Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Fort Hood is part of a strange pattern


Isolated incidents...

[Pictured: John Allen Muhammad]


Today is Veterans Day in the United States. President Barack Obama will be laying a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. The November 11 commemoration is intended to honor those who served in the military, while Memorial Day, observed on the last Monday in May, was originally set aside for remembering America's war dead.

Since al-Qaida launched its war of civilizations on Sept. 11, 2001, America's all-volunteer army in Iraq and Afghanistan has suffered 5,000 dead and over 30,000 wounded.

ARLINGTON is located 5 km. from the Dar al-Hijrah mosque in Falls Church, Virginia. It was there that Nidal Hasan - the Muslim-American physician of Palestinian descent who murdered 13 people and wounded 29 last Thursday at Fort Hood, Texas - crossed paths with Nawaf al-Hamzi and Hani Hanjour, two of the 9/11 hijackers.

Many people came through Dar al-Hijrah, one of the largest mosques in America. Still, it is curious that in 2008 and early 2009 Hasan exchanged e-mails with Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born former imam at the mosque presently propagating al-Qaida's venom to English-speakers from Yemen. US intelligence picked up these communications, but determined they were part of the doctor's research on post-traumatic stress disorder.

Nor did anyone think it odd that in June 2007, Hasan delivered a PowerPoint presentation - "The Koranic World View As It Relates to Muslims in the US Military" - at what was intended to be a Walter Reed hospital medical seminar. Hasan told residents that Muslims love death more than Westerners love life, concluding with a slide: "Fighting to establish an Islamic state to please God… is condoned by the Islam."

In a Web posting Monday, Awlaki sang Hasan's praises: "He is a man of conscience who could not bear the contradiction of being a Muslim and fighting against his own people. No scholar with a grain of Islamic knowledge can deny the clear cut proofs that Muslims today have the right - rather the duty - to fight against American tyranny."

The FBI has no evidence that Hasan was part of a larger conspiracy. In the fullness of time he may explain why he carried out this massacre. But it hardly requires prophecy to intuit that he opposed the presence of foreign forces in the Middle East and believed Muslims shouldn't be killing Muslims on behalf of infidels.

Hassan and Awlaki are further proof that the war of civilizations is radicalizing American-born Muslims, while immigrants are certainly not immune. Hesham Mohamed killed without compunction at the El Al counter in Los Angeles (2002); Naveed Afzal Haq went on a fatal rampage at the Seattle Jewish Center (2006), and Sulejmen Talovic slaughtered shoppers in a Salt Lake City mall (2007). Yesterday, the US Supreme Court rejected a stay of execution against another US-born Muslim, John Allen Muhammad, "the Beltway sniper," who killed 10 in 2002. "Sniper's motive remains a mystery," said a BBC headline. Perhaps. But such "isolated incidents" reflect a bloody pattern pre-dating the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993.

IN THIS context it is only mildly reassuring that the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a mainstream group, has strongly condemned the Fort Hood attack. Such declarations don't inoculate Arab moderates if they continue to champion the policies of terrorist organizations.

CAIR says it has "consistently denounced violence by Hamas, Israel and other groups." Very droll.

In fact, the group's founders are intimately linked to Hamas's "humanitarian" work.

Speaking in Istanbul on Tuesday, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared: "Obama … can't collect the support of the illegal murderous Zionist regime and the countries of the region as well. Earning friendship … is not compatible with the Zionist regime's friendship."

He was telling Obama, either ditch Israel or forget about a rapprochement with Iran. He's got a point. No one can have one foot in the Islamist camp while championing liberty, tolerance and coexistence. It really is "either/or."

So Muslim-American leaders need to do some soul-searching about the charities they support, the foreign causes they embrace and the clerics they tolerate.

In the wake of 11/5, President Obama needs to work on parallel tracks - to ensure that blameless individuals are not scapegoated for Hasan's crimes, and to press Muslim moderates to cut all links with those who run charities by day and guns by night.

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