counseling sessions with war vets.
Hasan made a similar request in late October. And Hasan's direct supervisor, Capt. Naomi Surman, head of Fort Hood's Department of Psychiatry, said he raised similar questions in October, as well.
Congressional members are demanding a formal probe into why the FBI and Pentagon never acted on the warning signs.
The Senate Armed Forces Committee postponed a briefing yesterday on the attack at the "request of the administration," according to its chairman, Sen. Carl Levin.
The Obama administration has urged Congress to wait until the military criminal investigation is complete before convening its own inquiry.
Additional reporting by Daphne Retter
Hasan kept his inner life well-concealed
By GUILLERMO CONTRERAS
Nov. 16, 2009, 12:05AM
Signs of Fort Hood suspect's possible extremism were there, but most didn’t see them
KILLEEN — The signs pointing to Nidal Malik Hasan's suspected extremism might have been there for years before the fatal Fort Hood shootings, but most people around him in Killeen never suspected a thing.
When the Army major gave his belongings to neighbors days before the massacre, they assumed it was because he was going to be deployed overseas.
But Hasan left behind business cards with cryptic abbreviations of suspected links to radical Islam and exhibited a calm a day before the shootings that now gives people pause.
The green and white cards, one of which remained partly visible Friday with more of Hasan's belongings that FBI agents left behind after searching his apartment, say “Behavioral Health — Mental Health — Life Skills” and appear to advertise a side venture as a therapist for other Muslims. The card did not list his rank or his Army affiliation.
The card listed a Maryland phone number (calls to the number were met with a message saying the voicemail is full), and an AOL e-mail address for Hasan, one of several that investigators now are poring over.
Under his name on the card, the abbreviation “SoA (SWT)” appears. SoA is used as an acronym for “Soldier of Allah,” and the phrase often appears on jihad Web sites.
Like ‘Servant of Christ'?
Hasan's lawyer, retired Army Col. John P. Galligan, cautioned people to not jump to conclusions.
“‘Soldier of Allah' has no more threatening significance than ‘Servant of Christ' that I have seen referenced or quoted by Christian advocates,” Galligan said. “I would again urge that proof, not prejudice, govern our journey.”
The information on the card was not known to those who lived in the same apartment complex, where Hasan rented a $300-a-month one-bedroom unit on a major's $80,000-plus military pay. Neighbors interviewed by the San Antonio Express-News said Hasan, a psychiatrist, kept details of his job to himself.
According to other news reports, Hasan was conflicted about what to tell fellow Muslim soldiers about the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Osman Danquah, a board member of the Islamic Community Center of Greater Killeen, told the Associated Press that Hasan did not seem satisfied when Danquah, a retired Army first sergeant and Gulf War veteran, told him that the soldiers had volunteered to fight, and that Muslims were fighting each other in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Palestinian territories.
But Danquah also said he didn't see the need to tell anyone at Fort Hood about the discussions because Hasan never expressed anger toward the Army or indicated any plans for violence. And, Danquah said, he assumed the chain of command was aware of Hasan's doubts.
‘I have to forgive'
While he reached out to his religious leaders, neighbors remained in the dark.
One neighbor, Kim Rosenthal, said Hasan remained friendly even when another former neighbor keyed his car and bumper sticker venerating Allah.
“He said, ‘It's Ramadan. I have to forgive everyone who's wronged me,'” Rosenthal said.
Victor Benjamin II, 30, a former member of the Army who prayed with Hasan, said Hasan seemed to have internalized his objection to having to fight other Muslims because the Army didn't listen to his suggestion that Muslims in the military be discharged as conscientious objectors.
Benjamin, one of several people the FBI has interviewed about Hasan, said Hasan wasn't outspoken to him about his conflicts with being in the Army and having to serve in Afghanistan, but “I inferred it was not a good thing for him.”
Red flags at Fort Hood
Nov. 16, 2009
If the flags had been any more red, bulls would have come charging. Maj. Nidal Hasan was open about his radical Islamic beliefs. He tried to convert fellow doctors and patients. He was aggressive and argumentative. A defense investigator working with a terrorism task force in Washington discovered e-mails Hasan sent to a radical cleric in Yemen. There were complaints about his erratic, troubling behavior.
So what was the official response? The Washington Post quoted a staff member at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center as saying supervisors ordered Hasan to attend lectures on Islam, the Middle East and terrorism.
A lot of second-guessing has been swirling through the air since Hasan allegedly opened fire at Fort Hood in Texas last week, killing 13 and injuring dozens more. At its worst, the tragedy has been twisted by some on the right as evidence that all Muslims should be treated with suspicion, and by some on the left as nothing more than the result of some sort of trauma Hasan suffered as a result of listening to patients describe their traumatic war experiences. Both theories are baloney.
Hasan's past behavior, and his alleged screams of "Allahu Akbar!" as he began his murderous rampage may indeed be evidence that he had adopted the dangerous political ideology of Islamic terrorists — perhaps a devout Muslim would call them "heretics" — with whom the United States is at war. Military investigators cannot let political correctness stand in the way of their honest appraisal of the facts.
More importantly, however, the military cannot afford to allow political correctness to keep officers and other supervisors from taking preemptive steps when one of their own begins to show signs not only of sympathizing, but of actively supporting the enemy.
Tolerance is no virtue when it provides safe refuge for such people. Nor should the fear of offending someone's religious beliefs stand in the way of seriously investigating warning signs.
America's public schools reacted to the Columbine tragedy by training teachers to identify possibly dangerous warning signs. The result has been to preempt many potential tragedies. Although this isn't a foolproof system, it has put teachers and administrators on alert, which in turn has made schools safer.
Perhaps Fort Hood will serve as the same sort of catalyst to make the military more alert to warning signs. If so, the tragedy is that it cost so many lives to make the nation's defenders more vigilant about defending themselves.
Army to probe whether it missed warning signs before Fort Hood massacre
WASHINGTON — The Army will conduct an internal investigation to examine whether it missed warning signs about Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the man accused of killing 13 people in the Nov. 5 shooting spree at Fort Hood, Texas, two newspapers reported Monday.
Citing anonymous officials, The Wall Street Journal said the probe would focus on Hasan's six years at Washington's Walter Reed Medical Center, where he worked as a psychiatrist before he was transferred to Fort Hood in July.
The Washington Post reported that Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the Army's chief of staff, is forming the investigative panel. It "will look longitudinally across Hasan's entire career to figure out how did this happen and what can we do to stop it from happening again," an anonymous Army official told the Post.
The doctors who oversaw Hasan's medical training had discussed at a meeting concerns about Hasan's overly zealous religious views and strange behavior months before the attack, a military official told The Associated Press last week. Hasan also was characterized as a mediocre student and lazy worker, but the doctors saw no evidence that he was violent or a threat. The military official spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak publicly about the meeting.
The FBI learned late last year of Hasan's repeated contact with a radical Muslim cleric in Yemen who encouraged Muslims to kill U.S. troops in Iraq. President Barack Obama already has ordered a review of all intelligence related to Hasan and whether the information was properly shared and acted upon within government agencies.
The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Thursday will hold its first public hearing about the incident. Obama on Saturday urged Congress to hold off on any investigation, pleading for lawmakers to "resist the temptation to turn this tragic event into the political theater."
Lt. Col. Richard Spiegel, an Army spokesman, wouldn't confirm the Army probe but told the Journal: "We're going to take a hard look at ourselves and the non-criminal aspects of this case. We are still developing what that hard look is going to look like."
Visiting Maj. Nidal Hasan's Hospital
Written by Chuck Norris
17 November 2009
While the military still is reeling and recovering from the massacre at Fort Hood, my wife, Gena, and I decided to boost the morale of military personnel by visiting the cadets at West Point and the wounded warriors at Brooke Army Medical Center, at Fort Sam Houston. Little did I know that Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the shooter at Fort Hood, was hospitalized there.
The day before Veterans Day, we visited West Point. We were amazed by its pristine and picturesque setting, 50 miles north of New York City on the Hudson River. It was also fascinating to learn more about the academy's history. From the day of its founding, March 16, 1802, West Point has produced some of our country's greatest leaders, including Grant and Lee, Pershing and MacArthur, Eisenhower and Patton, Schwarzkopf and Petraeus, etc.
It was inspiring to watch the cadets' unyielding commitment to develop their minds, bodies and spirits. It was also a joy to see this international Corps of Cadets take a little time even to have fun with my tough-guy image and reputation. For example, one of the senior cadets, named Taylor, had a picture of me in a frame but with his name inscribed underneath it. A French cadet with a very heavy accent spoke on behalf of other French comrades and read aloud this Chuck Norris "fact": "When an episode of 'Walker, Texas Ranger' was aired in France, the French surrendered to Chuck Norris just to be on the safe side." He then followed it up by stating, "We'll surrender if you take a photo with me and my fellow French cadets!" Of course, I obliged.
There are few words to express the awe and inspiration Gena and I felt as we spent the day with the cadets at West Point. As I sat speaking to a large group of them for about 45 minutes, I was taken aback by their resoluteness and willingness to grow. Guided by the academy's timeless motto, "Duty, Honor, Country," their passion, discipline and fortitude for building the next generation of leaders was vividly clear and renews my hope for America's future.
We were equally inspired a couple of days later, when we went out to Brooke Army Medical Center to visit with America's wounded warriors. How can one put into words the pride one feels around these brave men and women? Despite the loss of limbs or suffering from some other sacrifice in battle, their resolve and class were off the charts. They were enthusiastic and grateful about our visit, but it was my wife and I who were truly blessed and inspired by them.
Then came a moment that would have been completely surreal if it had not been a staggering reality. As we were visiting the burn unit, we discovered that Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the shooter at Fort Hood who murdered 13 and wounded another 30, was being treated in the same facility. To be honest, it made me sick to my stomach and sent shivers of disgust down my spine.
If ever I have experienced a polar opposite, it was in the moment when I was thinking about how Hasan is the sheer antithesis to the character, commitment and service of all the other men and women we met at West Point and Fort Sam Houston. I was equally moved by the civic servants and military medical staff, many of whom knew victims of this assassin yet turned immediately around and became his caregivers. They are exemplary models of the patriot and Founding Father Thomas Paine, who said, "He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from opposition; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that (eventually) will reach himself."
We also visited Brooke Army Medical Center two years ago and recall meeting a young soldier by the name of David, who had just been flown in from Iraq and was in the intensive care unit suffering from burns that covered more than 90 percent of his body. Two years later, David came walking down the hospital corridor to greet us. We were overjoyed to see him again, and we could tell that he felt the same seeing us, though his gravely burned face was not able to muster even a smile. We again shared some choice, heartfelt moments with David. I couldn't help but say to him, "David, you are absolutely one of the toughest soldiers I have ever met." Even then, he tried to smile as he quipped, "Tougher than Chuck Norris?" "Yes," I replied. "You're much, much tougher than I am!"
It's in times like these that I'm also grateful for military chaplains and the work of men like retired Lt. Col. Brian Birdwell, who was burned on more than 60 percent of his body when hijacked American Airlines Flight 77 collided into the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001. After more than 30 surgeries, Birdwell now uses his life to bring hope to others (http://www.FaceTheFire.org). His story also is told on pages 42 and 43 in my friend Randy Alcorn's latest best-seller (which provides help for those struggling through pain and difficulty), "If God Is Good," a copy of which I will be sending to David along with Birdwell's book, "Refined by Fire." My hope is that Birdwell also drops by to visit David when his very speaking schedule takes him again by Fort Sam Houston.
The night before we left for Brooke Army Medical Center, our 8-year-old twins drew pictures and wrote encouraging letters on their own initiative and asked us to give them to wounded warriors. Gena gave my daughter's letter to David. He reached out and received it with his two bandaged and handless arms and then read the letter (in my daughter's own writing and phonetic spelling, I might add):
I am very sorry you are hurt, but thank you for helping our contry. I'm going into military school just like you guys did. I hope you guys get better.
Your friend, Danilee
As the Scripture says, "From the mouths of children and infants, you have created perfect praise."