There seems to be a deep-seated need by some folks to cast Major Hasan, the Fort Hood shooter, as something — anything — other than a religious fanatic who killed in the name of his religion.
In spite of the ever-mounting information regarding his extremism, his self-declared status as a “Soldier of Allah”, his statements that he viewed the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as a war on his religion… the arguments still continue.
“He was just like every other crazy that goes off the deep end and starts shooting people up”, they say. “It had nothing to do with his religion.”
Yes, Hasan is clearly “a crazy”. Sane people, as a matter of course, don’t commit mass murder, no matter the provocation. Yet to deny that Hasan’s “crazy” was not directly tied to his brand of Islam is the most bizarre form of denial to me.
It’s possible that all these people arguing that his religion was incidental to his crime are motivated by concern for the many millions of non-radical Muslims. If so, then I can at least understand the rationale (if not the denial). We should all be concerned about the possible tarring and denigration of others who do not ascribe to the extremists’ views, but share the religion nonetheless. Clearly those innocents are at risk, and it’s important to distinguish between this madman (and those who think like him), and the vast majority of Muslims who do not share these views.
But it is they who are incidental here, not Hasan’s religious views and related acts.
Trying to re-frame his many years of words and actions, which culminated in a despicable but logical end, is not doing ordinary Muslims any favors. Rather, it blurs the line between them — and frankly, that line should never be blurred. It’s crucial to distinguish them. Had this monster been a violent Christian extremist who’d been going off for years, and followed it up by shouting “Praise God” before shooting up a bunch of people, it would clearly have been connected to his twisted religious views.
And that would be different… how? Other than the religion under discussion, it wouldn’t be.
Friends, the murder of George Tiller was an act of terrorism. The bombings of his clinic, and the first shooting, were terrorism. Furthermore, I think they were precisely the same kind of terrorism: religious terrorism.
Religious terrorism is not exclusively the province of Islamic extremists, and it’s a blatant falsehood to claim that the terminology is not applied to fanatics following a different “path to enlightenment”. Or has everyone forgotten about the Army of God? The fact that the United States is currently at war with violent Muslim extremists certainly raises the profile of their crimes, but that’s about it.
Pretending that Hasan was not acting on his twisted interpretation of Islam does nothing to protect ordinary Muslims, anymore than pretending that Eric Rudolph wasn’t an extremist Christian protects ordinary, well-meaning Christians.
They’re terrorists — specifically, religious terrorists.
In this case, the religion is Islam, and Hasan’s version of it is heinous. He committed murder in the name of that religion.
It is what it is.