The nation’s worst peacetime military massacre was perpetrated by a deeply troubled army psychiatrist and devout Muslim. The motives for the crime are a jumble of the personal, psychological, professional, religious and sectarian. As is rarely the case in these circumstances, much is grey, and little is black and white except the huge burden of suffering Maj. Nidal Hassan inflicted on the victims and their families.
Though Maj. Hassan’s family emigrated to the U.S. from Ramallah in the 1960s it does not appear, at least at first glance, that the Arab-Israeli conflict was one of his primary grievances. He had other things troubling him more. First, sharing the searing pain of his patients who were veterans of the Afghan and Iraq wars. Second, his own imminent deployment to the war zone and all the existential fears this must have invoked. Third, his escalating opposition to those two wars on the soil of Muslim nations. Fourth, his conviction that his religion was disrespected in the military ranks.
Let’s be clear. I’m not excusing or defending in any way Hassan’s killing spree. He certainly deserves punishment if found guilty after a fair trial. But I’m not one of those who believes that anything is gained by refusing to examine why things happen and what people think who do bad things. Only by exploring the dark recesses may we ameliorate conditions for the most troubled, so they don’t feel the need to explode and take their anguish out on the rest of us.
The N.Y. Times’ coverage of this incident earns high marks because it is not focussing only on the superficial facts of the case. The newspaper is delving deeply into root causes and mental health conditions among military personnel. For example, I had no idea there are only 400 psychiatrists for 500,000 active duty troops and that patients seeking help can wait as long as a year for an appointment with a psychiatrist. Also, these vastly overburdened professionals have no organized support system to help them with their own problems brought on by their responsibilities. They are left on their own when it comes to taking care of their own mental health.
Again, though I’m not excusing Hassan’s actions, I’m troubled that he felt trapped by his commitment to serve the army in return for its financing of his medical education. His family says (and I have no way of verifying whether this is true or not) that he tried to discuss this with the army and his requests to end his enlistment were turned down. I understand why the army might not readily wish to allow officers in whom they’ve invested a great deal of time, energy and money to leave the armed services. But by not providing a clearer path for those in Hassan’s circumstances, they led him to feel trapped.
At least part of Hassan’s motivations appear to be mixed up in a sense of religious rage against the Afghan and Iraq wars and America’s role in them. As he grew more and more devout, he appears to have adopted at least some of the rationale of Islamists critical of U.S. Middle East policy. There are many on the right who undoubtedly are attempting to link this crime with Al Qaeda. But it’s more complicated than that. This was a homegrown crime by an American Muslim. It was not a 9/11 act of terror perpetrated by Islamists schooled in Pakistani training camps. Nidal Hassan was born and raised here. His parents struggled and worked themselves up by their own bootstraps in the classic immigrant tradition of the American dream. Once Hassan lost his parents, he appears to have lost some of his bearings, which he attempted to replace by embracing devout Islam. Unfortunately, it led him to this dead end.
We should be clear that this is not the fault of Islam. It is the fault of a man who searched for answers in Islam and found rage and violence. It is the man who is imperfect and not the religion. The man chose violence not the religion. Those who wish to argue that Islam in particular is a religion of violence must also come to terms with the violence in most of the world’s major religions. Because Jewish settler terrorists commit mass murder against Palestinians and even their fellow Jews, do we say it is the Jewish religion that is at fault?
As Pres. Obama contemplates our future troop commitments to Afghanistan, I believe that this crime, no matter how inexcusable, is a warning sign of the price we and our soldiers are paying as a nation. It is too high a price. Afghanistan is a country steeped in corruption, malfeasance and unresolved ethnic and religious conflict. I don’t see our presence there as conducive to resolving any of that country’s festering decades-old problems. And for every Hassan, there are 50 other deeply wounded GIs who may not make us pay a similar price, but whose pain and suffering is no less. Do we really want to send more of our boys there and suffer the pain of the Hassans and his patients?
Thankfully, army commander Gen. George Casey has expressed concern for the impact that this act could have on the 2,000 Arab-Americans serving in the armed forces. He understands that not only do these Americans have the right to serve their country, but they can serve it in unique ways through their linguistic and cultural experiences as American Muslims. Criminalizing all for the crime of a deranged individual does our nation (and Muslims) a deep disservice.
This is precisely what is happening at Ft. Hood and elsewhere in certain cases. Mikey Weinstein, a retired officer and activist for religious freedom in the military, forwards this communication from the wife of an American Muslim serving in the military:
…I wanted to let you know what life has been like for myself, being an American-Muslim military spouse, over the last few days here at (military installation withheld), since the Ft. Hood incident. When I first learned of this, I was sitting in the PX food court with my best friend whose immediate reaction was, “ No offense to you, but Muslims shouldn’t even be allowed in the U.S. Army”. Wow, this was from my best friend here! I have heard this and similar sentiments repeatedly from various “friends”, as well as people insisting it’s really a terror plot.
Since this happening, my Muslim husband, who is deployed to Afghanistan, has been put on duty to build a chapel on his base, as well as being told not to associate with the Afghan nationals that work there. I went shopping at the commissary and had people mumbling under their breath but loud enough to ensure that I could hear, things like, “get out of our country”, “go back to your country”, “ F-ing Muslims”, “G-Damn Muslims,” and several other expletives you can insert there. Now people don’t just stare at you when they see you go by wearing hijab, they glare. Last time I checked, I was born in this country, this is my country, and my husband is serving it and continues to serve it despite the harassment and racism he encounters. He proudly serves despite the fact that our family pays a higher price for it than many others.
I am an American Muslim too, and I am finding it useless to try to fight the ignorant people who instantly have become armchair analysts and have decreed that Hasan’s actions came from his “extremist religious beliefs.” No one – I repeat, no one – can know what was in that man’s mind and heart that drove him to his actions. Tormented humans are not anything new in the US military, which should be looking less at Hasan’s religion and more at his psychology.
As was evidenced by a subsequent mass shooting allegedly committed by a non-Muslim named Rodriguez, desperation comes in all guises. No one is questioning whether Rodriguez’ Christian faith spurred his actions.
If Muslims are indeed violent, why are the Christians and the Jews again and again waging war on us?
William Burns says
In what sense are you using the word “peacetime” in your first sentence? Because it seems wrong.
Richard Silverstein says
I meant as opposed to an incident occurring at a military base in a war zone. But perhaps that word “peacetime” wasn’t necessary.
Nick Griffin says
The tragic event at Ft Hood is of a piece with other instances of the breakdown caused by unsustainable stress and strain of war. It is not unrelated to spiking divorce rates, suicide, depression, PTSD, broken bones and unseen malaise. We should be horrified and filled with empathy for their victims, but we should not be shocked, when Nidal Hassan or Charles Graner breaks down.
That’s what I think too. I wrote out my thoughts:
I see an attempt here to attribute it to him being “troubled”, “depressed”, etc. But MAYBE it WAS a well-planned terrorist attack carried out for ideological/religious reasons. There is now evidence that he was in contact with Al-Qaida terrorists:
In a New York Times article it is pointed out that he was expressing extremist views for a long time before he even got to Ft Hood.
In the article it points out that a soldier who had served in Iraq got upset when Hasan put a sticker on his car that said “Alah is Love”. Okay, apologists will say “the man’s a bigot”….but if you are going to tell us that we should try to “understand” Hasan’ distress, then we should have to understand that soldier’s distress as wel (the same with those making the disparaging remarks to the Muslim wife in Richard’s posting above-all they all “primitive bigots” or have they seen things that make them feel that way?l. If he was in Iraq before the “Surge”, he would have been aware that bloody suicide bombings carried out in the name of Islam were being carried out every day and the vast majority of the victims were the terrorists’ fellow Muslims. Something like 50,000 died in the violence of that period. Just recently, Taliban fighters, in the name of Islam, placed a bomb in the Peshawar market killling over 100 people, mostly women and children. There are suicide bombings in Muslim Pakistan every week and virtually all the victims are Muslims. A few days before, another group, in the name of Islam, placed a bomb near government buildings in Baghdad, killing around 100 people, including children in a school.
Mary-you are simply in a state of denial if you simply state that “Islam is not a violent religion”, or you say “those carrying these acts out are not ‘really’ Muslims”. Too many peoplel are seeing too many horrors carried out in the name of Islam, and 9/11 was only the most obvious to Americans.
As I understand it, Islamic law forbids killing civilians. Then why are so many attacks today being directed at civilians? If these people are NOT “really” Muslims then it is incumbent on both Islamic clerics and lay people to CLEARLY denounce these ongoing atrocities and when I say CLEARLY I mean without ambiguous qualifiers of the sort that say “Islam oppose attacks on ‘innocent’ civilians”-because we can then start playing games with the word “innocent” where different people can understand it in different ways-e.g. there are “innocent” civiliains who you can’t attack, but there are also “non-innocent” civilians that are legitimate targets. People are NOT hearing these denunciations. We have to hear “ISLAM OPPOSES ALL VIOLENCE DIRECTED AT CIVILIANS-Jews, Christians, Muslims and all other religions”. PERIOD.
Just as Richard here vehemently denounces Jewish extremism, we need to hear the same from Muslims.
William Burns says
Do you really think that if a terrorist group had an asset that was a major in the US Army they would waste it just to kill a few soldiers?
And frankly, Bar Kochba, you get to whine about how Muslims don’t denounce violent extremists enough when you put up some links to your own denunciations of IDF killings of civilians.
bar Kochva –
If you have an issue with a “allah is love” sticker, I assume you have similar misgivings about “Jesus loves you” stickers and billboards. I suggest you voice those misgivings far and wide in the countryside.
As for much of the suicide bombings in Iraq – remember that these were either as standard guerilla tactics against an invading force or as part of a civil war by people who had no access to drones which can be used to bomb wedding parties and homes without the cost of sacrificing one of their own. I’m sure the afganis now fighting a US occupation (which is what most so called “Taliban are doing) would love to abandon the tactic of IED’s and suicide bombs in favor of a few good bomber planes and drones. You should by all means help them acquire proper weapons so you can have a more conventional warfare, shouldn’t you?
BTW, if you supported the murderous rampage in which 1 M Iraqis lost their lives and the country was utterly devastated, I’d consider you in league with war criminals (for the life of me I don’t know why shrub, darth vader and neocon friends are not in a jail cell as we speak). And if your religion is Jewish would I be right to assume that had something to do with your support of war crimes?
Just asking, you know…..
Because that’s where your line of reasoning leads.
Richard Silverstein says
The ABC rpt. you mention was anonymous, but likely derived fr. a Republican Congressmember in whose interest it would be to reveal such information. I’d prefer to see a better sourced rpt. before jumping to conclusions. I’m not denying outright that it’s possible Hassan was more than just a lone psychologically troubled individual. But I’d like to see more proof. I also note that the NY Times specifically published a rpt. saying there was NO evidence that Hassan’s motivation was terrorist in origin.
You’re seriously arguing that we should “understand” the distress of a bigoted military officer so offened by the slogan “Allah is love” that he would deface the private property of a Muslim-American officer? Is that really what you’re arguing? The guy should’ve been arrrested & you want to “understand” his distress.
This is a perfect example of your own closet racism & explains how you can defend settlerism. These people are bigots plain & simple. There’s nothing to “understand” & no extenuating circumstances that could possibly justify such idiocy. But the fact that you find there IS tells us a lot about the deficiencies in yr perspective.
Look, I’m simply not going to allow you to hijack this blog to argue that Islam is a religion of suicide bombers. There are plenty of other online venues for you to do that. I put you on warning. Because you argue that Islam is a religion of violence, future comments will be moderated & approved for publication if they observe my comment rules.
It is not up to you to tell Muslims what they “must” do on any particular subject just as it would be colossal chutzpah for a Muslim to tell me what Jews must do in denouncing Jewish settler terror.
Why are you such a twit. I’ve read five of them by American Muslims in the past 30 minutes online. Maybe you’re not even trying to find this material.
I don’t hear you denouncing settler terror. When I do then I’ll feel there is some small semblance of balance to yr own perspective. Till then, you’re a huckster hasbarist.
And btw, I would no sooner tolerate a commenter arguing that Judaism is a religion of violence. And I have banned such people before.
If I believed his actions were religiously motivated and not from a severe psychological problem, then i would “denounce” his extremism. I already made my motivations clear.
You sound like a typical Islamophobic idiot who takes comfort in blaming a religion you don’t understand for events that you don’t understand. Islam is not a violent religion; if you knew anything about it at all, you would in fact be astonished to discover its many commonalities with Judaism. In fact, Rabbi Firestone has written an excellent book on Islam for Jews. You should read it.
Your “Islam is a violent religion” statement just threw all of your credibility out of the window and has cost you a lot of respect here. There is no obligation on the Muslim world to prove to ignorant people that our religion isn’t violent. In fact, I don’t feel any need to address your simple-minded, bigoted remarks any further.
I thought you would be interested in hearing this. I am a law student at Harvard and was passing by when Dershowitz was chatting in the hall with another faculty member and your name came up. It sounded like he himself runs the blog that makes fun of you. He was citing from it verbatim and made comments that seemed to imply he runs it and writes in it.
Richard Silverstein says
Your e mail address is not working. If you read this could you pls. contact me via e mail?
Richard Silverstein says
Interesting that a Google search turns up no mention of your name, your e mail address bounces saying there is no such address, & there’s no one on Facebook by yr name. I’d say this is a prank.
I doubt Alan Dershowitz knows or cares who I am & certainly don’t believe he’d waste his time maintaining a site devoted to me.
But nice try.
I think he was noted as shouting “Allahu akbar” during the shooting. This would bring a religious connotation to the shooting. Richard, you are coming awfully close to justifying this murder due to the IP conflict
Richard Silverstein says
Not at all & I’d challenge you to reference anything I wrote that justifies this false claim. In fact, I wrote quite the opposite in my post.
Shouting Allahu Akbar isn’t unusual; he’s a Muslim. It doesn’t mean the killings were necessarily religiously motivated. You’re reading a lot into things that isn’t there.
No one is justifying any murderers and I think that is an outrageous and false claim.
“I think he was noted as shouting “Allahu akbar” during the shooting. This would bring a religious connotation to the shooting.”
What utter rubbish. Muslims say Allahu akbar under all kinds of situations that do not have a religious connotation per se. They are particularly likely to say it upon beginning a particularly important, difficult, challenging, or dangerous undertaking, or when they feel their lives are in danger. A student might say it at the beginning of a test, an athlete at a competition, a skydiver as he jumps, an airplane passenger (or pilot) on takeoff and landing, a soldier entering battle. It is way of placing the situation and its outcome into God’s hands. I am sure devout Christians and Jews have similar phrases they utter at times of challenge or stress.
The murderer is apparently awake and talking, so it looks like we’ll get to find out more about what made him do it during the interrogation and trial.
He seems to have adopted the main one, the “Muslim lands are under attack! To arms!”
While the man had underlying psychological and personal issues, let’s not let religion off the hook. Islam – like the Christian Bible and Jewish Torah – includes many traditions and verses in the Quran that can be interpreted as a call to violence. Modern, relatively docile religion is as such because its adherents tend to ignore and/or reinterpret the violent passages as something else.
It certainly plays a major role in justifying their actions, although it usually doesn’t explain the proximate causes. Moreover, they can often feed off of each other – Hasan becomes more devout and Islamist, which in turn isolates him further from his colleagues (particularly if he says inflammatory things) and opens him up to persecution, which in turn drove him to be more psychologically messed up and fanatical, and so forth.
I think this is one of the major flaws of many “conservative” critics who are trying to blame the whole thing on fundamental problems within Islam (like “Holy Joe” Lieberman and Bar Koche above) – many of them are devout religionists themselves with religions that have justifications for religiously-justified violence in their history and holy books, and so they can’t offer any truly honest criticisms that don’t hit themselves in turn.
Megat S. Merican says
Islam – like the Christian Bible and Jewish Torah – includes many traditions and verses in the Quran that can be interpreted as a call to violence.
Would you be kind enough to enlighten us as to which verses in the Quran you are referring to?
Here’s a list.
And before you say, “Well, that’s not how they’re interpreted”, keep in mind that that’s exactly my point – believers in Islam (just like believers in Christianity and Judaism who disavow some of the more violent rules in Leviticus, as well as the parts where God is guiding the Hebrews to commit massacres) tend to either disavow or interpret these in different ways. Of course, if you are a religious believer, that leaves you open to attack, since others can easily interpret them otherwise (like how the “far enemy” crowd has interpreted “jihad” to mean a defensive struggle against those dominating the muslim lands and their puppets).
And yes, I know it’s not exactly a fair and/or objective source. Those are actual passages, though.
Megat S. Merican says
And the Quranic passages are?
Richard Silverstein says
No, it’s a deeply tendentious source. And it doesn’t refer to what translation of the Koran it is based on. A serious weakness.
The cites are listed. The verse numbers at the site link to the USC Center Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement if you click on them. Is that better?
Richard Silverstein says
I still don’t know who prepared the translation & whether it’s accurate.
Megat – I provided a fairly long list. Go ahead and click on it yourself.
Megat S. Merican says
As tempted as I am to engage you in greater detail on your remark that verses from the Quran advocate violence, I shall refrain from doing so (at this juncture at least) as I sincerely feel that we may moving away from the topic at hand and into very deep Islamic Theology, thereby contravening Rule No. 9 of Richard’s Comment Rules ie comments must be on-topic.
Be that as it may, when trying to clothe meaning onto Quranic verses, I hope you (and others who are keen to understand Islam) will objectively reflect upon the following advice given by Leopold Weiss (later Muhammad Asad), a Polish Jew who embrace Islam in 1926:
“1. The Quran must not be viewed as a compilation of individual injunctions and exhortations but as one integral whole: that is, as an exposition of an ethical doctrine in which every verse and sentence has an intimate bearing on other verses and sentences, all of them clarifying and amplifying one another:
2. No part of the Quran should be viewed from a purely historical point of view: that is to say, all its references to historical circumstances and events – both at the time the Prophet and in earlier times – must be regarded as illustrations of the human condition and not as ends in themselves.”
Source: In the Foreword to his translation of the Holy Quran, page vii
“Not exactly a fair or objective source”? It might be slightly less odious than, say, jihadwatch, but it is of very much the same nature. It is, in fact, an obviously bigoted, anti-Islam source of the same nature as many of the anti-Semitic websites that pretend to be thoughtful and analytical. Why would you present such a source here when there are so many out there done by people who are very knowledgeable about the Qur’an, and can explain it in a realistic, and non-negative manner? Don’t bother to respond. That was a rhetorical question to which most of us here already know the answer.
Shirin – as I pointed out, the actual verse numbers themselves at the list site are links, leading to a translation of the Quran posted on the internet at USC’s Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement. I checked at least a couple of the verses on the right-wing site as compared to the translation, and they match.
Megat – that doesn’t change my point, which is that the Quran (like the Bible and Torah) has verses that can easily be construed to interpret violence, and the reason why most don’t use them as such today is because they do a combination of ignoring them and re-interpreting them.
Jeff Siddiqui says
Brett, I would hope you are smarter than you show yourself to be. Any bigot can take “harsh” verses from the Quran and construe evil or violence to Islam…that really does not take brains, it merely takes a black heart. You regurgitated a whole list of quotes from the Quran, did you ever take the time to study their context so you can see what the “violence” was all about?
What you did by showing selected and edited “quotes” from the Quran is similar to someone offering a list of crimes committed by Blacks as “proof” that Blacks are nasty murderers…and sub-human to boot.
“the actual verse numbers themselves at the list site are links, leading to a translation of the Quran…”
Well, here is the thing, Brett. First off, you chose as your source a nasty website that is obviously the equivalent of the many seemingly “thoughtful”, and clearly anti-Semitic websites out there. Right there you have damaged your own credibility, and cast doubts on your intentions, which were not very much in doubt to begin with, particularly given your history here.
Second, you further damaged what little credibility you had, and cast more doubts on your intentions by choosing as your source for a claim that the Qur’an has a lot of stuff in there that appears “on its face” to call for violence a site whose name and content suggests strongly that it has as its main agenda to prove that Islam is a religion that promotes violence.
Third, you and your source utterly ignore both the historical and the literary context of the passages you are trying to use to prove your point, which you simply cannot do if you are sincere in wishing to portray both the passage and the Qur’an itself in an honest, realistic way.
Fourth, you see to be unaware that no translation, no matter how well done, can be a true representative of the original, particularly when it comes to high-level Arabic, of which the Qur’an is the highest.
Fifth, most of us never even look at sites like the one you are using as your source for the obvious reason that we do not expect to see there an honest representation of anything. The fact that these are the types of places you go for information tells us everything we need to know about your mindset and your intentions.
Sixth, you might get away with this kind of thing on some sites, but there are enough people here who know something about Islam and about the Qur’an, and others who are discerning and thoughtful, that you are really wasting your time with this here.
Another bigot creeping out of the closet, that’s all he is. Brett, you’re on thin ice here if you’re saying that any legitimate interpretation of Quranic verse led to a mass murder, and I would appreciate it very much if you would either clarify your remarks or apologize for their offensiveness. Or better yet, stop making them.
Jeff Siddiqui says
Brett, let us just take the first selection from the list you provide [Qur’an (2:191-193)] from the site that seems to be a Nazi-equivalent against Muslims (that you seem to trust so much).
2:190 says, “Fight in the way of Allah against those who fight against you, BUT BEGIN NOT HOSTILITIES. LO! ALLAH LOVES NOT AGGRESSORS”
I suppose, reading this verse would then force you to engage the brain and that seems to be something you are not reserving for Islam.
2:192 calls to a cessation of hostilities if the enemy disists from his aggressive behavior.
2:193 goes on to reiterates that there should NOT be any hostilities except against the wrongdoers. The “riligion is for Allah” INCLUDES all faiths that believe in the God of Abraham…in one God.
I was going to ask you to tell me how all these may possibly be construed to be an indictment of Islam or a call for violence, but it is futile to argue with a closed mind; I made these clarifications so others who could be poisoned by you, may be able to see the truth instead of the hate you would like them to believe.
I figured you’d probably miss my point, which was that the Quran (like the Bible) has plenty of verses that can be interpreted as a call to violence. That they aren’t done so by most modern believers is because they choose to either selectively ignore them or re-interpret them, but they are there, waiting for a fundamentalist to come along and manipulate them.
I trust the USC center that it links to.
It’s a call for defensive warfare, but that all depends on what you define as “defensive”. The groups like Al-Qaeda tend to argue that the “far enemy” has already attacked them and the muslim world, repeatedly, so any and all action is “defensive” and justified.
So it’s okay to fight against the “pagans” – a.k.a. the Hindus, Buddhists, etc?
And it all depends on what your definition of “wrongdoers” is. Based off of what was noticed by his colleagues, Hasan probably believed that the US was a “wrongdoer” with what it was doing in Afghanistan and Iraq.
It’s proof that there are verses in the Quran that can be construed to justify warfare and violence. “Defensive warfare” is violence. “Warfare against the wrongdoer” is violence. And as I mentioned, there are groups that use these verses and build justifications for all manner of warfare and violence.
I honestly don’t see what is so hard to accept about this. When a “Dominionist” – part of the group of fundamentalist christians in the US who want to replace the constitution with a theocracy based on the Ten Commandments – claims that the Commandments are “god’s will” and should be the basis of government, we dispute his claim that they should be the basis for government – but we don’t dispute that the Commandments exist, or that they don’t make requirements in terms of personal behavior and governance.
Richard Silverstein says
Brett: You’re no expert in the Koran. You’re no expert in Islam. You’re not a theologian. Yet you insist you have sufficient knowledge to interpret the Koran, a document with hundreds of years of interpretive tradition behind it, & tell us what it means. I find that the height of chutzpah.
What suffices for me is to say, as you do, that all major religious traditions harbor violent tendencies. That’s because human beings harbor violent tendencies & religions are reflections of the humans who observe them. To single out Islam & say that it is somehow at fault for the actions of a series of deranged individuals like Hassan is just plain wrong & I don’t accept it. I wouldn’t accept it if you did the same regarding Jewish terrorists who kill in the name of Judaism. And speaking of which, why didn’t you come here when I reported on Jack Teitel & make the same comments? Why did you wait for a Muslim to engage in murder before you singled out Islam for attack?
I posted my response above to this post, but for some reason it wasn’t posted in thread.
“2:190 Fight in the way of Allah against those who fight against you, BUT BEGIN NOT HOSTILITIES. LO! ALLAH LOVES NOT AGGRESSORS”
It’s a call for defensive warfare”
No, it is not a call for warfare, defensive or otherwise. Quite the opposite in fact, it is very clearly an exhortation AGAINST aggression. The message of this verse is not “fight defensive wars”, the message is DO NOT START WARS, DO NOT BE AGGRESSORS but if attacked you are allowed to defend yourself only as long as and to the degree that is necessary. That message is throughout that verse, if you and your source would bother to read and understand it.
The portion quoted is very clear to anyone who is not looking to use the Qur’an as proof that Islam is a violent religion, but in the end context is everything. You cannot take a few carefully selected words out of an entire verse, isolate it from the rest, and assume you understand what it means.
“So it’s okay to fight against the “pagans” – a.k.a. the Hindus, Buddhists, etc?”
You’ve got so much wrong here there isn’t time to correct it all. First, you seem like a bright guy, so surely you can see how desperately ludicrous it is to translate “wrongdoers” as “the pagans”. Second, if you bothered to read the entire verse without looking for justification for your argument, surely you would be able to see that “it’s ok to fight against the pagans” contradicts one of the main messages of the verse, which is repeated in various ways numerous times throughout – unless, of course, you have done as your source site does, and conveniently taken the “good parts” out of context so as not to confuse yourself?
Third, you are showing just how unqualified you and your sources are to comment on the Qur’an when you display your ignorance of the most basic historical facts by describing the Pagans as “Hindus, Buddhists, etc.”. Please study at least a modicum of Islamic history before your next foray into a discussion of the Qur’an, because you simply cannot separate the Qur’an from its historical context if you expect to get anything right. I recommend that you start with Islam: A Short History by Karin Armstrong. That will give you a basic background in the history of Islam, and help you to look less ignorant next time. After that you can move up to more sophisticated studies, and then you might be qualified to join konwledgeable people in a conversation. Until then you are better off just listening.
As for the Pagans, they are not “Hindus, Buddhists, etc.”, they were a specific religious group who practiced the primary religion of the Arabs at that time – i.e. Paganism. Every Muslim, even a small child, knows that. Learn about them and their relationship to the Muslims so next time you use the term in this context you will have a clue what you are talking about.
“And it all depends on what your definition of “wrongdoers” is.”
Oh, puleeeeeeeze! A wrongdoer is by definition someone who does wrong. In the context of that verse, it is someone who attacks or oppresses believers. It is not someone who holds different beliefs.
“Based off of what was noticed by his colleagues, Hasan probably believed that the US was a “wrongdoer” with what it was doing in Afghanistan and Iraq.”
So do the vast majority of the people in the world, including in the U.S. In fact a significant number of the people of the world believe that the leaders of the U.S. belong in the dock at the Hague. So Dr. Nidal was in concert with most of the world, including me.
And then there are the problems with trying to interpret the Qur’an based on translation. If I have time later today i will talk a bit about that, but first I want to go to my copy of the Qur’an and compare the Arabic with the translations since I have never been pious enough to memorize it.
Mary, sister, allow me to respectfully disagree with you. I think this discussion is useful because it provides us with an opportunity to point errors in others’ statements and thinking, which is an opportunity to help at least some people to consider other ways of viewing things. Some might be persuaded in this way to learn more, and to use better sources for their information, and this is never a bad thing.
I think we have a duty to stand firmly and speak the truth rationally in these cases.
Richard Silverstein says
I’m with you Shirin. I think people have to fight back against ignorance. I disagree w. Brett’s view of the Koran to the extent that I know it. But I don’t think he’s crossing any line of debate as many other commenters do here who are moderated or banned. Who knows, maybe he will sign up for a class on Koran as I think you suggested.
But I do think Brett’s getting bogged down in this & perhaps we can move on to other subjects & other threads.
They’re upset over the mere suggestion that some of the verses in the Quran could be interpreted as an excuse for violence. Which is rather surprising, on the front of it, since there actually are groups doing exactly that, like Al-Qaeda.
To clarify- I’m not saying that those are the only interpretations. Many interpretations are possible. But the fact is that there are passages that can and are interpreted as a call to violence.
There’s the rub, isn’t it? What exactly is “that is necessary”? As I mentioned, there are groups like Al-Qaeda that interpret this as an excuse to launch terrorist attacks and the like. It’s not a majority interpretation, but that doesn’t change the fact that there are verses that can be interpreted as such.
And if you would actually read my posts when quoting them as opposed to spouting off, you would have noticed that the quotes themselves link to a much more objective source, and match up.
If I had made the point that a call to violence was the only interpretation possible of the Quranic verse, rather than that they can be interpreted as a call to violence (multiple interpretations? Ye gods!), your point might be relevant. Try again.
Is that the only interpretation possible?
Ah, so now you are admitting that multiple interpretations of Quranic verses are possible, including some that justify violence. Thanks.
Then it has verses concerning the appropriate use of violence – verses which can and are interpreted differently depending on the group and historical/political context. Which was my point, but I imagine I’ll have to wade through a whole other set of posts before you finally grasp that.
I never said Islam was an “inherently violent” thing – just that it has verses that concern the appropriate use of violence, and those can be interpreted in different ways (including by fanatical groups such as Al-Qaeda).
Oh, did I hurt your feelings while you were busy building a rather giant strawman of my argument? How about we go back and look at my original point-
Miss that? How about I bold it for you:
Perhaps I should show it one more time, just to make sure you actually got it. Somehow I doubt it.
Richard Silverstein says
This is becoming a very strange discourse. There are verses in every religious tradition that some disturbed adherent of that religion can interpret as justifying an anti-social, pathological act. Again, that is not the fault of, nor responsiblitty of that religion. It IS the fault of, & responsibility of THAT INDIVIDUAL. I’m putting an end to this discourse right now. No Muslim needs to feel that they are responsible or that their religious tradition is responsible for Nidal Hassan. You are claiming that the Koran contributed to the pathology of Nidal Hassan and I reject this contention.
And no matter how well meaning you find yr ideas on this subject, they’ve become repetitive & no more persuasive than when you started making them. I’m now insisting that you move on. There are other threads & other posts where you are welcome to contribute. But you’re done with this one.
In any case, I’ll leave it at that, as you more or less suggest.
Pray tell, what’s a “legitimate” interpretation of Quranic verse? One that just happens to line up with your own beliefs and morals?
As I’ve pointed out (at least three times), there are verses in the Quran, like the ones above on the list, that can be interpreted as justification for violence. Even if it is “defensive warfare”, it’s still violence.
Megat S. Merican says
Muslims believe that the Quran is the final word of God, a guide to ALL of humanity and not just to Muslims.
It is comprehensive in its approach and covers many areas of human lives such as theology, embryology, astrology, Islamic estate, treatment of parents, treatment of women, treatment of “People of the Book”, treatment of your enemies and many others including the conduct of warfare which naturally means the use of force.
But the use of force (as explained by Jeff above) is strictly ordained to be conducted within very clear and strict parameters and not carte blanche to pillage.
So yes, the Quran does address the question of violence but should that be in itself conclusive evidence that it is a violent religion?
By a similar analogy, Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter addresses, inter alia, the Security Council’s power to the use of military force for the purpose of resolving disputes.
Should the UN now be seen as an inherently violent body?
Brett, if you are serious about Quranic interpretation, or tafsir, go to the local mosque in your area and sign up for a class. Unless you’re afraid of finding yourself in a class full of “extremists.”
I am respectfully asking Richard to moderate this useless and offensive “discussion”. It seems to have been taken over by an Islamophobic person who insists that Islam, or passages from the Holy Quran, incited a mass murder. I am finding this very objectionable content, and the discussion is not even moving in any direction but is bogged down in the old “Islam is a violent religion” theme.
Brett, a legitimate interpretation is where the interpreter is guided by a thorough understanding of tafsir and of the original Arabic, and has been taught by reputable persons who have learned from Islamic scholars.
Do you even know whether the verses you are reading have a historic context? You are aware, I am assume, that the revelations given to the Prophet Muhammad were in many cases specific to what was happening during his life at the time they were given to him. Passages referring to war, for example, are reflective of the particular war being fought at that moment in time. They may not have anything to do with waging warfare now, but were actually instructions to Muhammad. If you knew anything about his life you would know that on more than one occasion, his tiny army defeated formidable enemies, and because of the instructions God gave him on how to perform in battle. You would also know that “hypocrites,” “non-believers,” and so forth were specific tribes who were enemies of Muhammad and the Muslims, and those terms do not refer to all non-Muslims in the world, past, present and future.
I read the Quran every day, and have done so for several years. I have yet to see anything that justifies violence in it.
“Because Jewish settler terrorists commit mass murder against Palestinians and even their fellow Jews, do we say it is the Jewish religion that is at fault?”
Of course the Jewish religion is at fault. At least as practiced by a fringe element. And Christianity, as practiced by a fringe element, for the murders committed against doctors and others from abortion clinics.
The difference is that the Islamic fringe element committed to Jihad is large, well funded and global (or nearly global). And Niddal Hassan was a volunteer in the Jihad. It really is that simple.
Richard Silverstein says
No, the Jewish religion is not at fault. It is the fringe element & its interpretation of the religious tradition that is at fault.
Whenever we need a racist we know where to turn. These generalizations are ludicrous. the Islamic fringe is, as you yrself admit, a “fringe.” Ergo it is NOT large, but rather a small fraction of the global population of Muslims. We don’t know how Hassan saw himself which means that your characterization reflects yr own prejudices rather than reality. and no, it’s not simple. Only simple for Jewish racists like you.
Why is what I said racist?
I acknowledge that the Jihadist movement is a fringe. I never said all Moslems were Jihadist. Nevertheless it is a large fringe. As far as Nidal goes I was relying on news reports that
He murdered 13 American soldiers
Yelled Allahu Akbar
Attended a mosque with an extremist leader
Posted on the internet a justification for suicide attacks
Made extremist antiAmerican comments in inappropriate circumstances
Possibly tried to make contact with al qaida
In spite of the fact that was born and raised in America, began to wear cloths that are more lkely to be found among extremists in Pakistan than anywhere else.
Evidence that he was mentally ill – zero.
Perhaps troubled or disturbed – possibly. Everyone who commits murder is probably at least a little bit troubled or disturbed. How does pointing this out make me a racist?
Richard Silverstein says
The reason why what you wrote was racist was that you clearly implied that all Mulisms are likely to be, or at least harbor sympathy for Muslim terrorists. You dismiss all the other huge stressors that Hassan faced that had little to do w. his Muslim background including his imminent deployment to a war zone, his traumatic involvement with wounded soldiers returning from the war zone, his loneliness & alienation from the army, etc.
You should read the NY Times for a much more balanced story about Hassan’s alleged contacts with Al Qaeda. U.S. intelligence agencies knew about these contacts and clearly confirm there wasn’t the slightest hint of sympathy for Al Qaeda expressed nor any mention of any desire to engage in an act of terror.
The alleged extremist anti-American comments, as documented by commenters here, were first reported by a right-wing Christian evangelical zealot who needless to say has his own axe to grind.
Let justice take its course. Don’t jump to judgment. If Hassan was a radical Al Qaeda sleeper agent, the truth will come out (& if not that will come out too). But your jumping to such a conclusion is way premature and indicates yr own prejudices against Muslims.
Jeff Siddiqui says
Amir, It would appear that you are highly susceptible to and influenced by stuff you read, no matter how ill-informed that source may be. I suggest that you should accept good stories about people/groups, but at least do a cursory double-check if the story is negative BEFORE you go out there and repeat it to others.
According you your belief (since you seem to agree with what you read):
People who DRESS in a certain ethnic manner are terrorists!?
Do you even KNOW what “extremist comments” he made and what the “inappropriate circumstances” are?
Did you ever take the time to check out what he said that may be construed as a “justification” for suicide attacks? I would bet not, because I did and I could not find a justification in his words.
We can discuss your racism, but there is little doubt in my mind that you are either exceedingly naive or way too gullible. You need to get better control over what you communicate to people.
What makes you say “Allah Akbar” is “Jihadist”?
Saying Allah Akbar doesn’t make one a terrorist. Wearing certain clothes, any clothes, does not make one a terrorist.
Murdering thirteen unarmed American soldiers is what makes him a terrorist. And when you look at all the evidence surrounding the transformation he went in the last few years, the most obvious conclusion is that he was influenced by a certain brand of Islam which encourages waging Jihad against the infidel. And NOTHING I said implies that I believe that all Muslims or even most Muslims support or sympathize with terrorists.
“Murdering thirteen unarmed American soldiers is what makes him a terrorist.”
No, that makes him a murderer. What makes him a “terrorist” in your world is murdering people while Muslim and Arab. However, even that does not qualify him as a terrorist in the real world. Or are you as eager to slap the “terrorist” label on Jason Rogriquez, a non-Muslim, non-Arab who commit a similar though fortunately less deadly act in Orlando the day after Dr. Nidal committed his crime?
“And when you look at all the evidence surrounding the transformation he went in the last few years, the most obvious conclusion is that he was influenced by a certain brand of Islam which encourages waging Jihad against the infidel.”
“Jihad”. “Infidel”. The two favourite words of the Islamophobe – oh wait! I forgot “dhimmi” – I’m surprised you didn’t throw that one in there too, although no one who uses it has a clue what it actually meant when it was in use a few centuries ago.
And no, based on the information we have so far makes your conclusion obvous. It looks more like a typical case of a person who was psychologically compromised and snapped when subjected to extraordinary life pressures – like Jason Rodriguez, and like all the other perpetrators of workplace and school shootings, the overwhelming majority of whom have been neither Muslim nor Arab.
“And NOTHING I said implies that I believe that all Muslims or even most Muslims support or sympathize with terrorists.”
But your eagerness to assume that unlike all the other similar crimes this one was motivated not by personal pressures but by Islam speaks volumes.
Amir, one-fifth of the world’s population is Muslim. A few hundred are religious extremists who are controlling a few thousand other Muslims for reasons that are more political than theological. This is not a “large fringe” of anything.
I don’t know what the wearing of clothes “more likely to be worn by extremists in Pakistan” has to do with anything, and I laughed aloud at that silly sentence. I lived in Pakistan for a time, and I can tell you that there is no uniform for extremists. Yelling allahu akhbar does not make one an extremist, either.
I also have to point out that this man killed 13 American soldiers in a horrific act; but how many Muslims have American soldiers been killing in the past eight years? Does anyone seem to care about that at all?
So many of your statements make you a racist that I can’t even begin to list them.
Extremist Jews have been killing Palestinians for many years. This is nothing new. This does not mean Judaism is violent. As I said previously, Judaism and Islam are very similar in many ways. I was amazed to discover so many similarities when I made some Jewish friends. I prayed with one of them at sunrise on Passover this year. It was a beautiful thing for both of us, and with Reuven Firestone’s books and our own discussions, we no longer see each other across a deep divide, but as people with a common religious history and a love for God.
Very well written Mr Silverstein,
You are a beacon to your people. A good for Jews and Judaism. Whenever, i hear anyone complain or try to paint all Jews with a “Settler” or “Kahanist” brush, I direct them to you.
Anyone remember the DC Sniper, John Allen Muhammad (Y”Sh)? He was a Gulf War veteran himself. Much focus was placed on his faith and his NOI membership until it was discovered that his motive was killing his wife. A domestic dispute gone too far, in other words. (Gulf War Syndrome probably didn’t help, either.)
In the ensuing trial, much will be revealed about Hassan’s motives and state of mind. Unlike the Islamophobic voices out there who want to link this to a terrorist plot, we are not quick to judge until we have found all the facts.
It is refreshing to hear things from an Islamic perspective. I certainly hope there is no retribution against Muslims because of this unfortunate episode.
One of the “witnesses” appearing everywhere in the media and who was also interviewed by Anderson Cooper is Dr. Val Finnel, a former classmate of Dr. Hassan’s, who claims that Dr. Hassan stated he was a “Muslim first, American second”. He also claims that another student told him that Dr. Hassan presented a power point comparing suicide bombing to a soldier throwing himself on a grenade. In the interview Anderson Cooper was sort of taken aback and evidently was going to try to corroberate
To bring up the point that Dr. Finnel has some rather far-right wing ultra-Christian rightest proclivities himself is putting it mildly.
“We believe that the whole Word of God must be applied to all of life. It is not only our duty as individuals, families and churches to be Christian, but it is also the duty of the state, the school, the arts and sciences, law, economics, and every other sphere to be under Christ the King. Nothing is exempt from His dominion. We must live by His Word, not our own.”
“The Christian worldview is the answer. We need Christian statesmen who press for the Crown Rights of Jesus Christ in all areas of life. This isn’t political salvation or an overnight fix. It will take decades of mobilization and confrontation to undo a century of godless socialism.”
He is also the past president of the Virginia Citizens
Defense League and won an award for the most ardent defendent of gun rights by the NRA.
Interestingly, he is also involved with an organization which is an offshoot of the Samson Society, Lance the Dragon, the Way of St. George.
The link is there to the org he is holding a meet-up for this Saturday. His office is in Redondo Beach, CA. No women allowed, and if you do some research on the Samson Society evidently they are a sort of self-help group for men with various problems.
Now, when Anderson Cooper had him on he stated that a spokesman for the Uniformed Services University where the supposed power point presentation took place, and a student supposedly reported him as a “ticking time bomb” stated, “It’s hard to believe that if someone told our faculty that this guy is a ticking time bomb and then no one would do anything”. Cooper then said, “We can’t comment on a specific investigation, there is an investigation going on” BUT CNN is supposedly trying to track down the student who Finnel claims told him this.
SOMEHOW I find it difficult to believe that Dr. Hassan could have given a power point presentation such as what Finnel has characterized and not been locked up! Call me naive, but doesn’t that seem improbable?
NO, I am not trying to find any way to justify what was done at Fort Hood. But there are so many jumping into the media being interviewed without any official corroboration of what they are saying. Lieberman has of course jumped on the band wagon as well.
It almost seems like some people want this to be tied to Islam, and my question would be why? What need does it fulfill in people to jump on this band wagon before the authorities complete their investigation? Please everyone, there has been enough pain in this incident, certainly you can at the very least leave this to be ferreted out for what it is or isn’t.
Islam is a convenient scapegoat in this instance, as in others, where people seek an explanation for what may never be explicable. To any intelligent person it is apparent that there are many factors involved in what pushed this man over the edge. To falsely simplify his actions shuts the door on understanding how such tragedies may be prevented in the future.
How would Dr. Finnel respond if someone were to tell him “I’m a Christian first, and an American second”?
You are going to see a lot of things in the news that aren’t true.
Just so that you know, all Muslims are Muslims first. One’s obedience to God supercedes obedience to government or anything else. I am a Muslim first, before I am an American.
People are frightened by what Hasan did, and they need a quick and easy explanation to smooth over their fear. Islam is a handy reason; after all, 9/11 showed them they need to be afraid of Muslims, didn’t it? It’s easier than contronting, say, the human consequences of two wars and the terrible price Americans are paying for the sake of cheap oil.
“But I’m not one of those who believes that anything is gained by refusing to examine why things happen and what people think who do bad things.”
This is precisely why I was deeply opposed to Timothy McVeigh’s execution. There was always the possibility that, at some point down the line, McVeigh would have talked, and he should have been kept alive for that very reason. But now, what McVeigh knew is gone, because McVeigh is gone.
Gloopygal, your statement just prompted me to reread what Finnel wrote himself a while back, “We must live by His Word, not our own”. That to me sounds like he said just what you asked in your question, “I’m a Christian first, and an American second”. He himself said he follows the Word of Christ (interpretation)and not man’s words, which WOULD be uh, let’s just toss one out there, the Constitution as in “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”
Heck with that business for Dr. Finnel!
BTW, he gave interviews to several media sources, but he cancelled his appearance on the John and Ken radio show (LA-therefor local for him) this afternoon. John and Ken were ranting on and on that the military shut him up because he knows too much. (as if THEY have inside information)
I’m just giving this info out because I think it is important to know if this guy who has gone out of his way to contact the media just MIGHT have an agenda of his own.
Jeff Siddiqui says
It appears that so many people have pulled out their blunt cudgels and are standing in line to take a hard bash at Islam, Muslims and Arabs…in any order!
Bar Kochba pontificates on how terrible and violent Islam is…and I really have no issues with his statement if he actually knew what he was talking about.
Mr. K, show me a verse from the Quran, IN ITS PROPER CONTEXT, that you would identify as supporting mindless violense (as opposed to defending oneself) against ANYONE and we can come to agreement, but please, don’t re-spout rubbish from other ignorant sources, read the Quran yourself, and THEN come back to me (email@example.com). Until then, please keep your hate-filled thoughts within yourself.
A lot is being made about the allegation that Maj. Hasan said, “Allah Akbar” (“God is greatest”) and therefore, he must be an “Islamist” trrrst!
If I were a passenger in your car and you suddenly jammed on the brakes, I would yell “Allah Akbar!”.
If I were exiting from a tough test at school, I could say “Allah Akbar!”.
If I were a surgeon starting a difficult surgery, I might say “Allah Akbar!”.
If I were working on my car which wouldn’t start and then I managed to fix it and it started, I would say “Allah Akbar!”.
If I suddenly encountered a situation where I thought I might get injured or killed, I would say “Allah Akbar!”.
I suppose in the workbooks of the paranoid and the ignorant, in any of the above cases, I should be classed as an “Islamist Trrrs” and then what…shot? hung…tortured until I let on who taught me these terrible code-words?
Next time someone tries to tie “Allah Akbar!” and terrorism together, please tell them to get a life.
Megat S. Merican says
I cannot agree more.
In fact when I get into trouble with my wife and she is about to go ballistic, I also say “Allah Akbar” in the hope that there would be some divine intervention to save my skin.
The fact is the cry “Allah Akbar” as Jeff has correctly explained is used in almost all situations by Muslims: sadness, fear, joy, apprehension, pleasure etc
Or when someone says something particularly outrageously funny.
Yes. Very interesting. Now we have to understand what was behind other massacres, eg., Baruch Goldstein’s. I am sure the guy was also under very strong pressure and blah blah blah.
James Becraft says
Thank you for your thoughtful comments on this tragic situation, these tragic events, that underscore the nature of tragic human experience in this vale of tears.
A few thoughts are may be worthy of considering:
Muslims, Jews, Christians, are all, it seems rather prone to deny the fact that a God of Love is common to all three streams of “truth seeking”. They do so when they acting out in nutty violence. People on the Path of all three religions forget the Call of the One to Health and Salvation: To love God and love humanity.
As I diagnose reality on this planet, the perpetrators who bomb and spread mayhem all seem guilty of missing the point of the three great monotheistic religions. For the Hebrew Torah teaches of God’s love. The Christians teach the life of the Messiah as central to God’s Love. The Qu’ran in the Fatiha teaches of the concept of Covenant, Salaam and Submission to the One also teach of God’s love. They all teach the result of cause and effect: Hate destroys. Love and covenant with the One, heal.
It seems to me that to wage war, goes against the of Selfless, Creative, and Sustaining Love, the Love that creates Harmony, brings Justice, Peace and Salut to all mankind found in the Holy Books. Whether one bombs the hell out of others at Fort Hood or in Iraq or Afghanistan of in the downtown mall, it frankly doesn’t seem to be to be in line what the God of each of the three monotheistic religions—and of Buddhism and Hinduism truthseekers for that matter–teach.
Is not any person or nation state a little nuts, not living up to the highest in human values, when it starts killing other people?
I ain’t got no final answers, but this time is a time for mourning and soul searching.
Thanks again, Richard, for your analysis.
Richard Witty says
There is very plausible negligence or passive aggression on the part of the US military, in insisting that he be stationed in a position that was obviously repugnant to him.
They have other options than to do that, and periodically confuse requests for alternative posting with laziness or disloyalty.
Its a grey area, as they do need to preserve the notion of primary loyalty to the military chain of command rather than personal concerns.
On Mondoweiss, one theme of a number of posters is of dual loyalty of neo-conservatives and in some cases generalized as dual loyalty of Jews.
I understood that the officer had requested to end his association with the military earlier, which was not honored.
The power point presentation which he presented with the completion of his Psychiatry residency is at the Washington Post and has nothing to do with medicine.
His business card was released by AP
Ot says SoA (SWT) which according to the “right wing blogosphere” means soldier of Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala).
I haven’t seen any confirmation of this, if anyone has another idea, I’m open to hear suggestions. I thought maybe the business card was a forgery (after all, “health” is misspelled “heatlh”) but it was released by AP.
“Ot says SoA (SWT) which according to the “right wing blogosphere” means soldier of Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala).
I haven’t seen any confirmation of this, if anyone has another idea, I’m open to hear suggestions.”
Oh, for heaven’s sake, all you had to do was google it, and I am sure you would find out very quickly. It is not a question of “another idea” or of “suggestions”, it is a question of the correct translation of the Arabic phrase سبحانه وتعالى (subhanahu wa Ta’ala), which devout Muslims speak after the name of Allah. سبحانه, transliterated as subhanahu means “glory to Him”. و, transliterated as Wa means “and”. بعالى transliterated as ta`ala, means “exalted”. In other words, it is a very standard phrase glorifying God. It has nothing to do with soldiers, and in no way refers to the speaker or the speaker’s status or relationship with God and tells you nothing about whether he is a terrorist. It has the same significance in that regard as saying Allahu akbar – i.e. none at all.
Muslims have another phrase they speak after the name of a prophet, such as Jesus, or Moses, or Abraham, or John the Baptist (Yahya), or Mohammad. Why not do a little research and find out something about that while you are on this subject?
Jeff Siddiqui says
Amir, Don’t you bigots get tired of compounding ignorance with ignorance? Are you so eager to embrace the murderous nature of Muslims and Islam that you will swalloe any bilge offered to you just so you can sit comfortably and blame us?
Had you taken the time to double-check the meaning of “Allah Subhan wa Taala” (SWT for short), you would have then learnt that is means, “Allah sanctified and exhalted is He (above all else). Meaning in the brackets assumed and not spelled out”.
A simple Google search would have cleared that up for him, I am sure.
My question was what does SOA stand for?
Jeff Siddiqui says
I searched far and wide and I checked with many sources as to what “SoA” means and nobody seems to have heard of “SoA”. It would appear that “SoA” is aspeacial code designed just so the Maj. Hasa and the Islamophobic bigots can understand it.
Amir, perhaps you could spend some time learning about Islam so maybe…just MAYBE, you can use your talents to fight bigotry (even against Muslims! Oh, God!!) instead of swallowing every bit of hate that bigotsd generate against us.
I am not asking you to take our side; I am simply asking you to believe in the truth, instead of some bigot’s fantasies.
If he could not perform his assignment, he could have gone AWOL or face a court martial. At least then he would be standing up for his beliefs without hurting anyone else. Martin Luther King spent a lot of time in jail standing up for his beliefs. The fact that he chose to kill innocents rather than facing jail or life as a fugitive, plus the fact that he tried to reach out to the radical Imam Anwar al Awlaki, and his comment ““It’s getting harder and harder for Muslims in the service to morally justify being in a military that seems constantly engaged against fellow Muslims,” suggests a religious based attack. This was not a simple case of premenstrual syndrome
“If he could not perform his assignment, he could have gone AWOL or face a court martial. At least then he would be standing up for his beliefs without hurting anyone else.,/i>”
First, no one is suggesting that what he did was in any way rational or justifiable by any measure at all. Second, it makes no sense to suggest that he committed this crime as a way of “standing up for his beliefs”. It seems clear at this point that he was not acting from conviction, which is, at least in part, a rational act, but reacting irrationally to overwhelming life pressure.
“the fact that he tried to reach out to the radical Imam Anwar al Awlaki, his comment ““It’s getting harder and harder for Muslims in the service to morally justify being in a military that seems constantly engaged against fellow Muslims,” suggests a religious based attack.”
Ya Allah! If I never hear the term “radical Imam” again in my life it will be much too soon. That and the equally meaningless term “moderate Muslim” need to be permanently retired from the discourse.
And no, it does not suggest any such thing. First, you have no idea why or what he communicated with Al Awlaki, what he took away from the communication, or that he was in fact “reaching out” to him. The man was in deep personal anguish and had been for a prolonged period. Among numerous other things, his car had been keyed, apparently because he had a bumper sticker on it saying “Allah is love” – wow, that IS a terrible message, isn’t it, but it doesn’t quite fit, does it, with the notion that he murdered 13 people for any reason to do with Allah. If Allah is love, then Allah certainly does not support mass murder.
As for the comment about Muslims in the military – come ON! That is a realistic observation that many of us. Muslim and non-Muslim have made. As for me, I am completely appalled that any Muslims are interested in the U.S. military under the circumstances, and that has nothing at all to do with religion in my case. That comment of his is 100% realistic and reasonable utterly apart from religion.
“This was not a simple case of premenstrual syndrome”
I think we can do without the sexist body function analogies, don’t you?
“he tried to reach out to the radical Imam Anwar al Awlaki”
It seems he “reached out” to Awlaki for professional/academic, not personal/religious reasons:
“Officials said the content of those messages was ‘consistent with the subject matter of his research,’ part of which involved post-traumatic stress disorder stemming from U.S. combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
So, he was not “reaching out” to Awlaki for guidance or advice, or comfort, he was “reaching out” to him as part of his research. So much for that as evidence of religious motivation, let alone “terrorist connections”.
I don’t claim to “interpret” anything. But I will point out where there are verses that involve or seem to call for violence on the face of it, even if it is only “defensive war” to protect believers.
Take one of the verses cited against me above-
On the face of it, it’s a call for defensive warfare. Are you denying that?
I didn’t single out Islam at all – if you go back and look at my original post on this thread, it pointed out that the Christian Bible shares the same problem. There are verses in it that on the face of them call for or condone some type of violence (even if it is so-called “just war”), and those can be used to justify all manner of violent actions.
Nor did I say that Islam was the sole source of Hasan’s motivations. Rather, I said that it was a justification on his part for what he did, whereas the actual proximate cause was insanity on his part.
I’m not on the Internet all day, just waiting for you to make a post. But if it’s any comfort to you, then the same thing was in play – Teitel was using religion as a justification for murder.
“I don’t claim to ‘interpret’ anything. But I will point out where there are verses that involve or seem to call for violence on the face of it, even if it is only ‘defensive war’ to protect believers.”
Then you are by definition interpreting the Qur’an.
“Take one of the verses cited against me above-
2:190 says, “Fight in the way of Allah against those who fight against you, BUT BEGIN NOT HOSTILITIES. LO! ALLAH LOVES NOT AGGRESSORS”
On the face of it, it’s a call for defensive warfare. Are you denying that?”
As I pointed out earlier it is nothing of the kind. On the contrary, it is a call against aggression and for restraint. Even removed from its context the message of that passage is clearly restraint. In the context of the entire verse that fact becomes even more clear.
“I said that [Islam] was a justification on his part for what he did, whereas the actual proximate cause was insanity on his part.”
Really? And you know that exactly how given that we have not yet heard a word from him about any of this? It sounds to me like you made it up out of your head to serve your prejudices. There certainly is no reliable information that would lead us in that direction.
Megat S. Merican says
“I never said Islam was an “inherently violent” thing – just that it has verses that concern the appropriate use of violence, and those can be interpreted in different ways (including by fanatical groups such as Al-Qaeda).”
In spite of your above statement, you nevertheless appear to apportion blame on Islam (among other religions) when you state:
” While the man had underlying psychological and personal issues, let’s not let religion off the hook. Islam – like the Christian Bible and Jewish Torah – includes many traditions and verses in the Quran that can be interpreted as a call to violence.”
Would that be a wrong interpretation of your viewpoint ie that Islam is instrumental in pushing Major Hassan to the shootings or am I misreading you?
Dan Freeman says
Muslims Terrorists have infultrated our Military. Polical correctness is killing our Country. We should do like the hero of Liberals did in WWII — round up all the Muslims.
We must purge the military of muslim terrorists.
General Casey should be fired.
Dan Freeman says
Islam is a gutter religion. It is not compatible with democracy.
If you want Sharia law, go live in the middle east.
Richard Silverstein says
The only one in the gutter my man is YOU.
Go back to your sewer, hatemongering idiot. This isn’t the JIDF or thereligionofpeace.com.
Teresa S. says
“We should be clear that this is not the fault of Islam. It is the fault of a man who searched for answers in Islam and found rage and violence.”
It amazes me that every misunderstander of Islam seems to misunderstand the same exact things. FYI there is abundant support for Hasan’s views within Islamic theology, and no not the fringe, but mainstream teachings.
Richard Silverstein says
It amazes me that every rightist Muslim-hater seems to massacre the English language, just as they massacre Islam through their utter ignorance.
“there is abundant support for Hasan’s views within Islamic theology, and no not the fringe, but mainstream teachings.”
And where did YOU get your expertise in modern-day mainstream Islamic teachings?