I said something about Hasan the Fort Hood Terrorist to my co-worker the other day. He then accused me of being a narrow minded bigot. His proof is that when he asked about the guy in Orlando who had shot someone, I replied that he was crazy. “Ah ha!” he replied. The guy in Orlando is crazy, but the Muslim is a jihadist. See? You’re bigoted. Any time you hear of a Muslim going nuts, you assume it’s due to his religion.
Ok…so where do you go from there? First, he doesn’t read the newspapers or the blogs – or even get most of his news online. Most of his comes from CNN news – which hasn’t had much on the Muslim angle until yesterday afternoon, when they did an interview with Lieberman.
Anyway…we didn’t get very far in our discussion. He didn’t want to answer some of the questions that would lead to the conclusion that Hasan was in fact a jihadist – rather, in his view, the man was just a coward who couldn’t face going to a war zone. My questions were: are all jihadists crazy? _are_ we in a war with Muslim extremists? If a man is an Islamic extremist, is he then one of the enemy?
His questions were: where were his terrorist connections? Had he traveled overseas? did he have established internet links to known terrorists?
I listened to some of Geraldo’s show last night – I can’t stand the man, but he was so extreme in his position which agreed with my wifes opinion, that I wanted to see where it would go – and it seems to me that the problem – or at least some of it – is in the use of the term “terrorist”. I’m not sure, but I think that it has taken on the connotation of being part of a political movement being a requirement. In other words, you can’t be a terrorist if you act alone – even if you’re a political movement sympathist. This was clear from Geraldo’s use of the term and approach to the shooting incident…if Hasan didn’t have connections to Al Qaeda or the Taliban, then he wasn’t a Terrorist and therefore, he had just had a mental breakdown due to the stress of having to go over to the war zone. I think that’s pretty much my wife’s position, though it wasn’t that clear when we had our discussion.
It’s entirely possible that Hasan was a coward and allowed himself to use the justification of religion to convince himself that it was a right and moral thing to refuse to go to a country where he would be engaged in conflict with his brother Muslims (though I question how much action against his brother Muslims a psychiatrist was going to engage in), and that the internal conflict caused him to snap. That doesn’t mean that his faith wasn’t the primary cause of shooting his fellow soldiers. His faith called for jihad, and he answered that call. He had to choose between being a American soldier and being a Muslim, and he chose.
By the way – my wife was even more outraged/astonished that I should consider that any Muslim in the military should be considered a possible infiltrator. I thought that was an odd reaction for a military woman. That was when I asked her if we were at war with extremist Muslims, and she just flat wouldn’t answer. Dodged the question like a true liberal – which normally, I would say she is not. Her problem is that she served a year in Saudi in the Army and learned a respect for the Muslims there. My problem with that is that I think she thought of them as wayward children – it was ok that she couldn’t attend Mass for the year she was there. They couldn’t celebrate Christmas and Easter because it would offend the Muslims. Women couldn’t drive – but that was ok – it was just their way … and so on. She excused their positions because it was their custom. I understand he had to accept their conditions while he lived there – but there was an acceptance of it as being OK that she still has and that I don’t understand it.