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Muslims and Islamophobia ( 17 Nov 2009, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Fort Hood Fallout: Islam transcends loyalty to nation

Constitutional test of Islam looms

Al-Qaida's Prospects

Muslims reach out to county neighbours Offer a better view of Islam after shootings

Fort Hood massacre was clearly an act of terror

Fort Hood: Group: File 14th murder charge in Fort Hood massacre

Hasan's ties to radical cleric raise issues for law enforcement

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Islam transcends loyalty to nation

Sunanda K Datta-Ray

November 18, 2009

It’s not quite a fatwa but Iran’s Supreme Leader has spoken through his representative in London. Ayatollah Abdolhossein Moezi, director of the Islamic Centre of England, has called on Muslim immigrants to be “better Muslims” and not to join the West’s armed forces. It is un-Islamic, he says, for them to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The wonder is that the directive was so long in coming. It needed the tragedy of Maj Nidal Malik Hassan, the American-born military psychiatrist son of Palestinian refugees, who ran amok and killed 13 people, to remind Ayatollah Khamenei of the conflict of loyalties that Muslims in the West face. A contributory factor may have been reports from The Hague, where Radovan Karadzic, the former Bosnian Serb leader indicted on 11 charges including genocide, has succeeded in bullying the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia into postponing his trial. But not before the court heard transcripts of his telephone conversations warning of “a black cauldron where 300,000 Muslims will die”.

Karadzic’s troops besieged and captured the United Nations safe haven of Srebrenica. Nearly 8,000 Muslim men and boys were tortured, machine-gunned and bulldozed into mass graves while their womenfolk were abused, raped and forced to defile the Quran. The Bosnian leader himself was quoted in court as saying, “They will disappear from the face of the earth.”

Those revelations, coinciding with Maj Hassan’s murderous spree, may have convinced the Ayatollah of the need for Muslims in the West to take a stand. But the dilemma is not confined to the diaspora. The Governments of Jordan, Egypt, the Gulf states and Saudi Arabia ostensibly support the US and Nato in Iraq and Afghanistan. But, significantly, they dare not send troops to wage the so-called war on terror. It also bears noting that the ruling regimes in some of these countries have also been targeted by jihadis. Pakistan is sui generis for it is as much at war with itself as it is under attack. Lines are blurred because religious extremism is also a feature of the continuing internal struggle for political power.

But there is no denying the peculiar predicament of Muslims in the West who live with what they see as their faith’s historical adversary. The anger that drove Karadzic harks back to six centuries of Ottoman rule over south-eastern Europe. The ‘Crusader’ tag for Westerners (used by Al Qaeda and the Taliban) recalls another ancient enmity. British Muslims in the small town of Luton publicly jeered at a regiment holding a ceremonial parade after returning from Iraq. The mayhem in London was the handiwork of British-Pakistani boys born and bred in Yorkshire who played cricket and spoke with a broad Yorkshire accent. That did not stop them from blowing themselves up while killing a large number of innocent folk.

The US police claim to have foiled a terror plot by six foreign-born men to blow up Fort Dix in New Jersey. The FBI accuses Najibullah Zazi, an airport van driver, of planning bomb attacks using hydrogen peroxide. In another case, Hosam (Sam) Smadi, a 19-year-old Jordanian-American, tried to bomb a Dallas skyscraper. The recent shooting of five British officers in Helmand province by an Afghan National Police officer, referred to only as ‘Gulbuddin’, recalled Aden’s British-trained police ambushing and killing seven British soldiers.

Western opinion-makers have been busy since the Fort Hood massacre upholding the “loyalty” of Muslims in the West. Condemning Maj Hasan’s shootings as a “heinous incident”, the Muslim Public Affairs Council of the US intoned piously, “We share the sentiment of our President”. President Barack Obama had just expressed horror. The Council sees no conflict between being American and Muslim and, indeed, there is no reason why French, British and American Muslims should not be as loyal as anyone else to their adoptive countries. But secular loyalty is separate from religious commitment. The myth of the ‘moderate’ Muslim, on which Western policy is predicated, continues to ignore this crucial divide despite a wealth of evidence.

The US has something to learn in this respect from Chinese-majority Singapore whose Muslims (14 per cent of the population) share the religious, ethnic and linguistic — but not political — identity of Malaysians next door. So close are the two countries that a Singaporean plane is in Malaysian air space almost immediately after takeover. Relations between the two countries have always been delicate.

Malay Singaporeans were initially exempt from military service which was compulsory for all other communities. When some protested that this was a form of discrimination, they were admitted to the armed forces but generally not into sensitive services that might expose them to temptation. The analogy one heard was that no Malay Singaporean soldier should be placed in a position where the call of religion might tempt him to drive a tank across the Causeway to Malaysia or fly his aircraft there.

Singapore also offers a much earlier warning of religious passion transcending military discipline. A little-noticed World War I memorial in the heart of the city-state recalls the mutiny by British Indian troops when they were ordered to embark for West Asia to fight Turkey and the Caliphate. The mutineers were captured and executed: They were all Muslims.

Maj Hassan may also have had two non-religious motivations. As a trained psychiatrist who treated repatriated American soldiers, he became familiar with the trauma of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Secondly, his cousin, Mr Nader Hassan, confirms the “harassment from his military colleagues” he suffered because of his “Middle-Eastern ethnicity”. In other words, they taunted him for his race and religion. That must have seemed the height of Western Christian injustice to someone who had been born and bred in the US and insisted on defying parental opposition to join the American Army because he had to do something for his country. He took to wearing salwar, kameez and a cap when off duty, regularly attending the mosque and distributing copies of the Quran.

Executing Maj Hassan will not solve the larger problem. Others may not explode as violently, but his outburst is indicative of the conflicting pulls to which Muslims are subject when they are forced to subordinate religious and cultural affiliations to secular considerations. They, too, see Karadzic as the face of the Christian West.


Constitutional test of Islam looms

November 17, 2009

Of Fort Hood, Islam, jihad, sharia and the Constitution: For some time I have wondered when and if there would be a case that would test the constitutional conflicts when Islam faces that Constitution. Now we have the tragedy at Fort Hood, Texas.

We all know that jihadist Maj. Nadal Hasan murdered 13 people after shouting "Allah akbar!" meaning that the God of Islam, Allah, is great. So how is this for a defense: Hasan maintains the murders were actually symbolic speech protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution, and that his acts were a necessary acting out of the Islamic call to jihad and the killing of infidels and enemies of Islam pursuant to sharia law.

Not only that, but his acts are further protected by the freedom of religion provisions of the First Amendment in that they were religious acts also called for by Islam, sharia law, and the so-called prophet Mohammad.

Ridiculous, you say? Perhaps not when compared with other seemingly ridiculous Islamic acts and attitudes such as honor killings or stoning a woman to death for the crime of having been raped or Muslim demonstrators on Long Island waving signs declaring that Islam and sharia will prevail and overwhelm our constitutional law.

I don't necessarily maintain that such a defense would prevail, but rather that eventually a constitutional test of Islam and sharia law looms and this might be the time.


Al-Qaida's Prospects

by Austin Bay

November 17, 2009

Maj. Nidal Hasan's treachery and terror jolted Americans. As Hasan's attack demonstrates, al-Qaida and al-Qaida-influenced fanatics can strike and kill on American soil.

While Hasan serves warning the threat still exists, does Hasan's act forward al-Qaeda's political goals? Indeed, what are al-Qaida's prospects for victory eight years after the Sept. 11 terror attack on America?

Analysts, and for that matter, political leaders rarely address this question, at least publicly. That's unfortunate. Napoleon understood the importance of assessing his opposition's position. He wrote in 1809, "In war one sees his own troubles, not those of the enemy." Focusing on one's own troubles and those of allies thwarts the clear-headed analysis of a diplomatic or military conflict Napoleon insisted was the mark of an effective senior commander.

American media have made a business of touting America's troubles in the War on Terror. Tales of doom, fright and angry despair are audience-grabbers. Would that doom, fear and despair were the sole traits. An "it must be our fault and we made them angry" argument threads the cable TV carnival of doom. In the case of Hasan, this shtick became a discussion of his "alienation" and "isolation."

Historians such as Bernard Lewis have written volumes on the Islamic world's cultural, historical, economic and political problems. Lewis' "What Went Wrong?" published in 2001, provided an extensive treatment of the great decline afflicting Middle Eastern Muslims. The assumption of theological superiority led to intellectual fossilization and stifled economic and cultural innovation.

 Al-Qaida's brand of violent Islamists and their allies claim they have answers for "what went wrong" in their world. Lack of religious authenticity is part of his answer -- authentic Muslims will believe as al-Qaida believes. Hence al-Qaida places itself at odds with the majority of the world's Muslims. In al-Qaida's view, dividing secular and religious authority is a huge mistake, hence its goal of re-establishing a Muslim "caliphate."

There are various "green maps" of this caliphate, usually stretching from Spain to New Guinea, though Hasan would arguably include North America, since it appears he thinks sharia law should supersede the U.S. Constitution.

Al-Qaida in Iraq's emir, Abu Musab al Zarqawi, provided us with the most telling insight into al-Qaida's assessment of our strength and al-Qaida's huge problems -- problems existing on Arab Muslim turf. Intercepted in Iraq in January 2004, Zarqawi's letter to al-Qaida's senior leaders bewailed the attraction of democracy in Iraq.

A secular, democratic state run by Iraqis was his nightmare, and would seal al-Qaida's defeat in Iraq. This "new Iraq" would also create a modernizing political option in the Middle East. Zarqawi concluded he had to foment a sectarian war in Iraq between Shia and Sunni Arabs, and the resulting bloodshed and chaos would inflict a psychological and military defeat on the U.S. and its Iraqi allies.

Measured by the grand map of the would-be caliphate, al-Qaida has arguably lost significant ground since 2001. Several Sunni and Shia conflicts continue, but the strife Zarqawi sought to fatally ignite failed to shatter Iraq. He did incite defeatists in the U.S., but it was Zarqawi who was defeated in Iraq.

Pakistan teeters -- it remains a radical Islamist opportunity, but its success depends on Pashtun tribal fortunes. The same al-Qaida dependency obtains in Afghanistan. If Pashtun Taliban factions choose to make new political settlements in Pakistan or Afghanistan, the al-Qaida commanders they currently harbor are a trading card for concessions in both Kabul and Islamabad.

Al-Qaida's ideology remains psychologically influential, and Hasan is likely an example of a sympathizer turned terrorist operative on his own initiative. Hasans are a definite danger. In the aftermath of his assault, Americans are more closely evaluating violent, anti-American threats as indicative steps toward violent, terrorist action.

Diminishing the space for domestic terrorist sympathizers may well be the fruit of his murders. And that would be another defeat for al-Qaida's tyrants.


Muslims reach out to county neighbours Offer a better view of Islam after shootings

By Ryan Justin Fox


On the heels of the violent outburst earlier this month at Fort Hood in Texas, local Muslims extended their hospitality to neighboring faith groups last week at their Gambrills center.In an effort to present a contrasting image of Islam than the ones currently playing out in the media, the Islamic Society of Annapolis bonded Thursday night over cake, cookies and fellowship.

Leaders from nearby churches stopped by the Islamic Society building off St. Stephens Church Road for an informal, interfaith dialogue.

"They're packing literature. We're packing literature. We're all packin' here," said Waleed Zarou, a Palestinian-born deacon from the Calvary Temple Church in Sterling, Va.

Muslims from around the nation have been quick to denounce the Nov. 5 violence at the Army post in Killeen, Texas.

The Capitol Hill-based Council on American-Islamic Relations held a conference last week to condemn Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, who is accused of going on a shooting rampage that left 12 soldiers and one civilian dead and 38 others injured. Hasan, a licensed Army psychiatrist, allegedly was upset about being deployed to the Afghanistan to fight other Muslims.

The Islamic Society released a statement to news media earlier last week condemning the violent act.

Local Muslims said they want to make a concerted effort to reach out spiritually and politically to the community.

"I think we no longer see ourselves as an immigrant community, here only for a few years until we move on. We have better choices, certainly for our children, here," said Maher Kharma, president of the Islamic Society of Annapolis.

The evening began with Muslim call for prayer as several members gathered for one of five daily prayers. The mosque's invited guests filed inside the prayer hall shortly thereafter, removing their shoes as required by Islamic tradition.

Women held their own discussion and debate in an adjoining room.

The Islamic Society of Annapolis' membership has grown steadily since it moved from Riva Road into its new facility in Gambrills five years ago, Kharma said.

As they've established permanency, the group has shifted focus from uniting the local Muslim community to integrating into the entire community.

While Kharma praised the opportunities the United States presents, he said people in this country seem to segregate themselves according to differences, especially religion, more than other countries.

The Muslim group hasn't been fully embraced by its neighbors quite yet, each group admits. The interfaith discussion was the first time their immediate neighbors from the Gambrills branch of Calvary Temple had stopped by the Islamic Center despite being located just 100 yards away.

Calvary Pastor Jim LaRock said the interfaith gathering was a chance to get to know the society.

Kharma and guests said despite their spiritual differences they are all united in a love for God and a betterment of their community.

"God showed us all a plan," Kharma said.


Fort Hood massacre was clearly an act of terror

Dan C. Frodge, P.E.

November 18, 2009

"While grief is fresh, every attempt to divert only irritates" - Samuel Johnson.

This nation recently witnessed the murder of 13 men and women in uniform at Fort Hood, Texas, and serious injuries to 29 others all in the name of "political correctness." It is an irritation to watch network news stations attempt to portray this outrageous crime as something other than terrorism and Maj. Nidal Hasan as something less than a domestic terrorist, a position that he purported and ultimately exercised. His cry in Arabic, "God is great," as he gunned down innocents, should incense the American public.

But rather than picking the fruit off the tree, let's go to the heart of the matter. Hasan was a practicing Muslim who held and propagated his radical views. During WWII, Japanese Americans fought in the European theater with distinction, but the military was wise enough not to send them to the Pacific theater to fight against the Japanese. But in spite of the obvious warnings given by Hasan, "diversity" and "political correctness" seemed more important than common sense to the U.S. leaders.

Were the lives of these 13 soldiers and the life-changing injuries to others worth this extreme experiment in "political correctness" and "diversity?" Are we willing to sacrifice others? Radical Islam is a violent fourth-century religion. The daily atrocities in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and around the world are clear indications that Islam is not the "peaceful religion" that our leaders have assured us it is. If a white man in a KKK robe killed 13 black soldiers, the media would immediately label it as a "hate crime" - no questions asked! But because Hasan is a Muslim, the media refuses to call it what is obvious to all - a "hate crime" against infidels! Exaggeration?

Articles reviewing the murders of multiple victims by the sniper, John Allen Muhammad, never mention his Islamic beliefs. Had this been a conservative Christian, there would have been endless references to his religion, family, upbringing, etc.

Following the Fort Hood massacre, Mr. Obama had the audacity to lecture the American people "not to jump to conclusions." Well, it is not necessary to jump to any conclusions; the evidence is becoming overwhelming. This Christian nation is at war with radical Islam. We have been at war and will remain at war until those embracing that culture of death are eliminated. My father-in-law fought the Japanese on Tinian and Iwo Jima and survived the suicide attacks of "radical fundamentalism" that had been inculcated into young Japanese men. Pretending that they were "peaceful" would not have won that war and will not win this war.


Fort Hood: Group: File 14th murder charge in Fort Hood massacre

November 18, 2009

A national organization aimed at protecting religious freedom wants a 14th murder charge filed in the Fort Hood massacre because one of the victims was three months pregnant.

Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan faces 13 counts of murder in a military court for the Fort Hood massacre that also left 30 people wounded. In a letter last week to the Office of Staff Judge Advocate at Fort Hood, the Alliance Defense Fund asked for the murder charge to be filed for the unborn child of Private Francheska Velez.

“All murder victims – born and pre-born – deserve equal justice,” ADF Senior Legal Counsel Steven H. Aden said in a news release. “Women who volunteer to protect our country deserve to know that the government will enforce the laws that protect their children.”

In the letter, the ADF said: “Private Velez was three months pregnant and was excited about being a new mother. She was scheduled to begin maternity leave next month. She was filling out paperwork relating to her pregnancy when she and her child were killed. ... It would cause a severe and negative impact on morale if Army women were made to believe that the Army valued their children less than they did adult victims of crime.”

The ADF said Article 119a of the Uniform Code of Military Justice makes it a crime to kill “a child, who is in utero” at the time of the crime.


Hasan's ties to radical cleric raise issues for law enforcement

By Spencer S. Hsu

November 18, 2009

Imam's rhetoric on Web fell short of triggering legal action, officials say

Three weeks before Maj. Nidal M. Hasan purchased the semiautomatic pistol allegedly used in the Fort Hood attack, a radical Yemeni American cleric whom he frequently e-mailed gave a broad religious blessing to Muslims who attack "government armies in the Muslim world."

"These armies are the defenders of apostasy," Anwar al-Aulaqi wrote in English on his Internet site July 15 from Yemen, according to the NEFA Foundation, a private South Carolina group that monitors extremist sites. "Blessed are those who fight against them and blessed are those shuhada [martyrs] who are killed by them."

Aulaqi's incendiary rhetoric has been captured in witness statements and on computer hard drives of terrorism suspects in Toronto, New Jersey and Minneapolis in recent years. But current and former U.S. officials say the New Mexico-born imam has skated the line between advocating violent extremism and committing a crime that would land him in the U.S. legal system.

At the simplest level, Aulaqi's emergence as a spiritual adviser in contact with Hasan returns investigators to the question of what could have been done to stop the 39-year-old Army psychiatrist before he allegedly committed his first crime -- bringing an unauthorized weapon onto a military base. More broadly, U.S. counterterrorism officials say, it intensifies a debate over how to prevent Americans from "self-radicalizing" by turning to al-Qaeda supporters on the Internet, such as Aulaqi.

"What do we do as a society about people who are espousing a radical, violent ideology but who are not committing a criminal act?" asked Juan Zarate, a White House counterterrorism adviser from 2005 to 2009 who now is at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "Given the nature of our society and protections of our Constitution, it's a very difficult question."

Military authorities say they continue to pursue all possible motives behind the Nov. 5 massacre at the Army's largest domestic base of 13 people as they rested before deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan. Hasan's lawyer has said his "mental responsibility" will be part of his defense against charges of premeditated murder.

Intelligence analysts, counterterrorism officials and Congress are already turning to whether Hasan may be part of a larger trend of "homegrown radicalization" and whether changes are needed in how law enforcement investigates individuals absent evidence of crime, what kind of information intelligence agencies can collect on U.S. citizens, or how such sensitive information can be used and shared with others.

"These are questions we've been asking ourselves for years," a current U.S. counterterrorism official said, adding that they remain "largely unanswered." The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

The debate is gaining attention. This year alone, authorities have alleged that two unconnected white supremacists and an Islamist extremist were responsible for the killings of three police officers in Pittsburgh, a guard at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington and a soldier at a military recruitment center in Little Rock. Museum shooting suspect James von Brunn, for example, sought online instruction and support from neo-Nazi radicals.

For all the concerns raised in connection with Aulaqi's association with two Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers and earlier investigations into his interaction with al-Qaeda affiliates, the FBI reported that it did not have reason to prosecute or detain him before he left the United States in 2002.

Since then, according to trial records, news accounts and speeches by U.S. officials, Aulaqi's profile has grown. In December 2005, several youths listened to Aulaqi's "Constants on the Path of Jihad" speech on a laptop, six months before they were charged among a group known as the "Toronto 18," which was accused of planning to blow up downtown Toronto and military targets, the Toronto Star reported last month.

In February and March 2007, a man later convicted of conspiring with a group of Muslim immigrants to kill soldiers at Fort Dix, N.J., instructed colleagues to download Aulaqi's lectures. "He gave the fatwa," the man said on an FBI wiretap, adding that the cleric gave religious approval for attacks on American soil.

Last year, Somali American youths listened to the imam's lectures before leaving Minnesota to join an Islamist insurgency in Somalia linked to al-Qaeda. In December, Aulaqi wrote a note of congratulations to the al-Shabab insurgency, much as he did last week in an online post calling Hasan a "hero."

Sen. Susan Collins (Maine), the senior Republican on the Senate homeland security committee, which is set to hold a hearing on the Fort Hood shootings Thursday, said the issues of domestic radicalization and homegrown terrorism are only dimly understood.

"Our knowledge is so fragmentary and preliminary that it is premature to identify whether [Fort Hood] was a case where there were bad judgment calls that defeated an otherwise sound system of information-sharing, or whether there were fundamental gaps and unnecessary restrictions that impeded the investigation," Collins said. "That's what I hope our homeland security committee investigation and hearings will eventually answer."

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