Muslims condemn violent acts at Fort Hood and offer condolences

The greatest tragedy in yesterday’s shooting at the Fort Hood military base was the death of 13 American soldiers, not … Continued

The greatest tragedy in yesterday’s shooting at the Fort Hood military base was the death of 13 American soldiers, not to mention the life-changing impact on the 30 injured. This is the human tragedy. And there is Major Nidal M. Hassan’s violent breach of the sanctity of the American military and its commitment to respect and trust between its personnel. When one considers the roughly 20,000 Muslims serving in the American military, this is particularly shocking. This is the American tragedy.

Yet as a Muslim, I cannot deny my heartache at the potential impact of this horrific event on the American Muslim community. When I heard the news, my initial reaction was shock and sorrow. How could this happen? What will the families of the victims do? Who would do this? Are my friends and family who serve in the armed forces safe? I prayed that the victims’ families and the other soldiers involved would feel peace and comfort in spite of their fear and suffering. I prayed for our country. A distressing thought then crossed my mind…and it lingered. What if the perpetrator was a Muslim?

When Hassan’s identity was confirmed, my heart sank even further. I grieved for my community and country. Nothing is more damaging to American attitudes towards Islam and Muslims than senseless acts of violence such as that carried out by Hassan. Nothing.
(ASMA statement on the Ford Hood Tragedy)

I am, however, encouraged by the restraint shown in the media, not immediately assuming Hassan’s motives were religious per se. I am also heartened by the firm denouncements and thoughtful responses from Muslim organizations and ordinary Muslims across the country and globe. Muslim have unequivocally drawn the line in the sand: This does not represent us. We abhor this act. Violence in the name of Islam will be rejected (see Jihad Against Violence statement). Now, let’s pick ourselves up and continue to build a country and world based on mutual understanding, respect and peace.

The links below represent just a few of the responses from the American-Muslim community, in particular from our network of Muslim Leaders of Tomorrow, one of the largest networks of global Muslim leaders representing the next generation (visit website).

Wajahat Ali, “Fort Hood Has Enough Victims Already,” Guardian, Friday, November 6, 2009

Arsalan Iftikhar, “Prayers for Fort Hood Tonight…,” True Slant,Thursday, November 5, 2009

Shahed Amanullah, “Treachery at Fort Hood,” AltMuslim Thursday, November 5, 2009

Others have expressed deep sympathy and support for the families affected by this tragedy.

“I am deeply saddened and extend my prayers to the victims, their families, and to the dedicated first responders who rushed to the scene. Like others, I want to know how and why this happened, but I believe that we should allow the Army and federal authorities the space to investigate before we rush to judgment.” Asim Rehman, President of the Muslim Bar Association of New York.

“My heartfelt condolences and prayers of support go to the families of the victims and the injured veterans. The events at Fort Hood are horrific, deplorable and criminal. This man’s religion has nothing to do with my Islam.” Sayyeda Mirza-Jafri, Philanthropy Consultant

“I feel very sad about the terrible events at Fort Hood. My heart goes out to the families of the victims and their fellow soldiers. On the other hand, just like many fellow Muslim Americans, I feel worried that the Fort Hood incident will put a negative light on Muslim American soldiers and civilians and make people distrust them. I truly hope that President Obama will address these concerns and any potential backlash against US Muslims – both military and civilian. Yes, we have elected the first black president, but true equality will come only when tragic incidents such as one at Fort Hood will be seen for what they are and will not be closely linked to religious or ethnic identity.” Nadira Artyk, Journalist

“In such tragedies one can’t help but feel saddened by the loss of precious human lives. My deepest sympathy goes to the family and friends of those soldiers who are victims of this tragedy.” Samer Saleh, Financial Consultant

“I want to extend my heartfelt condolences to the families of the deceased, who were no doubt amongst the bravest Americans. While it’s never easy to know what brought about such violence in an individual, I do know that it is completely inconsistent with the teachings of Islam and in fact all religious traditions. My heart goes out to all those affected by this tragedy.” Shenila Khoja-Moolji, Graduate Student, Harvard University

As we await further details on the attack, my sincere hope is that Americans will continue to demonstrate compassion and thoughtfulness. How can we support the victims and their families? How can we prevent future violence? How can we rally around each other and reinforce our collective commitments to our country? To manipulate this already heart-wrenching event in order to promote fear, stereotyping, and violence would be another tragedy. And it would be an affront to the legacy of the brave victims who stood daily for our country’s values: opportunity for all, respect for difference and peace.

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  • Navin1

    Perhaps it is time for the moderate muslims to stand up and say that the parts of the koran that say god hates the infidel are now to be stripped from the koran. Perhaps it is time now to say any person who kills in the name of islam violates the koranic references to killing infidels. Perhaps it is time now to stand up and say islam has failed to modernize the thinking of muslims and needs to abandon the medieval construct of religion embodied in the us v them ideology of the koran. That would be a start to preventing crazy people from rationalizing their break from reality on religious nonsense. hariaum

  • WmarkW

    OK, we’ll suspend judgment for now.But if it turns out this guy was motivated by Islam, and those four guys charged with plotting to blow up JFK are guilty, does there come ANY point where faulting Islam becomes viable?Or will you and Eboo and Pamela Taylor keep telling us that “those” Muslims mis-interpret the Koran because they read it literally and don’t excise the parts that are obviously wrong to modern ears?

  • abhab1

    You quote ASMA as saying:“This tragic and senseless violence is antithetical to our Islamic faith which promotes compassion and respect for life.”

  • clearthinking1

    Dear Daisy the Modern non-Hijab Muslim,You make some interesting points.Let us read the Koran.Fight and Kill. Read and follow the Koran or stop being an apologist for Islamic violence.

  • John74

    It seems to me that the problem is muslims killing non-muslims, not the opposite. Like many muslim-Americans, Ms. Khan decries these acts of violence only AFTER they have occurred. Muslims in America need to do more to prevent these attacks BEFORE they happen. Until then, they do not have much credibility and islam will still be considered the “religion of terror”.

  • SteveofCaley

    Muslim, look to your Jewish friends for strength this time; for the evil that is passing over, has snared many of them.  Wikipedia offers this somber view onto a most terrible anniversary upcoming: 
    Pogromnacht was some seventy years ago.

  • Navin1

    Good thinking requires thinking things alike alike. Things that are different should be thought of as different. The idea that Nazi type thinking is the source of american angst against islam is nonsense. Recognize that hatred is in Nazi thinking because of the ideology of the chosen people. Islam and christianity support this ideology. That is the source ideology of hate. That is the source ideology of killers everywhere. America will fail. That is history. But if America fails now, the end is nuclear. Who will stop the sale of nukes to christo-islamists. Africa will be destroyed more effectively by christians already killing each other. Asia will be destroyed by islamic nukes. Then europe. It is when islam and christianity give up their ideology of being the chosen group of god, when they give up the ideology of uniqueness in world history as the source of good, then we can have peace (until someone else invents an ideology of hate).hariaum

  • justillthennow

    John74, “It seems to me that the problem is muslims killing non-muslims, not the opposite. Like many muslim-Americans, Ms. Khan decries these acts of violence only AFTER they have occurred. Muslims in America need to do more to prevent these attacks BEFORE they happen. Until then, they do not have much credibility and islam will still be considered the “religion of terror”.”And how do you suggest that Muslims prevent this type of attack? The US Army did not or could not, and he was one of theirs. You want to pass blame on the Muslim community, and I am sure that more can be done to transmute the current emotional as well as theological climate in that community. But then, many in that community have no alignment or belief in violence as a valid response to a world at odds with their religion. So how is it that they are responsible for the actions of those that pursue violence as a path?And again, it appears that it was a failing of the Army establishment in recognizing and responding to a potential threat in Mr. Hasan. If you do not blame the Army for failing to recognize and contain a threat that they saw and interacted with daily, how can you blame Muslim citizens that did not have that level of interaction with this man?

  • bpuharic

    How often must these things happen before Muslims recognize there’s a problem in Islam? The armies of whole nations (including Muslims nations) are deployed to fight Islamist fanatics. Yet many Muslims continue to say this is the work of ‘extremists.’ When Omar Al Bashir, the genocidal dictator of Sudan visited Turkey he was welcomed by Prime Minister Erdogan, who said that a Muslim can’t commit genocide.The problem is NOT the attitude of non-Muslims. Muslims are suffering because a fairly large number of other Muslims, such as Erdogan, or the Pakistani ISI leaders, think Muslims are defending themselves in a war against ‘infidels’. And the rest of us suffer as well. Unfortunately we have to defend ourselves, as people did in times past when Christians did similar things. But to excuse these actions away, as if they are not part of Islam is to deny the very nature of the problem: Today, Islam has a large and violent component. Muslims must take the lead in destroying this aspect of their faith.