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Fort Hood shooting on Guy Fawkes Day

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

MAJOR UPDATE: news outlets are reporting that the shooter is not dead as previously reported, but alive and in custody. This means we may indeed get some answers… and justice.

MAJOR UPDATE 2 – Hasan is reportedly conscious.

Who is Major Malik Nadal Hasan?

A few hours ago, Major Hasan allegedly opened fire at Fort Hood, killing 11 people and injuring 31. The local law enforcement responded immediately and killed Hasan, as well as taking two other possible accomplices into custody (UPDATE: the two other suspects have now been released, so it looks like this was indeed the act of Hasan alone).

There simply is no information yet about what Hasan’s motives were, or whether Hasan is indeed muslim or not. Of course, that last bit of information is the one that everyone will want to know about the most, even though in a fundamental sense it matters the least.

Major Hasan was also a trained psychiatrist and was previously working at Walter Reed Medical Hospital. The fact he held rank and had a stable military career prior to the event, suggests to me that a very recent psychological problem or trauma (PTSD?) may be an underlying cause. We just don’t know.

However, something disquieting about the date… It should be noted (as others like Ali Eteraz already have) that today is Guy Fawkes Day – the anniversary of a plot by a Catholic dissident to blow up the English Parliament then dominated by Protestants). If the shootings were motivated by some sense of grievance against US foreign/military policy, then the date is surely significant.

(UPDATE – just to be clear, I am not “blaming Catholics” for the shooting. I was asking if Hasan’s twisted rationale included some kind of anarchist element. I wondered if he was invoking religious grievances and striking out at who he perceived to be the oppressors of his faith. Guy Fawkes is often mythologized as a hero who took a stand against tyranny. The analogy to Hasan’s potential motivations, especially if he fancied himself as acting on behalf of Islam, should be clear).

It should also be noted that this is the second shooting at Fort Hood in about a year. The significance of this fact, also, is uncertain.

Right now, there’s nothing to do but wait for what information there is to be revealed. But it’s frustrating, as an american, and as a muslim. All we can do is pray for the victims and their families.

There’s no better source for following the Fort Hood story than Talk Islam, where the updates are rolling in. You can subscribe directly to the RSS feed for coverage of the incident at Talk Islam, as well.

UPDATE: The Council for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has already issued a press release condemning the attack. What they should have also mentioned was that muslim Americans have served in the US Armed Forces with distinction and honor – such as Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, who was killed in action in Iraq in 2007.

U.S. Muslims Condemn Attack at Fort Hood

CAIR calls shootings cowardly and inexcusable

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 11/5/09) – A prominent national Muslim civil rights and advocacy group tonight condemned an attack on Fort Hood military base in Texas that left at least 12 people dead.

In a statement, the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said:

“We condemn this cowardly attack in the strongest terms possible and ask that the perpetrators be punished to the full extent of the law. No religious or political ideology could ever justify or excuse such wanton and indiscriminate violence. The attack was particularly heinous in that it targeted the all-volunteer army that protects our nation. American Muslims stand with our fellow citizens in offering both prayers for the victims and sincere condolences to the families of those killed or injured.”

Along with innumerable condemnations of terror, CAIR has in the past launched an online anti-terror petition drive called “Not in the Name of Islam,” initiated a television public service announcement (PSA) campaign against religious extremism and coordinated a “fatwa,” or Islamic religious ruling, against terrorism and extremism.

SEE: CAIR’s Anti-Terrorism Campaigns

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

- END -

CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: ihooper@cair.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787 or 202-341-4171, E-Mail: arubin@cair.com



  • athiest

    “The fact he holds rank and has had a military career suggests to me that a psychological problem may be an underlying cause.”
    Wow, what a stereotype? What a way to broadly paint all people as 1 way because of the actions of the few. That sounds like the logical equivalent of “all muslims are terrorists”.
    Please explain yourself.

  • Aziz Poonawalla

    it was poorly worded on my part. Ive clarified my meaning.

  • Meghan

    Thanks for addressing some other areas where we can go to hear news about this. Unlike the other poster, I understood your initial meaning – he held a fairly high-profile, stable job. He was not wandering the streets in a psychotic state for years before this happened.
    I wonder if he had been a plain old white guy, what we would be saying…certainly there would still be significant anger that an Army soldier would turn against his own.
    As terrible as this this is, it’s important that we remember the type of stress that the military mental health community is under. Who counsels the counselors? This is not an excuse for violence by any means. It it just a major lesson that we should take from this horrible event.

  • abdul karim wali

    Meghan that was a good point, thanks !

  • Thomas Nephew

    I think the Guy Fawkes connection is a stretch, but we’ll see.
    Meanwhile, I’ve read that members of his own *family* have condemned the attack as “despicable,” one doesn’t always see that.
    OTOH, that isn’t popping up in other reports, maybe AP got it wrong or maybe the family is moving to a “find out what happened” view. I’ll be hoping the Silver Spring MD mosque he attended doesn’t get harassed.

  • http://cair? busy lady

    look, i understand that you’re muslim and an american and that’s ok, but what i don’t get is why you would associate yourself with an organization like cair? they’ve been proven to have ties with terrorists and have told people they want the united states to essentially bow down to your book. with an attitude like that i would stay far, far away from them.

  • Brett_McS

    either that or he’s a Jihadi.

  • http://spleenville.com/ Andrea Harris

    Guy Fawkes Day? Are you serious? Guy Fawkes Day is a British holiday referring to something that happened in their own history long before the United States even existed as a separate nation. No one in the US (except perhaps expatriate Brits) celebrates it, it’s totally meaningless to us, and I’ll bet you half of Americans don’t even know what it is. And why would a Muslim from anywhere care about something that happened between two different Christian denominations anyway?
    Guy Fawkes Day. Now I’ve heard everything.

  • BillyHW

    Violent retards.

  • David Gillies

    Andrea Harris is right. This is about as stupid as if a Muslim terrorist shot a bunch of people in the UK on the Fourth of July and someone were to note that that date commemorates US resistance to British rule. The real scandal is that political correctness seems to have allowed the US military to permit an openly disloyal extremist with decidedly unsavoury views to serve as an officer.

  • aelfheld

    How about just admitting the fact that Hasan is a wannabe Islamofascist martyr.
    It’s the ideology, stupid.

  • S. Weasel

    Oh, for crap’s sake! Most Americans don’t even know there’s such a thing as Guy Fawke’s Day, and I bet a scary number of Britons don’t know what it’s about. I stood next to a couple at a bonfire on Thursday in the South of England and the male of the pair thought the Guy was about Jack the Ripper.
    Honestly, you guys, it wouldn’t invalidate your religion if you admitted there’s stuff in the Koran that gives crazy permission to be violent. You know it, we know it. You just look shifty when you try to pretend otherwise.

  • Mike G

    I think we should also look at the fact that the Michael Jackson movie underperformed and Hasan may have been a fanatic MJ fan who was very upset by this. In fact, I think we should look everywhere except the bleedin’ obvious!

  • Ray

    Your stupidity is utterly astonishing. If you really believe this tripe (and I somehow doubt that), you shouldn’t be allowed out in the street without an adult holding your hand.

  • http://muslimbuddhist.blogspot.com Teed Rockwell

    To the Various posters replying to this column.
    It was also “obvious” that Muslims blew up the building in Oaklahoma that was actually blown up by Timothy MacVeigh–So obvious that numerous innocent Muslims were detained and questioned. Does David Gillies have any evidence that Hassan was “an openly disloyal extremist” prior to the shooting, other than the fact that he was a Muslim? If so, he ought to tell the Media, because no one else has reported this.
    There’s undeniably a lot of people who call themselves Muslims who believe there is “stuff in the Koran that gives crazy permission to be violent.” There are also Christians who believe that the Bible justified mass slaughter during the Crusades, the Spanish Inquistion, and the bombing of Abortion clinics. The question of whether either religion approves of such things can only be settled by reading the texts, and studying the context in which the text was written. From my study of the Koran, the violent interpretations are either open to dispute or flat out wrong.
    P.S. There’s a discussion going on in the Islamophobia discussion board in which numerous people are asking “Why don’t other Muslims openly condemn terrorism.” The answer of course, is that they do, and the media don’t report it. Thanks for letting us know about the CAIR announcement. You can bet it won’t get on FOX News.

  • C4

    “Does David Gillies have any evidence that Hassan was “an openly disloyal extremist” prior to the shooting”
    I’m pretty sure he was one as of the moment he started murdering his fellow soldiers, is that good enough?
    The “Of course Muslims condemn terrorism” bit would be more convincing if there were an example of it anywhere in this piece. But as usual there’s not even a token mention of sympathy for Hasan’s victims, only concern that we not jump to conclusions about Muslims, as we always hear whenever a Muslim starts shedding blood, which is more often than all other religions put together, but of course that doesn’t say anything about Islam!

  • Coralanne

    Why “in a fundamental sense it matters the least.”??? That would have to be explained. I think the fact that he IS Muslim would matter the MOST (think: jihad). So I do not understand, you will have to explain.
    Also you wrote: “There’s undeniably a lot of people who call themselves Muslims who believe there is “stuff in the Koran that gives crazy permission to be violent.” There are also Christians who believe that the Bible justified mass slaughter during the Crusades, the Spanish Inquistion, and the bombing of Abortion clinics. The question of whether either religion approves of such things can only be settled by reading the texts, and studying the context in which the text was written. From my study of the Koran, the violent interpretations are either open to dispute or flat out wrong.”
    You know you’re blowing smoke. As the other poster said, when you deny it, you come off as nonbelievable. From Mohammed’s time to today, Islam is a religion of dominance and violence. Moslems may not have killed everyone whose land they came to, further back in history, but those they did not, they taxed out of their faith and into Islam. You know history, you know it’s true. Those so-called times when everything was birds chirping and hand-holding that are referred to in lands they conquered and were ‘benevolent’ were merely when the conquered were subdued, were knuckling under, that’s all.
    The difference between Islam and Christianity is that Christian leaders truly do refute the abortion bombers whereas most Moslems are afraid to be vocal in rejecting Islam/jihad because they are seen as traitors and suffer backlash (Nonie Darwish,Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Wafa Sultan, etc., etc., who have to live under lock and key now—name me one Christian refuter who has to?).
    The Crusades and Inquisition were at a time when the government was wrapped up in religion. Now they are separate in Western governments,, so you don’t see that kind of thing. Whereas in Asia and Africa there is more of a mix of government and religion (Islam) and so you have more of those types of wrongs going on. But in the eyes of Islam, they are not wrongs, they are following what their god wants: To turn everyone into a Moslem, or turn them dead.
    Also compare numbers: how many non-Christians have Christians blown up over the last 30 years vs. how many non-Muslims have Muslims blown up over the last 30 years?
    I think that when you compare how many Christians other Christians have killed, vs. how many Moslems have killed other Moslems, well that may be about neck and neck…
    I am sure this won’t get printed in its entirety.

  • interpreter

    Hasan has long been an openly disloyal Islamic extremist. Now he’s a full-fledged Islamic terrorist. The 7th head of the beast has raised its ugly head again.

  • http://jihadwatch.org non-croyant

    I am glad I can scroll your hideously ugly pubic-hair covered face off the top of the page while I type this.
    The first thing terrorist-friendly filth like CAIR and this butt-ugly asshole do, after offering disingenuous condemnation, is to go into apologetics mode.
    What muslims should be doing right now is hanging their heads in abject shame – but of course they would have to feel that shame in the first place.
    It’s the religion, you stupid people. Wake up before it’s too late. Muslims are your enemies. Do not trust a single one, especially ones like the neckbeard author of this blog.

  • willliam2

    Guy Fawkes was a British Christian, not an American and certainly not a Muslim American soldier who shot and killed over a dozen US soldiers and wounded 28 others at Fort Hood.
    You need an American history lesson!

  • philip

    Let’s hope for the best!

  • aelfheld

    [...] we may indeed get some [...] justice.

    When Malik Nadal Hasan dances the hemp fandango then there will be some justice. Until then his very existence pollutes the Earth.

  • Mordred08

    non-croyant: “What muslims should be doing right now is hanging their heads in abject shame – but of course they would have to feel that shame in the first place.”
    Why should be people be apologizing for things they didn’t do? Unless you think the entire Muslim community was at Fort Hood that day with guns blazing, in which case you need to get back on your meds.

  • Thomas II

    God’s peace to you all.
    Christians, Jews, and Moslims have all violated God’s law of:
    Thou shalt not kill.
    Martyrdom when done to save lives, or done only to one’s self by others, when preserving their belief; is done in the spirit of Love and mercy of God, is blessed.
    Martyrdom done with the intention of killing someone else is evil and hateful will be cursed accordingly with all involved for no mercy was shown.
    Wrong is wrong.
    Remember: “Be they Muslim, Jews, Christians, or Sabians, those who do good have their reward with their Lord, They have nothing to fear, and they will not sorrow.
    Koran: The Cow Verse 62.
    Generally in the Christian Bible and the Koran, when they were first written, it was by men who were influenced by political or material agendas and committed sins of omission and commission to suit themselves or their leaders motives in order to gain power and riches. Careful study of history will show that this is true.
    Blessings to you all.

  • Realist!

    So the guy was palestinian?! what does that mean? oh he’s from palestine? what is now Israel?!, why dont he go home and grow vegetables? oh he cant go home? some polish immigrant from europe has his home now?! oh what the hell lets kill more iraqis!!!!!!!

  • Fortasse Abambagibus

    The dubitable thinker who has proclaimed his discovery of a meaningful connection between the Fort Hood tragedy and Guy Fawkes, and who cloaks himself in the garb of Principled Pragmatism, may have been overly eager to openly bare his corpulent body of knowlege on the matter of things Occidental. His proclamation, however, is an education in the obvious connection, or disconnection, that knowledge and reason are often connected by a tenuous thread of integrity. Egocentricity can fray it. The integration of the two is oftentimes more mythic than real. Hence I proclaim that the aforementioned thinker has unwittingly bared his emaciated body of reason. Pragmatism and Principle have again been sullied.
    That Major Hasan, of minor demeanor, is lovingly ‘alleged’ to have shot anyone at all is an affectionate indication that most Americans would liberally rather believe that the witnesses to his ‘alleged’ act of terror might have been experiencing some kind of mass delusion. But, in spite of our affections and self-deprecations, it is by way of our affections, naïve as they are, that we must realize that it is he who is the real victim here, for he has suffered from our prejudicial failure to acquiesce to the supremacy of his beliefs. Yet I wonder how the realization of having been downed by a woman, …and a non-Muslim woman at that,… is going to affect him.

  • Mike Jonze

    From the evidence I’ve seen, it’s extremely relevant that the guy’s a Muslim. You can argue whether it is or isn’t – some people’s reflexive defense of “diversity” won’t allow them to accept the evidence and be convinced.
    But whatever his reason, traitors are to be shot or hung. I’d personally prefer that he be hung so I can watch the traitorous scum’s feet dance but shooting him is also fine with me.

  • Your Name

    Why is it that people can hate what they fear,and love what they shouldn’t?…Im a firm believer in GETTING or GIVE ME the TRUE FACTS or just KEEP YOUR MOUTH CLOSED…oops! I know thats to impossible for some.People are so quick to through stones at others,and not look at the story from all corners.Oh My!!! Bush said hate & fight the Muslims,they are bad,they teach to kill and hate America,they hate this and that.But what about all of the evil deeds others have done and are still doing,and it’s not even talked about because the focus is on ISLAM…wow! to tell the truth Muslims should feel special on that part,but can do without the other….LEARN IT BEFORE YOU JUDGE IT….it helps you to see the REALITY better.Ooh!!! and if this stings your illusions…I got more reality for your………Embrace Islam!…*smile*

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