We need to keep in mind that Muslims who are US citizens are just that, US citizens, and are loyal to the United States. Your Muslim neighbor is just as interested in keeping the US free of terrorist attacks as you are. He or she is, like you, a believer in truth, justice and the American Way.
On the other hand, we realize that out there around the world are people who see Communism, Fascism and Democracy as contrary to their religious belief. Chief amongst those people is Osama bin Laden. However, we suspicion there are some amongst us who think that way.
Further complicating the picture are those who think that United States (or the West) is waging a war against Islam. Major Hasan would appear to at least belong to this group.
Then there are our fellow citizens who think that we just shouldn't be over in Iraq and Afghanistan, regardless of religion or political belief.
But, against them are people like Boston Globe columnist Ellen Goodman, who worries about the loss of women's rights if we back peddle in Afghanistan.
This is a big package of thoughts to keep straight.
And remember that 2.5 million to 9 million of our fellow citizens are Muslim. Compared to a total population over 300 million, it is a small number, but in terms of fellow human beings it is a large number. And where are they from? The Pew Trust has a report.
A relatively large proportion of Muslim immigrants are from Arab countries (24%), but many also come from Pakistan (10%) and other South Asian countries (8%). Among native-born Muslims, slightly more than half are African American (20% of U.S. Muslims overall), many of whom are converts to Islam. It is naive to draw broad generalizations about this diverse population.Complicating it is the fact that organizations like the US military has up to 10,000 Muslims in its ranks. That is half the number of people that makes up a division (18,000 to 22,000 depending on make, model and year of the division). As Jack Mitchell points out in a comment on this blog post on this blog site, unit cohesion depends upon us accepting everyone. Dr Alan Gropman, in his history of Air Force integration during World War II, points out that you have to all be heading in the same direction. Treating members of the force as second class citizens means unit failure.
I can't make it any plainer than that. If we start suspecting every Muslim service member of disloyalty, we will seriously damage our military.
On the other hand, the fact is that Major Nidal Malik Hasan had been, in the words of the Nuns when I was young, placing himself in the near occasion of sin.
But, how serious is listening to other views? Someone who is in a position to know, both from supervising Muslims in the Army and from brushing up against academic types said that he had heard anti-American thoughts
expressed almost everyday of my 8 years in the Middle East by so called friends of the US... and I could have added I have heard the same sentiments at MESA meetings, and in the halls of academia, so I guess we should start rounding up the snotty, left wing, Islamic apologist profs who dominate what passes Middle East studies in the US.Gee, I hope he doesn't mean my wife's cousin, the professor.
And, Muslims come in all sorts of religious tints. Like Jews and Amish, who wish isolation from the larger society, so do some Muslims, as per this article.
And then there is Major Hasan. In this Telegraph article talks about the Dar al-Hijrah mosque he attended in Great Falls, Virginia, in 2001, and the Imam, Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born Yemeni scholar.
Hasan's eyes "lit up" when he mentioned his deep respect for al-Awlaki's teachings, according to a fellow Muslim officer at the Fort Hood base in Texas, the scene of Thursday's horrific shooting spree.I have a lot of respect for Charlie Allen. If we were in a group and he came in and said that a flying saucer had just landed outside, I would go look, because I have never seen a flying saucer and I would expect to see one, on Mr Allen's say-so.
As investigators look at Hasan's motives and mindset, his attendance at the mosque could be an important piece of the jigsaw. Al-Awlaki moved to Dar al-Hijrah as imam in January, 2001, from the west coast, and three months later the September 11 hijackers Nawaf al-Hamzi and Hani Hanjour began attending his services. A third hijacker attended his services in California.
Hasan was praying at Dar al-Hijrah at about the same time, and the FBI will now want to investigate whether he met the two terrorists.
Charles Allen, a former under-secretary for intelligence at the Department of Homeland Security, has described al-Awlaki, who now lives in Yemen, as an "al-Qaeda supporter, and former spiritual leader to three of the September 11 hijackers... who targets US Muslims with radical online lectures encouraging terrorist attacks from his new home in Yemen".
Someone noted to me: "I hope we all agree that American Muslims could be a powerful counter-terrorism asset. We should do everything we can to avoid the "us vs. them" debate from surfacing again." Good point.
So, pick your poison. We have several million Muslim fellow citizens and we need to make sure we don't push them away. There are probably dozens of terrorists in our midst—terrorists who would as soon kill a Muslim as a non-Muslim, as they have demonstrated so well in the Middle East.
As for me, I am saying, all Muslims citizens of this Great Nation are innocent until proven guilty.
On the other hand, one wonders if Major Hasan hadn't been giving off signals for a long time. But, these signals might have been as much about his mental state as his particular beliefs in Islam. This raises serious questions about any Army Personnel Reliability Program (PRP) efforts. Not that Major Hasan dealt with nuclear or chemical weapons, but he did deal with people who might have dealt with such weapons in his role as psychiatrist.
In the end, I still lean to Major Hasan being mentally disturbed and bringing his religion into that disturbance. I also believe that his association with more extremist views within Islam added to his mental disturbance. I don't believe he was a terrorist in the sense that he made a rational decision to act to achieve objectives for al Qaeda in a global Wahhabist war against the West.
Regards — Cliff