Muslim Community Lobby Ireland is an independent organization established 1st May 2007. Its motto is TO USE THE VOTE RIGHTLY AND TO RAISE THE MUSLIM COMMUNITY AWARNESS WITH THEIR RIGHTS AND TO PROMOTE TOLERANCE AND UNDERSTANDING OF OTHER EXISTING GROUPS. لترشيد استعمال الصوت الانتخابي ولتوعية وتعريف المسلمين بحقوقهم في ايرلندا وان يعيشوا بتفهم للواقع وللجماعات الاخرى الموجودة على الساحة

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Fort Hood Tragedy, Islam, and America

First I must say that as a Muslim, as an American, as a human being - I cannot understand how anyone can commit such an act. The "fact" that Maj. Hasan was a Muslim and so am I does not give me any understanding of his action - the fact that we are both Americans does not give me any understanding of his action - the fact that we are both human beings does not give me any understanding of his action. The shooting at Fort Hood was a criminal act. A person who could do such a thing is either mentally unbalanced, a sociopath, or a psycopath. With the information we have so far there is no way to tell what category Maj. Hasan falls under.

If he was harassed because of his religion, if he had an unhappy family life, if he wanted out of the military, if he had had a change of heart and did not want to serve in Afghanistan or Iraq - none of this changes the fact that what he did was criminal. He could have asked for conscientious objector status. Even if the Army was not following their own protocol and refused to let him resign his commission, he could have gone to jail rather than go overseas, or he could have gone AWOL and taken his chances - at least that would not have hurt so many others. Maj. Hasan betrayed his country, he betrayed his military oath, he betrayed his medical oath, he betrayed his religion.

My brother Ray Hanania, an American Arab Christian who served in the military has some cogent observations from experience: "The reality is that thousands of Arabs and Muslims have served in the military, including myself. I served during the Vietnam War and have both an honorable discharge and a Vietnam Era Service ribbon, among other recognitions. Bigotry and racism existed in the U.S. Air Force even when I served in it in the early 1970s. My colleagues called me such names as "sand nigger" and "camel jockey." Officers and enlisted personnel challenged me: "Who's side will you be on if we have to go fight in the (1973) Arab-Israeli war?" they would ask. Among my best friends in the military were two Muslim brothers who suffered similar taunts. Yet, those incidents did not discourage me from continuing my service in the Illinois Air National guard for 10 more years."

Added to my disgust with the actions of Maj. Hasan for the crime of taking so many lives, and the terrible anguish he has brought to the families of his victims, is anger for the anguish he has brought to all American Arabs and Muslims, and to his fellow Arab and Muslim military members. And, I am angry that so many people seem to believe that if any Muslim commits a crime, or even acts badly in any way, then every Muslim must apologize for their actions. Why is that?

There have been many tragic shooting sprees over the years. For example:

Similar civilian incidents:

•1966 - Charles Whitman killed his wife and mother and then went up to a tower at the University of Texas in Austin and killed 14 people and wounded 32 others before the police killed him.
•1970 - 29 members of the Ohio National Guard opened fire on unarmed students protesting the expansion of the Vietnam War into Cambodia on the Kent State University college campus, killing 4 and wounding 9 others.
•1984 - James Oliver Huberty went into a McDonald's in San Ysidro, CA and killed 21 people and injured 19 others before being killed himself.
•1991 - George Hennard drove into Luby's diner in Killeen, TX and killed 23 people and wounded more than 20 before committing suicide.
•1999 - Eric Harris & Dylan Klebold went into their Columbine H.S. and killed 13 people and injured wounded 24 before commitng suicide.
•2002 - John Allen Muhammad & Lee Boyd Malvo killed 10 people and wounded 3 people in D.C., MD, and VA.
•2005 - Jeffrey Weise killed his grandfather and his grandfather's girlfriend on the Red Lake, MN Chippewa reservation, then went to Red Lake H.S. where he killed 7 people and wounded 5 others before committing suicide.
•2006 - Charles Carl Roberts IV went into an Amish school in Lancaster County, PA and killed 5 girls before committing suicide.
•2007 - Seung-Hui Cho went on a rampage at Virginia Tech and killed 32 people and wounded many others before committing suicide.
•2007 - Sulejman Talovic went on a rampage in a Utah mall and killed 5 people and wounded 4 before being shot.

Similar military incidents

•1995 - Sgt. William J. Kreutzer, Jr. killed one officer and wounded 17 other soldiers when he opened fire on a formation at Fort Bragg, NC.
•2003 - Army sergeant Hasan Karim Akbar killed two officers of the 327th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division in Iraq (He was a Muslim convert)
•2005 - Two officers were killed at Forward Operating Base Danger in Tikrit, Iraq by a deliberately placed mine. Staff Sergeant Alberto B. Martinez was charged in the killing but was acquitted in a court martial trial at Fort Bragg, NC.
•2006 - Pvt. Steven Green raped a 14-year-old girl, and killed her and 3 other members of her family in Iraq
•2007 - Master Sgt. John Hatley convicted of the execution-style killings of 4 bound and blindfolded Iraqi detainees near Baghdad.
•2007 - Olin Ferrier, a Fort Carson, CO soldier killed a taxi driver in Pueblo, CO
•2008 - Staff Sgt. Brandon Norris killed Spc. Kamisha Block and then committed suicide in Iraq. The military first reported this as a death by "friendly fire".
•2008 - Spc. Jody Michael Wirawan killed 1st Lt. Robert Bartlett Fletcher at Fort Hood and then committed suicide
•2008 - Dustin Thorson, an Air Force technical sergeant killed his son and daughter on Tinker Air Base, OK. (He had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after returning from Iraq.)
•2008 - Edgar Patino, a soldier at Fort Bragg, NC killed another soldier Spc. Megan Touma who was pregnant.
•2009 - Jomar Falu Vives a Fort Carson, CO soldier and Iraq war veteran accused of killing 2 people and wounding another in drive-by shootings.

by Sheila Musaji The American Muslim