Sadness Leading to Fear

On Thursday, November 5th, Major Nidal Hasan opened fire at Fort Hood and killed 13 and injured 30. My initial reaction was like everyone else: extreme sadness over the loss of life, especially since it was not in a war zone and the victims were killed by another soldier. It is troubling. However, what I feared would happen as soon as I saw the name did happen. The focus now was on his level of religiosity and the role of Islam in this kind of violence. While I absolutely condemn these killings, I wish that for once the discussion focused on the human level–from all sides. Whenever a Muslim commits an act of violence, it is never read as an individual act or looked on as a human ill; rather, the person is always part of a larger problematic called Islam. Ironically, the next day, a shooting occurred in Orlando and the religion of the perpetrator was not mentioned at all.

Many Muslim groups were quick to condemn the actions and remind the public that these kinds of actions are not acceptable in Islam. Despite the numerous statements, programs on the shooting continued to circle around whether the shooter went to a mosque and how often, as if a mosque is fundamentally a space of violence. Muslims worldwide are avid mosque goers and find solace and comfort in that space. Moreover, in many mosques, there is emphasis placed on the core principles of the faith and how Muslims, through those principles, should become positive and constructive citizens, in whatever nation they belong to.

In one news program, in particular, the discussion was over “homegrown hate.” The story focused on a small group of Muslims who preached hatred against America and of course used Islam as justification. Coincidentally, they were doing this right after the shooting. Their views would be troubling to any Muslim who understands the compassionate nature of the Prophet Muhammad and how he called on his followers to be positive examples to the world. There are over 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide, so it is dangerous to frame the opinion of a few as somehow representative of the much larger group. Couldn’t this possibly endanger the 7 million or so Muslim Americans who firmly believe in the peaceful nature of Islam and their role in American society?

Muslims are human as well. They face the same obstacles, occasionally break down, and some times deviate. Islam, like any other religion, can be manipulated, but there are far more believers who demonstrate and live the real message of the faith.

Do you think that Islam is more likely to call for violence than other religions? Can religion be misunderstood? Should there be a focus on religious adherence in acts of violence? Please share your thoughts.

2 thoughts on “Sadness Leading to Fear

  1. I had the same reaction when I heard the name. I was very saddened and concerned by the news reports of the killings, especially since my brother-in-law is stationed at Fort Hood and my sister was giving me updates about the local news in Killeen as it happened. Her husband was safe, thank goodness, and when the news broke that the shooter had an Arab-sounding name I felt another wave of sadness hit me. I grieved for many reasons that day.

    It’s terrible that a Major in the US Army could get to that point in his personal ideology and act on it in a way that will paint Muslims as untrustworthy in the eyes of many people. They will use this as justification for their bigoted views. Why wasn’t there a backlash against Christianity when Timothy McVeigh bombed the Oklahoma City building? The media is not fair in its reportage when it comes to things like this.

  2. this act was very sad and he was clearly a troubled man who needed urgent help,however lets remember we have been here before in the 1980,s with another disturbed individual and who was blamed for his wicked works the muslims ,and 24 hours after the oklahaoma bombings the real culprit was exsposed,a young angry white christian man called timothy macveigh ,which proved one thing theres always nutters out there in the armed forces who need help ,and they resort to these evil acts to fullfill their twisted agendas