I originally intended to publish a post on the Ft. Hood massacre soon after the news broke about the attack by Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan. In the inital days following, the news media strained to find a possible motive for Hasan's actions. Was he a flaming jihadi or a garden variety crazyman? Now, since the events took place months ago, I've had plenty of time to mull the situation over and grant possibilities and motivations subliminally suggested by the media. I also enlisted the help of a fellow Christian apologist and expert on Islam, David Wood from Answering Muslims, to help me make sense of Hasan's motivations. Questions in bold are followed by his answers in italics. To be fair to the media, I have also included representative media answers in response to Mr. Wood's statements. Thus, this blog entry has both sweet and sour sides to it. I'll let the reader decide which is which.
1. It seems like the American media doesn’t know what to make of this man Hasan except to attribute his actions to a psychosis or a mental breakdown. How legitimate is this treatment of him?
Hasan did exactly what Islam commands him to do, which is why it's absurd to attribute his actions to a mental defect. If Hasan had started running down the highway in a pink dress, barking like a dog and shooting people with paint-ball pellets, we might reasonably question his sanity. But when he proclaims his jihadist views over a period of years, consults Muslim scholars about waging Jihad, purchases weapons, and carries out a brutal attack against carefully selected targets, psychological problems simply aren't the explanation. Islam is the explanation.
Phptht. No, Hasan had to be mentally disturbed. After all, he was about to be shipped to Iraq to fight George Bush’s War. Who wouldn’t go insane? You shouldn’t bring Hasan’s cultural upbringing into this. As an enlightened and tolerant society, we should realize that none of this is really his fault, and he can’t help it if he’s Muslim. I mean, Islam is a religion of peace, right? Right?
2. What are the laws in the Qu’ran prohibiting murder or the killing of innocent people? Tell me about what they mean.
Concerning the murder of innocents, Muslims may appeal to Qur'an 17:33, which says, "And do not kill any one whom Allah has forbidden, except for a just cause, and whoever is slain unjustly, We have indeed given to his heir authority, so let him not exceed the just limits in slaying; surely he is aided." Here a Muslim may rightly claim that the Qur'an condemns the killing of innocents.
The problem is that the Islamic definition of "innocent" is radically different from that of practically everyone else on the planet. According to Islam, non-Muslims aren't innocent. Pagans aren't innocent. Christians and Jews aren't innocent. Consider, for instance, what Qur'an 9:30 says about Jews and Christians: "And the Jews say: Uzair is the son of Allah; and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah; these are the words of their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved before; may Allah destroy them; how they are turned away!"
Christians and Jews are therefore guilty of the worst sin imaginable (associating partners with Allah). It isn't surprising that 9:29 commands Muslims to fight us.
Hence, while it is correct to say that Islam forbids the killing of innocents, we must keep in mind the fact that, according to Islam, the only innocent people are good Muslims.
This has to be an obvious twisting of the Qu’ran. I mean, what about The Crusades?
3. According to this understanding of the Qu’ran, why are American soldiers legitimate targets of killing?
The Qur'an specifically says that the penalty for "making mischief" in Muslim lands or fighting against the Muslim community is death. Qur'an 5:33 reads: "The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His apostle and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement."
The American soldiers targeted by Hasan were about to be deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq, to make what Hasan would regard as "mischief in the land." These soldiers were therefore legitimate targets according to Islam.
Well, I have a Muslim neighbor, and that’s not what he believes. And he says he’s very devout. His kids and mine play soccer together.
4. What is the war/jihad that Hasan chose to fight in and what the imam he consulted with endorsed?
According to Hasan, the United States is at war with Islam (due to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq). Thus, any Muslim is justified in waging Jihad against America.
That’s sooo ridiculous. As stated before, Islam is a peaceful religion. The U.S. is at war in Afghanistan and Iraq because George W-stands-for-Warmonger Bush was a warring warmonger. You can’t base what one crazy man says as representative of the whole religion. I’m sure there’s no justification whatsoever in what he believes. He’s crazy, you know.
5. If Hasan’s acts took place in, say, Saudi Arabia, would he be treated as a murderer as he is here in the US?
In the eyes of Muslims who understand Muhammad's teachings, Hasan isn't a murderer at all. He killed enemy combatants, and therefore should be considered a war hero.
Haw-haw. Hasan is a US citizen, and he has Miranda rights and should be tried fairly in federal court. Everyone is innocent until proven guilty!
6. What could be his defense for his actions? Could he argue that he did not really murder anyone at all, since none of the victims were Muslim?
Murder, by definition, is an unjust killing. In Islam, it's lawful to kill enemy combatants. It's also lawful to kill people who are aiding enemy combatants. It's even lawful to kill civilians as collateral damage when targeting enemy combatants. Everyone killed by Hasan fits into these categories, so there was nothing unjust about his killing spree (according to Islam).
See, this shows that Islam is very tolerant and peaceful.
7. The American society seems to be just one of the things disdained by many militant Muslims about the US. Are the features (positive or negative) of American society fundamentally incompatible with Islam or Sharia? Are Islam and Sharia the same?
Islam is the religion, while Sharia is the legal system put in place when the religion becomes dominant in an area. Thus, while there are many Muslims in America, there isn't much Sharia. Sharia is completely incompatible with American society. Freedom of religion is severely limited under Sharia. Freedom of speech is severely limited. The penalties for various offenses in Islam would qualify as "cruel and unusual" in America. Since America is pluralistic, Islam can exist in America. But Islam is monolithic; therefore, America cannot exist under Islamic rule.
America has separation of church and state, therefore, I cannot conceive of any American Muslims who would tolerate Sharia. Only the radical Muslims, whom I refuse to acknowledge exist, would want to impose Sharia. Even if they did exist (which they do not), I’m satisfied with characterizing them as terribly misunderstood and also confident that they will eventually become as relativistic about their beliefs as I believe they should be.
8. Is Sharia the goal of Islam? I mean, there are plenty of Muslims who do not want to live under Sharia. However, does faithfulness to Islam compel them to accept it as the right way of life?
If someone believes that Islam is true, they should believe that Sharia is the greatest system of law (since it's the system that's been commanded by Allah). It is therefore quite strange for a Muslim not to desire Sharia law. Muslims who do not desire Sharia have either been thoroughly Westernized, or they don't know enough about their religion to know that they're supposed to seek the establishment of Sharia.
Well, if you’re going to get all confusing like that, then there is no longer any reason to rebut you.
9. Are Americans naïve to this aspect of Islam? Are Westernized Muslims likewise naïve?
Since Americans are raised to believe that a particular religion shouldn't be forced on people, many Americans just can't grasp the fact that Islam is completely different in this respect. Americans tend to think that all religions support basic rights, such as freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of expression, etc. Indeed, when the facts about Islam are pointed out to people, many become upset because they assume that those presenting the facts must be misrepresenting Islam. After all, no religion could possibly teach that unbelievers should be fought simply for being unbelievers!
Similarly, many Muslims in America have been raised with Western values, and they believe in Western values. But since they don't know much about Islam, they are convinced that Islam teaches the same thing (when it doesn't).
This is the problem with religion in the first place. Adherents turn perfectly benign beliefs in the brotherhood of man (and woman) and the parenthood of God(ess) into a contest of exclusivity! If religious people would just become as enlightened as we reporters, journalists, and news anchors, then everyone would understand how objectively correct we are in pointing out the relativism of all moral and religious beliefs! Let us all put down the dogma, already! Get it? Put down the dog-ma?
10. There are efforts from people like Irshad Manji to reform Islam into a less oppressive religion. Is this even possible?
People are free to reinterpret Islam, and this is what many are already doing here in the West. The problem is that wherever Islam spreads, there will always be a minority of Muslims who take the Qur'an and Hadith seriously. So no matter how much Irshad Manji waters down the religion of Muhammad, Muslims will continue to oppress unbelievers.
When women and minorities are abused in Islamic countries and bring that abuse to the West, I tolerate it as a mark of their culture that I can’t bring myself to critique in public, even if I wanted to. I’ve abdicated my ability to criticize Islam out of loyalty to moral and religious relativism and political correctness. Christianity—now that’s another matter altogether…
An army base with unsuspecting and men and women, most of them unarmed. Motive: kill the enemy. Triggerman: one Soldier of Allah. Result: 13 dead.
However the media (and the military) chose at one point to characterize what happened, I can’t ignore the clear, linear progression of logic that led Hasan to attack the personnel at Ft. Hood. For a Muslim dedicated to the supremacy of Allah by following Qu’ran to the letter, mass murder became more necessary than any gentle proselytizing. Maj. Nidal Hasan was an officer in our military, yet he was of another military, that of Islam. In short, he was a wolf in sheep’s clothing, following the path of what he believed a good Soldier of Allah was supposed to do.
Oh yes, let’s go there. Though 13 people died, assuming none were Muslim, according to the laws within Islam, Hasan did not commit murder at all. The dead were only Jews, Christians, and infidels worthy to be swept up in body bags as the consequence of victory in jihad. In Islam, there is no murder of non-Muslims, just death. This is the first tragedy of Ft. Hood.
The second tragedy is this: it took months for the Army to finally spit out the word “terrorist” in the same sentence as Hasan’s name. And the mainstream media? I’m still waiting. And in the pit of my stomach, I suspect I will be waiting forever. Journalists are doing the equivalent of sticking one’s head in the sand to hide from the obvious. Hasan’s beliefs are Islamic…and protected in the shadow of welfare in a beautiful, magical, multicultural world. Therefore, saying anything negative about the origin of his violence (ahem, Islam) is strictly prohibited in the uber-PC culture of the mainstream media. Political correctness forces us to ignore where Hasan got his jihadist mindset (um, the Qu’ran and the Hadith?)
So it seems that some want to imply that Hasan could have been a radical, violent, religious nutcase that had just as much chance of shooting up an army base as a Christian as he did as a Muslim. Fine. If that were the case, I have complete confidence that the media will call him for what he is: a murderer.
But if political correctness in the media can’t call something for what it is, like murder, terrorism, and jihad, then we might as well blame political correctness for murdering 13 people. If that is the case, then political correctness needs to be murdered in order for people to live.