Fort Hood shooter attacked Muslims, too

By Muqtedar KhanDirector of Islamic Studies, University of Delaware The American Muslim community is experiencing shock, disbelief and apprehension as … Continued

By Muqtedar Khan
Director of Islamic Studies, University of Delaware

The American Muslim community is experiencing shock, disbelief and apprehension as it watches the unfolding details of the shootings at Fort Hood in Texas. Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, a psychiatrist and practicing Muslim, born in Virginia of Jordanian parents, turned against his fellow citizens and military colleagues and murdered 13 and wounded 30.

What happened at Fort Hood follows a nightmare script that has been one of the biggest fears of the American Muslim community since the appalling events of September 11, 2001. One crazy Muslim, acting on his own, causing significant mayhem and murder and inviting anger and backlash against millions of peace loving and hardworking Americans who are Muslims. National and local Muslim organizations immediately issued strong condemnation of the event and called for calm.

It is important to understand that Major Hasan is an isolated, alienated and sad individual who was clearly not well adjusted to his life. In a community that values family life, he was single at 39 and still looking desperately for a wife, according to his former Imam. He was in an army that was at war with his co-religionists and he had difficulty dealing with that. He was frequently taunted and harassed for being a Muslim by his own colleagues. After years in the military and after years of caring for soldiers as a doctor, he did not feel as if he belonged and perhaps that was the key to why he could turn on his own.

This tragic episode presents serious dilemmas and challenges for both Muslim community organizations as well as for law enforcement and counter-terrorism agencies. Muslim organizations do not know how to explain this and the law enforcement agencies will be puzzling over how to understand it.

This was an unpredictable and isolated episode, impossible to anticipate and guard against. Hasan is an American-born, highly educated, long-term military man who simply snapped with devastating consequences. How do we anticipate this and prevent it? The Fort Hood shooting reminds me of the Columbine shooting; shocking and unexpected. On scrutiny after the fact one discovers warning signs but not enough to trigger action before it happened.

Since the election of President Obama, Islamophobic rhetoric was on the decline as people in key administrative positions abstained from using “Islamic” as a prefix when talking about issues related with the war on terror. But this episode will once again provide fodder for talk shows and websites, which exploit such isolated events to ratchet up Islamophobia.

Muslims across the country have been working hard to build bridges with mainstream America, to establish interfaith relations and carve out a place for the community on main street America. Hasan not only fired at unarmed soldiers at Fort Hood, but he also attacked the very foundations of all these bridges across the country. His actions will definitely weaken if not completely undermine the efforts of thousands of Americans to build bridges of peace and understanding.

According to some estimates there are over 10,000 Muslims in the U.S. military who serve loyally, with sincere and complete commitment. Many Muslims in the U.S. military have died fighting for America. General Colin Powell once spoke so eloquently about Cpl. Kareem Khan, a Purple Heart, who had died fighting for America. Let us hope that Major Hasan’s dastardly actions do not hurt the careers of the thousands of Kareem Khans proudly serving in U.S. military.

There is nothing that American Muslims can do to prevent such events. But we must now allow them to weaken our resolve to combat extremism, prejudice and ignorance in our society. We must redouble our efforts to continue to share the message of peace, tolerance and pluralism that is fundamental to Islamic believes to our congregations and our communities.

The tragedy at Fort Hood is a major test for Muslims and Americans. They must face the challenge with determination. Muslims must not allow it to force them to recede from the public sphere and from their struggle for understanding, for civil rights and against religious profiling and Islamophobia. Americans must not allow this isolated event to fall back on stereotypes about Islam and resuscitate the prejudices that all of us have worked so hard to curb.

Dr. Muqtedar Khan is Director of Islamic Studies at the University of Delaware and a Fellow of the Institute for Social policy and Understanding.

  • yasseryousufi

    How do we know he was motivated by Islam and not Hollywood~!

  • Athena4

    Actually, he was probably motivated by secondary PSTD, coupled with bullying from fellow soldiers about his religion. This is NOT condoning what he did. But, until he regains consciousness and starts talking to the investigators, we’ll never get the full story. Eyewitness accounts are generally unreliable, especially when someone is in fear of their life.

  • PanhandleWilly

    “there are over 10,000 Muslims in the U.S. military who serve loyally, with sincere and complete commitment.”"This was an unpredictable and isolated episode, impossible to anticipate and guard against.”How do we know? “There is nothing that American Muslims can do to prevent such events.”BS…the Moslem community could do much more. The Moslem community could cease it’s cpnstant effortrs to wall themselves off from American society and quit using religious freedom as a defense for attempting to set up their own mini-states in every neighborhood they sequester themselves in.

  • PanhandleWilly

    “How do we know he was motivated by Islam and not Hollywood~!”Probably a good clue was he was shouting Allah Akbar while shooting and not “May the force be with you.”

  • vikaspriyanka

    ISLAM is a liability to mankind.

  • zebra4

    vikaspriyanka:And with your diatribe against Muslims you are a black mark on Hinduism and India.Why: BECAUSE GUILT BY ASSOCIATION IS ILLOGICAL AND IRRATIONAL.

  • tlwinslow

    Why is the U.S. press still trying to treat Islam like any other religion when its members should really be treated as potential enemy combatants? What other religion’s main holy book tells them to spread the territory of Sharia by force and to kill any infidels who resist, while its god personally promises unbelievers torture in Hell and true believer jihadists paradise? The enlightened West that has evolved beyond the Age of Religion has been trying to teach Muslims to chuck all that, but the Ft. Hood case proves that even a lifetime of education can be overridden by Allah’s orders to kill infidels like mangy dogs.The problem with the Western media as well as the general pop. is ignorance of the history of the rise, spread and beliefs of Islam back 1400 years, softening them up into mixing Islam up with a mere religion when it’s a total world domination system, as well as Muslim disinfo. artists who want mass Muslim immigration for the same reason. Where can you catch up fast online for free to arm your mind with facts? Try the Historyscoper at

  • ccnl1

    Hmmm, Zebra4, someone’s shadow???

  • clearthinking1

    Nosiryousuni wrote:Excellent point.Fight and Kill.

  • yasseryousufi

    Excellent point.**************************************************************************************GutterThinking,I’ll stick to my point~! Ever watched a Hollywood flick? Its 100 times more violent.

  • Georgetowner1

    I am a Christian and I say to blame Muslims at large for the actions of those who insist on interpreting the Koran in a twisted manner to justify their violent actions is wrong. Just as it is not fair to call Christians bigots because the Klu Klux Klan claimed to be Christians and killed in God’s name, so it is with people who claim to be Muslim committing atrocities. During WWII, Japanese and Germans living in the US were persecuted because the Japan and Germany governments tried for world domination. Everyone’s sorry now about those “detention” camps that they threw the Japanese-Americans into but you can still read about it on Wikipedia if you’re interested.

  • clearthinking1

    Yasseryousufi wrote:Hollywood scripts are often written by unprincipled and undisciplined, sexually depraved writers who use violence to promote themselves and accumulate power and wealth. That does not sound like the writer of the Koran does it?P.S. I wonder how “Islamic scholars” interpret the phrase “fight and kill nonbelievers” in sura 9:verse 5. We know how millions of muslims have interpreted that phrase for a thousand years. Still looking for intellectual content in the Koran? Try science.

  • ThomasBaum

    yasseryousufiYou wrote, “GutterThinking,Do you realize that a “Hollywood flick” is just that a movie and not real?Unless I misunderstand you, how could something that is fake be 100 times “more violent” than something that happened in the real world?Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • yasseryousufi

    “yasseryousufiDo you realize that a “Hollywood flick” is just that a movie and not real?Dear Thomas Paul Moses Baum (I dont know who you’re trying to impress with this long name~~!), I know that Hollywood Movies are just fiction but havent you repeated the oft repeated quote “A Picture is worth a thousand words” Find me an expert on this subject worth his salt who says that Hollywood doesn’t contribute in making america the violent society that it is. The gory fight scenes of the American super hero Rambo killing a hundreds of vietnamese without a shred of grief. Those movies impact human minds a lot more than a book that is written in a language which more than 80% muslims cant even understand.~!

  • withouthavingseen

    Give me a break, Dr. Khan. Give me a break.

  • John74

    I note that Mr. Khan devotes much of his article to making excuses for hasan, such as “he was frequently taunted and harassed for being a Muslim”. Where is the evidence of this harassment? This is just a flimsy excuse. Mr. Khan is is full “damage control” mode, claiming that Americans will target American muslims with anger and hatred and he wants us to be nice. Nowhere does he ask American muslims to stop killing other Americans. Nor does Mr. Khan say that American muslims should work against radical islamists to keep America safe. He is just looking out for the muslims, not Americans.

  • waltonr1

    Re: “Since the election of President Obama, Islamophobic rhetoric was on the decline as people in key administrative positions abstained from using “Islamic” as a prefix when talking about issues related with the war on terror.” “Islamophobic”???? It’s not unreasonable to dis extremists that have voiced hatred of all that is not in accordance with their Sharia and practice its depredations on our soil. It is interesting how mainstream media like The Washington Post and New York times have failed to provide coverage of honor killings which have occurred in the US since Obama took charge. Can’t anger B. Husein and still expect face time at the White House, I suppose.

  • SteveofCaley

    I note Mr. Walton’s self-satisfied rhetoric which equates Islam with the terrorists who commit atrocities against civilization and decency, and yes, atrocities which offend the very core of true Muslim beliefs.I find, regrettably, that my religion Christianity forbids me to luxuriate in my own wrath and self-deluded importance.  It commands me to know myself and serve others.  It is suspiciously similar to Islam Perhaps I have something of a “distorted” view of Christianity – as unfamiliar as the “fundamentalist Wahabi” versions of Islam.  Fortunately for Mr. Walton, I assure you that “Christianity” seems to be but a historical artefact left over from the settlements of over 300 years ago, and nobody actually believes in it anymore.  Well, damn few of us.So do not fear, Mr. Khan – if true Christianity were to break out in the US, it would be seen as much of a foreign threat as Islam.  But, unlike the methods of history, why – there is no need to ban and burn the Gospels – just put them right out there on the coffee table, next to the bed, anywhere?  Don’t worry, for some reason there’s not a chance that people might actually understand and obey the teachings of the Little Rabbi who died for our sins.

  • SteveofCaley

    I have a very hard question to ask Mr. Khan.This Major, Dr. Hasan, clearly betrayed Islam.But did the Muslim Community in America betray him – let him slide into wrong, madness and heresy, hate insanity and apartheid – out of its own fearfulness?

  • SteveofCaley

    Finally – as I stumble over posts that seem like the lunatics have gotten to the computer system – finally. Islam faces the challenge that ALL groups seem to face in America – conform and become irrelevant, or separate and remain suspect.IF! ONLY! Islam just had a holiday late in December, with the Prophet’s birth, and a tree, of some sort – and no more! Why then, we’d embrace McIslam just the same as we do with the McChristians and McJews.It’s when religions and philosophies remain stubbornly adherent to core beliefs from which they will not budge – well, they remain suspect.If only Islam would – would mean nothing, and love everyone, and accept everyone’s beliefs no matter what they are, and become nothing more than a swoosh-trademark for Muslim, Inc., then we would hug it to our materialistic breast, and join Muslims onto our holiday card-and-shopping list, in the way that Chanukah and Kwanzaa is – we respect “their Christmas too.”The “total submission part” we like, it’s got us intrigued. Once Muslims can change it from the Allah fellow, to the American Monolithic Consumer Society, why then – we’ll even make up your own Islamic Mastercard (no interest, of course.)

  • ccnl1

    Once again, juust in case Muqtedar Khan missed this:Here is the Five Step Method to Deprogram/”Deflaw” 1400 years of Islamic brainwashing.Are you ready? Using “The 77 Branches of Islamic “faith” a collection compiled by Imam Bayhaqi as a starting point. In it, he explains the essential virtues that reflect true “faith” (iman) through related Qur’anic verses and Prophetic sayings.” i.e. a nice summary of the Koran and Islamic beliefs. “1. Belief in Allah”"aka as God, Yahweh, Zeus, Jehovah, Mother Nature, etc.” should be added to your cleansing neurons.”2. To believe that everything other than Allah was non-existent. Thereafter, Allah Most High created these things and subsequently they came into existence.”Evolution and the Big Bang or the “Gib Gnab” (when the universe starts to recycle) are more plausible and the “akas” for Allah should be included if you continue to be a “creationist”.”3. To believe in the existence of angels.”A major item for neuron cleansing. “4. To believe that all the heavenly books that were sent to the different prophets are true. However, apart from the Quran, all other books are not valid anymore.”Prophets were invented by ancient scribes typically to keep the uneducated masses in line. Today we call them fortune tellers.”5. To believe that all the prophets are true. However, we are commanded to follow the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) alone.”Mohammed supposedly spent thirty days fasting in a hot cave before his first contact with Allah aka God etc. via a “pretty wingy thingy”. Common sense demands a neuron deletion of #5. #5 is also the major source of Islamic violence i.e. turning Mohammed’s “fast, hunger-driven” hallucinations into horrible reality for unbelievers. Accept these five “cleansers” and we guarantee a complete recovery from your Islamic ways!!!!

  • Mary_Cunningham

    Dr Khan:It came from within: from our own community of Muslims. Three sons of Pakistani migrants (in demographic speak, second generation Britons) plus one 2nd generation African Caribbean convert descended into the tube (subway) and detonated themselves plus 52 others, bringing the city to a standstill and terror to its inhabitants. The next year an assortment of immigrants and the children of Pakistani immigrants attempted to blow up 10 airplanes en route to the US. The following year Muslim Indian migrants attempt to nail bomb two London nightclubs. The first two terrorist acts (or attempted acts) had ‘training’ in Pakistan; the last—the doctors—were acting ‘alone’ whatever that means. As was Dr. Hasan. However, the • • So you see Dr. Hasan fits the profile of British Islamists terrorists. And you are in denial if you assert the contrary.Although I wish you well and you seem to be a good man , you need to face what really happened.Yours sincerely,

  • ProudAmerican1

    It high time the Muslim community quit defending their lovely religion and take a stand against their confused very dangerous members. This is expected of all other faiths. It’s time to own up to why this keeps happening and quit trying to convince us all that the Koran doesn’t say anything to encourage these individuals. Political correctness must not override common sense and compassion on the newly dead and their grieving families at the hand of someone who professes this faith.

  • ProudAmerican1

    Mr. Kahn:

  • MarieDevine

    Muslims, Iraqis and Afghans in America cannot help but have conflict within themselves. They do not know that the solutions are written in their holy books, not to kill, but to win over the enemy with good. All sides need correction back to IT IS WRITTEN in their holy book. God has prepared the way for peace and correction by cross-referencing various prophets. The way is prepared when we are ready to bring God into the discussion. God promises it will get worse UNTIL we do. Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28; Qur’an, Ahmad. Number 5.68, 69; 42.14-16.

  • ThomasBaum

    yasseryousufiYou wrote, “Dear Thomas Paul Moses Baum (I dont know who you’re trying to impress with this long name~~!),”I am not trying to impress anyone, it just happens to be my real name, is yasseryousufi your real name?You then wrote, “I know that Hollywood Movies are just fiction but havent you repeated the oft repeated quote “A Picture is worth a thousand words” “I could be wrong but I do not think that I have ever “repeated” that quote even once on these postings.You then wrote, “Find me an expert on this subject worth his salt who says that Hollywood doesn’t contribute in making america the violent society that it is. The gory fight scenes of the American super hero Rambo killing a hundreds of vietnamese without a shred of grief. Those movies impact human minds a lot more than a book that is written in a language which more than 80% muslims cant even understand.~!”Do you think that “these movies” have had more to do with what some have done in the “name of islam” than maybe something else?There is violence in America and there happens to be violence in other places around the earth, seems to be a thing with us humans, doesn’t it?I suppose a place where absolutely all “freedom” is squashed would be “violence free” but it would also be populated by a bunch of robotic, dead yet still breathing people who are coerced subtly or otherwise by those that “know” what is best for “us”.If one has freedom, one has responsibilities, if one has every aspect of their life spelled out for them whether they agree or not, one has a “living death”, is this not true?It is very easy and also very human to place the blame on the “other”, is it not? Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • enam937

    I am a Muslim. I am angry, upset, mad, pissed off, sad but mostly ashamed for such polical correctness. Under God, this country has been founded with the strength of immigrants who wants liberty and justice. In the name of freedom of speech these extremists are dividing us. Just go to any mosque on Friday, you will find anti-American propagandas. I am sick of these idiots. If they hate us, Americans, so much just get the hell out of this country. No one is stopping you to create your own nation. Woops, I forgot, these idiots have no rights in their own country (Middle East). Who the heck are you to judge who will go in heaven and who will go in hell? Stop listening to your illiterate Imam’s in Mosque; they are just like Hitler pushing their idiotic ideology. I leave you with quotation from the holy Quran. If any Muslim reading this, remember the Holy Quran says it is a complete book. Quran is the only guidance. [5:69] Surely, those who believe, those who are Jewish, the converts, and the Christians; any of them who (1) believe in GOD and (2) believe in the Last Day, and (3) lead a righteous life, have nothing to fear, nor will they grieve.[22:17] Those who believe, those who are Jewish, the converts, the Christians, the Zoroastrians, and the idol worshipers, GOD is the One who will judge among them on the Day of Resurrection. GOD witnesses all things.[30:32] (Do not fall in idol worship,) like those who divide their religion into sects; each party rejoicing with what they have.[42:14] Ironically, they broke up into sects only after the knowledge had come to them, due to jealousy and resentment among themselves. If it were not for a predetermined decision from your Lord to respite them for a definite interim, they would have been judged immediately. Indeed, the later generations who inherited the scripture are full of doubts.

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