Feature

Fort Hood: Crime or terrorism?

Do Fort Hood shooter Nidal Malik Hasan's religious beliefs make his massacre some form of jihad?

The more we learn about Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the more questions arise. Hasan is an observant Muslim who didn’t want to deploy to Iraq. But Army colleagues also claim he made remarks supporting Muslim insurgents, and the FBI has been tracking Internet postings by a “Nidal Hasan” that spoke sympathetically of suicide bombers. Then there's the fact that Hasan shouted "Allahu Akbar!" ("God is great!") before opening fire. As Power Line blogger John Hindraker asks, was this “a terrorist attack, or just a disgruntled soldier who snapped”? (Watch raw footage from the Fort Hood shootings)

Of course it’s Islamic terrorism: “The moment I first heard about the mass murders at Fort Hood,” says Phyllis Chesler at Pajamas Media, “I knew in my bones that the shooter or shooters were Muslims.” Go ahead and “call me ‘Islamophobic'... [but] we must connect the dots before it is too late. Islam now=jihad=hate propaganda=9/11=the tragedy at Ft. Hood.”
“The jihadist is always the victim”

Why compound this tragedy with “Islamophobia”? Yes, Hasan is Muslim, says John Nichols in The Nation. But he's also a stressed-out psychiatrist who was being deployed to Iraq—his reported worst nightmare. “To assume a follower of Islam who engages in violence is a jihadist” is as absurd as assuming that “every Christian who attacks others is a crusader.”
“Horror at Fort Hood inspires horribly predictable Islamophobia”

The non-Islam explanations don’t cut it: The Hasan-was-scared-of-deployment “explanation doesn’t pass muster,” says Marc Moore in PoliGazette, so “his motivations must have come from a deeply rooted personal sense of vengeance.” It may be "premature” to tie that urge to his “religious and social beliefs,” but the Islam connection “should be a primary line of inquiry, wherever it leads on the path to the heart of darkness.”
“Unanswered questions about Fort Hood madness”

Everybody take a deep breath: Hasan’s “motive might be ideological or religious anger,” says The Dallas Morning News in an editorial, but to jump to such a “furious and intemperate” conclusion is a huge disservice to the “roughly 3,000 American Muslims” serving loyally in the U.S. military. Let’s step back and let the FBI and military police do their job.
“Massacre at Fort Hood”

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SEE THE WEEK'S FULL COVERAGE OF FORT HOOD:

Fort Hood: The Al-Qaeda question
Fort Hood: What the world is saying
Red flags at Fort Hood
Sunday Talk Show Briefing: Religion's role in Fort Hood (Video)
Fort Hood: Obama's "flippant" speech
Who is Nidal Hasan: A timeline of the suspect's life
What Kimberly Munley's heroism means
Fort Hood: The combat stress debate
Fort Hood: Breaking opinion

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