Discussing Islam after Fort Hood
I remember sitting at a table filled with people when I got a text from CNN. It read, “CNN Breaking News – At least seven people killed and 12 wounded in a mass shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, a Pentagon official says.” At that moment, I remember reading the text message and saying, “Please God, let it not be a Muslim.” Lo and behold, only a few hours later, I would have my response via another CNN Breaking News text. This time, “Alleged Fort Hood gunman – U.S. Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan – is alive and in custody.” At the end of it all, 13 were left dead, 29 injured and millions were scarred.
The Onion is an online parody news source which did a brief story on the Fort Hood shootings a week after they happened. In it, they describe the reactions of Muslims as saying “Hey, great, eight years of progress right down the shitter – and you just had to scream ‘Allahu Akbar’ while you did it, didn’t you? May as well have put on a turban and rode a [expletive] camel right through the army base, you dick. Thanks for making the foreseeable future a living hell for normal, peace-loving Muslims in this country. Really appreciate it!” Even though the Onion is supposed to be a parody site, I felt exactly this way. It is amazing how close parody imitates reality.
Major Hasan, you are an absolute fool. What were you possibly thinking when you attacked those at the Fort? What made you want to take their lives, and what did you possibly think would happen to you? Did you really think you would be able to get away? If you didn’t want to live or didn’t want to get deployed, do something different – that isn’t a reason to not only ruin your own life but also the lives of peace-loving Muslims in the United States.
All of the progress that Muslims have made since 9/11 has been damaged by your stupid and illogical actions. Everything we’ve worked so hard for is once again going to be called into question. Every time a Muslim now wants to join the armed services, their intentions will be questioned. Every time a Muslim wants to learn how to fly a plane, their intentions will be questioned. Even the pursuit of medicine will now be questioned. You, sir, have single handedly set us back as a society simply because you didn’t want to go to Afghanistan to serve in the military you signed up to serve.
Why didn’t you just quit? Why didn’t you hold your head up and say ‘I don’t want to serve in Afghanistan’? Why instead did you decide to kill and injure those whose purpose it is to protect us as Americans? As President Obama said so fittingly at the memorial service for the fallen, “No faith justifies these murderous and craven acts; no just and loving God looks upon them with favor. And for what he has done, we know that the killer will be met with justice – in this world and the next.”
Do you even know anything about the religion you seem to have tried to defend? The Islamic religion commands believers to obey the laws of the land they live in. Muslim jurists consider citizenship to be a covenant held between the citizen and the state, one which guarantees security in exchange for certain obligations such as obeying the laws of the land; covenants are considered sacredly binding in Islam. As the Qur’an states, “…and fulfill every covenant. Verily, you will be held accountable with regard to the covenants” (17:34).
On Friday, as I was walking with a friend to a dorm building, we passed by a large group of drunk males. One looked at me and said “Don’t blow up the fucking towers.” As I turned to respond, I was reminded of life in a post-9/11 society, one where people have defined actions by ignorant individuals as “going Muslim.”
The term “going Muslim” was recently coined by a professor at NYU who “would describe the turn of events where a seemingly integrated Muslim-American – a friendly doughnut vendor in New York, say, or an officer in the U.S. Army at Fort Hood – discards his apparent integration into American society and elects to vindicate his religion in an act of messianic violence against his fellow Americans.” This is utterly ludicrous. Every major Islamic organization in the United States has condemned the attack as being a cowardly and heinous crime against our common humanity. It is one thing to talk about the actions of Major Hasan, it is quite another to argue that any Muslim can one day turn on those closest to him or her.
This is utterly false. I am a proud American and a proud Muslim and would never do anything to hurt those around me. To suggest an entire group of people is capable of violence simply because of the religion they practice is just as backwards as saying that a racial or ethnic group is more likely to commit violent criminal acts.
The greatest tragedy that comes out of the attacks of Fort Hood is not how Muslims will be treated; rather, the tragedy is truly felt by the families of the victims of this massacre. The fathers and mothers left without a child, the children left without a father or mother. They are the ones who will have to live with this tragedy each and every day for the rest of their lives.
Major Hasan faces the death penalty for his crimes, yet once again we are the ones left with the raw end of the deal. Muslims are once again forced into the role of defending themselves and their religion when they have done nothing wrong. May God help us all.
Subhan Tariq is a Collegian columnist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.