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Fort Hood has enough victims already: Opinion piece at Guardian UK

KW: First, sending out good wishes and strength to the wounded victims, and hope they may recover. Also, condolences to the families who lost loved ones.

I found an excellent story at the Guardian UK exploring the possible motivations of the shooter. And, trying to make sure that the incident does not wrongly result in more hatred and discrimination of  Muslims, just because the shooter happened to be Muslim.

Fort Hood has enough victims already

Whatever was in the mind of alleged shooter Major Nidal Malik Hasan is no reason to question the loyalty of Muslim Americans

After an American soldier’s tragic outburst of violence at Fort Hood, Texas – the army’s largest US post, with some 40,000 troops – dominates the headlines, a fear-mongering hysteria concerning his supposed religious motivations is taking priority over questions regarding his mental health.

Although the facts, and clues about motive, are still being uncovered, we know that the alleged shooter, 39-year-old Major Nidal Malik Hasan, is an American-born medical doctor and licensed psychiatrist, who also happens to be a Muslim born to Palestinian immigrant parents.

When Hasan’s Arabic name was revealed as the alleged shooter, the blogosphere and message boards lit up with the predictable assortment of anonymous bigoted bile vilifying Islam and questioning the loyalty of American Muslims.

Thankfully, most mainstream voices, such as Republican senator John Cornyn of Texas, urged caution and moderation, stating: “It is imperative that we take the time to gather all the facts, as it would be irresponsible to be the source of rumours or inaccurate information regarding such a horrific event.”…

It should comfort most Americans that mainstream Muslim American organisations, which often espouse a sense of victimhood and unnecessary rationalisations, unequivocally denounced Hasan’s alleged actions as “heinous” and incompatible with Islam. The Council of American Islamic Relations issued a statement saying: “No political or religious ideology could ever justify or excuse such wanton and indiscriminate violence.”…

From the evidence thus far, it seems tragic and ironic that Hasan, a psychiatrist who helped heal soldiers suffering from PTSD, would allegedly turn against them upon learning of his deployment to Iraq. In the interview with Fox News, his cousin described going to Iraq as Hasan’s “worst nightmare”. He went on: “[Hasan] was doing everything he could to avoid that … He wanted to do whatever he could within the rules to make sure he wouldn’t go over.” Hasan’s aunt told the Washington Post that her nephew had consulted an attorney to see if he could leave the army before his contract expired due to harassment he had received from colleagues because he was Muslim.

Whatever the FBI investigation and any subsequent prosecution following the terrible shootings at Fort Hood may finally reveal, incidents such as these warrant a re-examination of how to treat and discharge or excuse those soldiers who are troubled or conflicted psychologically, politically or religiously over our foreign policy and, in particular, the current war in Afghanistan and occupation of Iraq.

No mere factual, evidential explanation could ever justify or excuse in any way Hasan’s alleged actions. But it ought to broaden the horizon of those in the media who seem infatuated with the need to pin the blame for this perverse tragedy solely on a man’s religious faith and Arabic last name, rather than exploring the possibility of a more complicated truth involving some combination of mental state, divided loyalty or conscientious objection.

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