Should Hasan be court-martialed?

By Mikey Weinsteinpresident, Military Religious Freedom Foundation We are learning more each day about Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the man … Continued

By Mikey Weinstein
president, Military Religious Freedom Foundation

We are learning more each day about Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the man accused of senselessly and mercilessly killing 13 people, including 12 of his fellow soldiers, at Fort Hood earlier this month. It has now become reasonably clear that Hasan was in contact with radical Muslim cleric Anwar al-Aulaqi and may have incorporated aspects of Islam into his work as an Army psychiatrist. He allegedly argued in 2007 that Muslims should not be serving as American troops in conflicts with Islamic countries, because of the “risk to hurting/killing believers unjustly.”

This revelatory news is terribly saddening. But what is significantly worse is the revelation that the Pentagon was incontrovertibly aware of Hasan’s alleged actions of professional malfeasance and chose to do nothing. We have not heard any instance in which Hasan was meaningfully reprimanded, disciplined or told that his opprobrious actions and his communications violated military policy, military law and even the sworn oath he took to support and defend the Constitution vice his parochial fundamentalist interpretation of the Qur’an.

If it is proven true that Hasan was advocating for Muslims to be excused from combat operations and other U.S. military service, then he should have been aggressively and immediately court-martialed. If true, then he was criminally forwarding the wretched proposition that followers of Islam are less “American” than their Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, atheist or agnostic brothers and sisters in arms. He was, in essence, exacerbating a horrid stereotype and actually helping to create, if not buttress, the hostile environment surrounding him.

The bedrock truth is that all men and women who have willfully and voluntarily taken the solemn oath to honorably and nobly serve their country in uniform are absolutely equal. Our United States Constitution so demands. Thus, the presumption must be that they all are willing to do whatever is necessary to protect their country. Even if that means the ultimate sacrifice of laying down their lives. Did anyone question whether Christian soldiers were capable of killing other Christians in World War II? They were American soldiers first and foremost, and they had a military mission.

In the wake of the Fort Hood tragedy, I have directly heard from many Muslim soldiers and their families who are facing odious hostility at bases both domestically and abroad, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan. Loyal military families, who have become accustomed to stares and sneers, now face overt harassment from their brethren. We must as a country be adroit and human enough to understand what Hasan seemingly could not – that American military men and women are all on the same side, and must be treated with the same amount of respect.

We must use the Hasan case as a serious wake-up call to seek out those who try to unconstitutionally mix religion and the military, whether it is fundamentalist Muslims who place the Qur’an over their oath to the Constitution and obedience to the Uniform Code of Military Conduct, or fundamentalist Christians who tyrannically oppress those who do not embrace their “approved” form of gospel faith. The First Bottom Line is simply this; if the Pentagon had taken the matter of fundamentalist religious coercion and proselytizing seriously, Hasan’s alleged shocking words and actions in 2007 would have raised swift and significant alarms, and his ability to serve as a United States Army officer and psychiatrist would have been timely questioned and investigated.

As renown Rabbi Leo Baeck said, “In this life, we are judged not just by what we do, but also by what we allow to be done.” The Second Bottom Line is this; the men and women in uniform who claim to have heard or observed Hasan place his Islamic faith and/or the Qur’an over the United States Constitution and did nothing of significant moment at all, are equally responsible for him being allowed to continue to serve and for the heinous actions at Fort Hood. Specious claims of “political correctness” be damned, the simple truth is that they should have been court-martialed as well.

It is quite possible that our military personnel did not see the inherent conflict and breach of duty in Hasan’s alleged overtly religious words and actions because the Pentagon has systemically allowed, if not abjectly encouraged, one particular exclusionary brand of a religion and American military service to freely mix and ignominiously blend. For years now, the Department of Defense has paved the way for fundamentalist Christian military and civilian officials and organizations to boundlessly proselytize on armed forces installations around the world, and to make this extremely intolerant version of Christian religious observance an inherent requirement for the well being and advancement of subordinate military personnel. Perhaps those who claim to have heard Hasan’s words of similar religious triumphalism believed he was just expressing his faith in the same manner they had seen countless fundamentalist Christian military members do before and, thus, did not see that partisan theological screed for the blatantly dangerous Constitutional violation cum national security threat it truly was. But, alas, they were wrong; tragically wrong.

In Latin, there is a phrase, “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes,” or “Who will guard the guards?” The Military Religious Freedom Foundation has consistently fought to protect the Constitutional religious freedoms of all U.S. military personnel, and to stop the relentless and ubiquitous fundamentalist Christian proselytizing on military bases. We call this aforementioned, national security plague a “fundamentalist Christian, parachurch-military-corporate proselytizing complex”. We are working day and night, around-the-clock to eradicate it and create a culture where our U.S. servicemen and women are treated equally and their contributions valued on their objective merits and not upon their personal choice of religious faith or lack thereof. Indeed, America, as a country collectively, must do a far better job of “guarding the guards,” so that they-in turn- can better guard us and our hard fought and precious freedoms, at home and abroad.

Mikey Weinstein is founder and president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, former legal counsel in the Reagan White House, former general counsel to two-time presidential candidate H. Ross Perot, and an honor graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy.

  • kathylenhardt

    Yay, Mike!

  • abhab1

    Weinstein asks:“If it is proven true ( that Hasan was advocating for Muslims to be excused from combat operations and other U.S. military service,)………, then he was criminally forwarding the wretched proposition that followers of Islam are less “American” than their Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, atheist or agnostic brothers and sisters in arms.”The truth of the matter is that he was simply confirming a well established article of Muslim faith that Muslims owe allegiance only to the Ummah; Muslim international community.

  • CCNL

    Sounds more like a condemnation of some red-necked Christian AF officers/sergeants trying to infuse Christianity in their troops than the calling for the court-martialling of one koranic-following, nut-case, Army psychiatrist!!!Some background on Mikey W.From Wikipedia:In October 2005, Weinstein sued the United States Air Force for permitting proselytization by evangelical Christian officers. U.S. District Judge James A. Parker, who presided over Weinstein v. U.S. Air Force, dismissed the case, stating, “No Plaintiff claims to have personally experienced any of the things described under “Factual Allegations”… while at the Academy or after leaving the Academy.” “The only fair reading of Plaintiffs’ factual allegations limits them to practices and events at the Academy and policies as they affect persons, other than Plaintiffs, at the Academy.” “Not a single Plaintiff has alleged any personal factual situation that has allegedly impinged on that Plaintiff’s constitutional rights since the Plaintiff left the Academy.” [1]Weinstein served as the first General Counsel to Texas billionaire and two-time Presidential candidate H. Ross Perot and Perot Systems Corporation and left Mr. Perot’s employ in 2006 to focus his full-time attention on the nonprofit foundation he founded in March 2006 to directly battle the evangelical, fundamentalist religious right; the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. This foundation was formed as a watchdog organization to protect religious freedom in the Military in accordance with Department of Defense Directive 1300.17, Accommodation of Religious Practices Within the Military Services.[2][3]“It now appears Mikey W. is trying to win his case in the blog courts!!!

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Good to see you on this blog, Mike.

  • CCNL

    Hmmm, Mikey W is the president of the non-profit Military Religious Freedom Foundation and therefore must file an IRS Form 990. This report then becomes part of the public record. Said foundation must report donations, salaries, expenses etc. on this form. And Mikey W’s salary for 2008 was ? And the donations were?????

  • yasseryousufi

    ABHAB1 wrote,”The truth of the matter is that he was simply confirming a well established article of Muslim faith that Muslims owe allegiance only to the Ummah; Muslim international community.”So one muslim guy goes bonkers and takes down 13 people (A despicable crime, for which he’ll surely rot in hell after he’s rightfully been executed in USA!), and we got Professional haters like AHBAB1 spewing their incessant filth on all the reasonable blogs to appear on ON FAITH wrt to this incident. (Mike Weinstein needs to be applauded for this wonderfully balanced article~!) AHBAB1 who do you believe the dozens of Muslim americans who died while serving USA in Iraq and Afghanistan owed their allegiance to? Why does this one sick individual defines Islam for you and not the thousands other noble men and women serving the army dont? Doesn’t it say something about the racist in you?

  • coloradodog

    Well, Mikey, your grammar is incorrect. The Major will be court marshaled, now. The real question is whether or not he “should have been” court marshaled before.You point out “if the Pentagon had taken the matter of fundamentalist religious coercion and proselytizing seriously, Hasan’s alleged shocking words and actions in 2007 would have raised swift and significant alarms, and his ability to serve as a United States Army officer and psychiatrist would have been timely questioned and investigated.”The fact is the Pentagon does not take the matter of fundamentalist religious coercion and proselytizing seriously as evidenced by the actions of fundamentalist Christian Air Force Officers at your alma matter. Wouldn’t it be a double standard to let this go on and prohibit others doing the same, or do “Christians” get special dispensation?

  • coloradodog

    Retraction, please. The author makes the same point I did. My apology.

  • CCNL

    Hmmm, Mikey W is the president of the non-profit Military Religious Freedom Foundation and therefore must file an IRS Form 990. This report then becomes part of the public record. Said foundation must report donations, salaries, expenses etc. on this form. And Mikey W’s salary for 2008 was ? And the donations were?????As per Form 990, Mikey W’s salary for 2008 was $252,485. Total donations made to his foundation for 2008 were $545,434. Non-profit??? Hmmmm????????

  • halozcel1

    **(A despicable crime,for which he’ll surely rot in hell after he’s rightfully been executed)-Since when,killing Infidel Soldiers who murder muslims becomes a Sin which takes muslims to Hell ?

  • ccnl1

    What does a name have to do with it when you see how Mikey W. is taking advantage of his foundations donors? Are we not to criticize because a person’s last name sounds Jewish?? Irish?? Chinese??Again with respect to Mikey Weinstein’s IRS Form 990:Hmmm, Mikey W is the president of the non-profit Military Religious Freedom Foundation and therefore must file an IRS Form 990. This report then becomes part of the public record. Said foundation must report donations, salaries, expenses etc. on this form. And Mikey W’s salary for 2008 was ? And the donations were?????As per Form 990, Mikey W’s salary for 2008 was $252,485. Total donations made to his foundation for 2008 were $545,434. Non-profit??? Hmmmm????????

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