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Virginia Tech Tragedy, One Muslim Brother Dead [6 UPDATES]


Update 6: CAIR released a statement regarding the VA Tech tragedy. You can see it here.
IbnAbeeOmar writes about the crazy insinuation about the killer’s elusive ‘Muslim-link’. Click here.

Update 5: Another Islamophobic blog, not being named here, to avoid sending traffic that way, rails about the anti-Christian words used in the video, parts of it released by MSNBC. This blogger claims that the video shows a typical “Jihadist” video for 5 reasons. Because they are so ludicrous, we have to post them:
1) Signed the package mailed to MSNBC as A. Ishmael… “clearly choosing his Islamic name”… well, that has been already debunked, let’s move on…
(2) Room-mate saw him at 5AM “This guy must have had his fajr prayers and then headed to Jihad.” Are you kidding me?? Great catch man. Everyone who goes out killing at 5AM must have prayed fajr… so what about at night, would that count as killing-after-Isha?
(3) “Railings against Christianity.” So, why does that only point to Muslims, Sherlock? Atheists rail more against Christianity than probably Muslims
(4) “Pretending to slit a throat.” So, must be Muslim, huh? By the way, why practice that when you are going to use guns!
(5) “Posting a video.” So, is that a Muslim exclusive?

So, Mr. Bigot-Sherlock puts out these 5 proofs of a Muslim-link. The purpose of pointing these out is the underlying hatred of such people, as if every single crime HAS to have a Muslim behind it. It is truly scary that such people, full of hate, exist in this world. If you look at it, they are exactly like other haters, such as the terrorists who target America. For those terrorists, no evil occurs except that America’s or Israel’s sinister hand is behind it, and, ironically, these right-wing conspiracy nuts think in exactly in the same terms, but in the reverse. Its a chilling thought, but one that perhaps will give all of us sane people out there, Muslim, Jewish, Christian, or others, even more reason to bond together to fight hatred of all types.

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Update 4: According to a commentator at sepiamutiny, “It turns out that “Ismail Ax” was the gamer ID Cho used when playing online video games. He had it written in red ink on his arms when he went on his murderous rampage.”

Update 3: New post added as a tribute to Br. Waleed.

Update 2: As some of you may have heard, there is the desperate “Muslim link” that people are trying to make, because the murderer left a note with the term “Ismail Ax”… it has even made its way into newpapers such as the Chicago Tribune!

Fortunately, a reader at another blog had some English smarts… so unfortunately for you right-wingers: Debbie, LGBigots, Savage, etc, etc., sorry but nothing here, try harder next time!

“You probably already know this, but in James Fennimore Cooper’s story “The Prairie,” the settler Ishmael Bush, who is attempting to escape from civilization, sets out across the prairie with two key tools, a gun and an axe. Each has a symbolic meaning. The axe — which can either kill or provide shelter — stands for both creation and destruction. Given that the VT killer was an English major, might this be the likely meaning of the words on his arm? Just my two cents.” (Source Ray F. at Hot Air)

Update 1 (from Amad): One Muslim brother, Waleed, was also killed in the rampage (I know Br. Tariq is withholding the name, but it is already out there on MR’s site). Br. Waleed leaves behind a wife and a son. I also tried to call Br. Ahmed Sidky (a Texas Dawah speaker and student at VT), but couldn’t get in touch with him. Fortunately, Br. Tariq did and he has some emotional words from Br. Sidky. See here. If you cannot call this incident terrorism, then you can’t call any other terrorism. What is interesting is that when terrorists strike, they do not discriminate between race, religion, color, ethnicity, etc. Rather, they are motivated by hate or some other emotion that leads them to indiscriminately kill others. If this person, who allegedly was motivated by something as small (in the relative sense) as the love of a girl, then it makes sense (doesn’t justify) why other people can be motivated by misunderstandings and misinterpretation of religious texts. Also, as Sh. Yasir said in the comment, no one is painting this guy as a “Buddhist terrorist”, yet were this person a Muslim, and EVEN if he was motivated by the love of a girl, the incident would still be headlined as the “Muslim terrorist” or some other way to highlight his religion, regardless of what it had or did not have to do with his motive.

Statement on VT-MSA website: See here. The gunman was not Chinese, but a 23-year old South Korean by the name of Cho Seung-Hui, according to police. See BBC news here.

As most of you may have already heard, a gunman went on a rampage at the Virginia Tech campus, killing 32 people and then committing suicide, making this the worst instance of campus violence in US history.

A Muslim student (assuming by his name), Jamal Al-Barghouti made a cell-phone video of the incident, which was captured on here followed by a brief interview. Interestingly, bigots such as Debbie Schlussel, were already pointing fingers at Muslims (see this unbelievable speculation)!! Because the suspect was identified as an “Asian male”, she inferred that since Pakistani are Asians, and since most Pakistanis are Muslims, then it must have been an Asian Pakistani Muslim! Ofcourse… how could we miss that! And of course this witch did not care to note that no one really refers to Pakistanis really as “Asians” in American media outlets (the reference to Indians/Pakistanis as ‘Asians’ is more prevalent in UK).

In any case, thankfully, Debbie seems to have been wrong (as usual). Seems that the murderer was probably a Chinese student, whose girlfriend had left him. And in his ‘grief’, he felt like taking the whole world out… and the animal succeeded in at least taking 32 innocent people out. See Sun Times report here. More details at Roanoke Times.

The Virginia Tech MSA offered a statement of grief and sorrow. May Allah give patience to all those who are grieving. Please keep the MSA folks in your duas as per their request.

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  1. Umm Layth

    April 16, 2007 at 10:43 PM


    What a fool she is. I read another article where she said “Unlike Islaam, Christianity and Judaism don’t practice taqiyyah and takfeer…”

    I suppose we are all Christians then and there is no such thing as a non-Christian.

  2. Editor

    April 16, 2007 at 11:05 PM

    Here’s the thing though: Weren’t we all curious as to whodunit? And in the back of our minds we might’ve even thought oh please let it not be a Muslim? Going back to the Three-Word Mantra, we’ve become just as accustomed to such speculations, regardless of how, in this case, the history of US school shootings shows a very different psychology at work.

    So does it become an internal reaction that we need just as well to address?

    Anyway, our du’as are with the MSA.

  3. Yasir Qadhi

    April 16, 2007 at 11:15 PM

    It is so sad that as soon as most of us hear something like this, we start making du’aa, “O Allah, please, not a Muslim!” The fact that this student was a Buddhist, Christian, agnostic or Rastafarian was not even mentioned, and nor would it be considered relevant by anyone.

    Yet if this lunatic had been Muslim…..

    Allahul Musta`aan.

  4. Hassan

    April 17, 2007 at 8:17 AM

    How do they decide to mention ethnicity sometimes and religion sometimes? If he was muslim from Pakistan lets say, they would not have mentioned a Pakistani did this, it would be a muslim did this. Now they are saying Chinese did this, I want to know his religion, and why that is not mentioned.

  5. Mujahideen Ryder

    April 17, 2007 at 1:08 PM

    My friend, who is a freshman at VA Tech, told me about Waleed. Just to let you guys know.

  6. AnonyMouse

    April 17, 2007 at 5:00 PM

    Innaa lillaahi wa inna ilayhi raaji’oon…

  7. Amad

    April 17, 2007 at 5:04 PM

    Here are more links for the Muslim issue in this (though the only real Muslim issue is a dead brother!):
    Instant prejudice: Korea and Virginia Tech— talking about Schlussel
    Virginia Tech Murderer a Muslim? — Jawa Report, TX; bigots talking about theories, as if they have any brains to process any real information
    Open letter to media hypocrites-— decrying similar to what we mentioned here, regarding the non-use of terrorist/terrorism when Muslims are not involved

  8. AmatulWadood

    April 17, 2007 at 7:34 PM

    inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’oon. May Allah azza wa jal forgive his sins, grant him the highest gardens of Jannah and pour patience on his family. ameen. Allah azza wa jal tests His Servants according to their level of emaan, may this test be a sign of high emaan for the brother and his family inshaAllah.

    La huwla wa la quwwata ila billah. Alhamdulillah, for guiding us to this deen, the greatest ni3ma…

    As sad and shocked as we all are right now, I want to remind everyone and myself that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala never sends down upon His Slaves more evil than good. We may not see the good behind something so horrendous right now, but bi’ithnillahi ta’ala we will. We cannot comprehend the ultimate wisdom of Allah, AlHakeem-alAleem, and inshaAllah we must keep ourselves and others from asking questions like “why?”, and we must use this time to stand up and convey the deen of Allah and show the stance of muslims regarding Al-Qadr and Qadaa.

    Allahumma afrig alayna sabran, wa tawafana minal muslimeen. ameen. wa Allahul Mustaan

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  11. Hassan

    April 18, 2007 at 8:35 PM

    The killer made a video before going to killing spree. In the video he mentions Jesus Christ few times, and his Christian beliefs. “Christian Terrorist” anyone?

  12. Editor @ I J T E M A

    April 19, 2007 at 8:35 PM

    Assalamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullah
    I pray that you are in the best of health & imaan.
    This is a short message to notify you that this entry has been selected for publishing on I J T E M A; a venture to highlight the best of the Muslim blogosphere.
    To find out more about I J T E M A, and how you can further contribute, please click here.
    May Allah bless you for your noble efforts.

  13. WeAreOne

    April 20, 2007 at 12:12 PM

    What is most strikingly disturbing to me is how one student is singled out by the Muslim community for prayer and comments while the other innocent victims are not mentioned at all, and even worse, how Muslims are not allowed to pray for the non-Muslim victims and their families. What kind of religion separates humans out in terms of “us” and “them”, focuses only on their own select and then accuses the rest of the world of being phobic about them and their separatist attitudes toward human beings.

    It was stated that Cho’s religion is not mentioned but his nationality was. Perhaps he doesn’t have a religion. Not everyone does. It is assumed that idiots on the web who are living with ignorance and fear of world events which are severly highlighted by the “victim mentality” of the average Muslim, who also fear they are the sole targets of racism and judgement, have the voice for all of America. It was assumed that Americans would start attacking Koreans. It was assumed many things which show very little respect for the American population.

    The America I know took time to grieve deeply. The Americans I know cried in their own homes and prayed for all who suffered, not just those who were “Christian” or other religions. The Americans I know will turn this event inside out looking to understand how it could have unfolded and do what they can to prevent it again.

    I have noticed accusations coming from the ME, Iran in particlar, the “America’s VA Tech shootings are proof of the whole society’s illness and decay”. Nice sweeping statement of judgement that doesn’t make the radar on Muslim forums. Moralistic judgements which negate the true tragedy, which nobody on this forum has even begun to discuss. What is it?

    That this was an example of a human being who was suffering from a mental illness. The understanding of mental illness is woefully unachieved by most cultures and societies. The acts of lunatics becomes a banner for a particular religion or nationality instead of being defined as the results of a sick mind.

    Remember this. The brain is an ORGAN in the body and is subject to illness just as any other organ. While you can accept that there can be kidney failure, liver damage, lung collapse, heart disease, without assigning it to other motivations, it is much more difficult for the average human to consider what happens when the BRAIN starts misfiring. The brain controls thoughts and this becomes the central aspect that the illness effects.

    As a social worker who has worked with the mentally ill population, it makes me sad to see how often the real issue which we all need to be more highly educated on is swept under the rug as groups such as this wish to take it as another slander against them for fueling their “we are always a victim of hatred” views. While this victim mentality is not mental illness, it is definitely a waste of energy to define horrible human tragedies like this as fodder for their rantings about “poor us” as Muslims. This attitude is self serving and insensitive to the other 31 human lives who were destroyed, but were not Muslims. I guess they don’t really matter to you since you believe they are going to be condemned upon death anyhow.

    All of this is the same as saying that since Hitler was a Christian, that the holocaust was a Christian act…which people on this forum have stated. Hitler was severly mentally ill and commited suicide just like Cho. What blindness to your own phobias about every other person or belief system that is NOT Islam.

    The hypocracy astounds!

  14. Seeker

    April 20, 2007 at 2:56 PM

    WeAreOne: we are not implying that the other victims haven’t suffered, but we identify with him because he is muslim. And you should research more when you accuse us of singling out, because many ethnic and religious groups, and also states, have “singled out” victims from their group/area.

    For example:

    an article about one of the victims who was a holocaust survivor.

    Also, i’m in the MD-VA-DC area, I cannot even tell you how much pain and heartache we are going through. specific places have identified victims from their region and focused on them. It is the same for other states, like Rhode Island:–virgapr17,0,7253755.story?coll=hc-headlines-local-wire

    Please do not accuse us while the whole world is “guilty” of what you describe.

    Furthermore, no one is denying that the gunman was mentally ill. I am in the mental health field and when I heard how he was described, I immediately presumed that he suffered from schzioprehia, paranoia or bipolar disorder.

    Also, do you really think that muslims “victim” mentality is uncalled for? Do you really think that if this shooter was a muslim that mosques and muslims around the country would not be harassed? Do you think the media would react the same way? Open your eyes my friend. Some news outlets already deemed the shooter a muslim when the attacks happened. I’m surprised that you wouldn’t understand this as a person who studied the mind.

    Anyway, I really do not think we should be focusing on this..the real issue is how he purchase guns so easily, and how can college campuses and all schools monitor students with mental health problems.

    And Allah Knows best, and we seek His Help.

  15. muslimmatters

    April 20, 2007 at 2:59 PM

    “Weareone”, thank you for your comments. However, you are assuming too much.

    We are talking about Br. Waleed, because we identify more with him, just like Sepia Mutiny is talking about the Indians who died. And Arabs are emphasizing the three Arabs who died. Others may emphasize their classmates from high-school, or those who are from their town even if they didn’t know them personally. It does not mean that we or they are not saddened by the death of the others. Quite the contrary, this is such a tragic event that our hearts go out to all the victims. In fact, read the last paragraph of the post:

    “May Allah give patience to all those who are grieving”. This includes Muslims and people of all faiths.

    Hope this clarifies your misunderstandings.

  16. Seeker

    April 20, 2007 at 3:07 PM

    Also, statements like that from the middle east are not on this site because we do not agree with them. It’s like me saying, since you are white you have to agree with Debbie Schulessel statements. And seriously, those statements were clearly said for political reasons and does not have to do with anything about Islam. The issue that we are bringing up here is that when a supposed muslim kills someone, the media automatically associates that person with Islam, when in fact, Allah says in the Qur’an that if someone kills an innocent soul it is like they killed all of humanity. in Islam, killing a soul is the worst sin after assciating partners with God.
    But when, let’s say, a jewish or christian person kills someone, their religion is not important and sometimes not even mentioned…do you really not see a problem with that?

  17. WeAreOne

    April 20, 2007 at 10:43 PM

    Hassan said:

    WeAreOne, we are not suggesting one mentally ill guy represents christianity or korean people. We are just saying, what would have happened if this mentally ill guy was muslim?

    My reply:

    A lone person who was officially diagnosed as mentally disturbed, no matter what their religion or nationality, is just that, a mentally ill human. It wouldn’t matter if he/she were Muslim. Why do you think it has to be about this?

    You have expressed that prejudice is what you EXPECT, and that, my friend, is what is known as victim mentality. What you look for you will find more of.

    But don’t be fooled into not seeing your own prejudice, it is the one that says…”Americans are unable to distinquish between the act of a lunatic and their religion or nationality”. What are you saying about the “other” in your viewpoint?

    This is no different than the instant concerns from Koreans that “Americans” will automatically blame this individual’s Nationality and react with retribution of some sort for this. Your comments that Americans would have went into “terrorist” mode if he was Muslim is the same accusation.

    This is an absolute insult against the character and intelligence of the American population during a time of grieving.

    Hassan also said:

    On another thread you posted Hitler was mentally ill. Well he was not alone though, he had all Nazi army with him. By that standard we can safely say Osama Bin Laden and his cronies are also mentally ill. May be sick is better word for describing such extremists.

    My reply:

    I would agree that we need to consider what our thought processes contain, and perhaps determine if hate qualifies as the beginning of even deeper mental disturbances. I truly believe that it doesn’t matter what the religious root or nationality, any human who embodies with complete obsession the thought processes of hate and destruction IS very ill. They certainly are not coming from a place of love and peace!

    When a whole society follows a mass murderer, such as was the case with the Holocaust, (which by the way was one of the major focuses of study by psychologists and sociologists for decades after the fact. These were the people who wanted to understand “how” this could have happened. They looked at human GROUP behavior to learn how people are able to be manipulated enmasse), then one needs to consider what other factors played in to allow such blind followers.

    When a charismatic leader espouses grandious claims which gathers momentum and support, with the full intent to destroy any other human group, great harm can come. If we as humans can not determine and absolute when it comes to the sanctity of human life, and martyrdom or war is used as a justification, then religion has no power to bring peace and understanding in reality.

    When there are currently in our time, enmass protests where thousands upon thousands of people are marching in the streets, filled with contempt and hatred, shouting death to another (any other)people, I have to wonder where is the radar at that says, WHOAH! Where are the people stepping up and drawing the line on this type of rhetoric and demonstrating.

    It is because we HAVE studied and explored the human behavior behind Hitler’s SS and their compliance, we know much more. But if one has never ventured into an indepth consideration of what the Holocaust said about the HUMAN RACE, and one’s view has been limited by prejudices toward either the victims or the perpetrators, one will be hard pressed to truly understand how these things can happen. How easy it is then to say “The Holocaust was a Christian event”, which was posted on the blog about the Holocaust.

    I currently do not see enmass groups of people in America chanting death to anyone. I do see protests against the war that destroys human lives. I do see protests against other things that harm, such as tobacco and drunk driving. I do see Americans grieving over the loss of human lives in a senseless act of violence by a mentally ill human being. It really doesn’t matter where he was from or what his religious affiliation was.

    My own rant on this:

    Personally, in a time of national mourning, it is in poor taste to trot out the “If it were a Muslim who did this we would be hearing no end of it!” card. This seems a bit egocentric.

    But if you really need even this event which has nothing to do with Muslims to be all about “the prejudice we must endure as Muslims!” so be it. I am sure you will find more than one racist to support your view of “the American people” being prejudiced toward Muslims simply for being Muslim.

    The sadness to this is that one will miss so much good that is expressed and demonstrated in the character of the American people, simply because they can only fear and seek proof of the worst.

    And isn’t this the very thing that Muslim’s object to regarding how THEY are viewed?

  18. WeAreOne

    April 20, 2007 at 11:18 PM

    Also, do you really think that muslims “victim” mentality is uncalled for?

    A wise person told me years ago that it is important to be fully responsible for your own mentality. He was using the example of releasing anger for a horrible event that had happened to him. In explaining that his greatest battle in regaining his spirit was in letting go of “what he had every right to feel and think” about this event. He was holding a victim mentality, a poor me mentality, because it WAS rightfully deserved! But this was his own prison, and the only way out was for him to let it go. I never said there wasn’t a right to it, but in what way does it truly serve?

    Do you really think that if this shooter was a muslim that mosques and muslims around the country would not be harassed?

    I do not expect this reaction, but you obviously do. I do not expect it would have gone that way for the same reasons that it would not be made about South Korea (another “avowed” enemy of America). Since it proved to not be the national reaction (regarding his nationality) I also do not think it would be the reaction toward a Muslim shooters nationality or religion.

    But then I do not have a belief telling me that Americans are incapable of discerning between a mentally ill individual acting from paranoid delusions and their religious/national affiliation.

    Do you think the media would react the same way?

    The media does not have the power of God to control the minds of the people. Again, I am not so inclined to think so little of the American people. Most people I know would speak out against any connection between this person and any religion, no matter what it is, and no matter what the media says. Who are the Americans you know?

    Open your eyes my friend.

    My eyes are wide open.

    Some news outlets already deemed the shooter a muslim when the attacks happened.

    In my experience of this event as an American citizen, who is currently home and not working, I watched as many of the main broadcasts as were available. At no time did I hear a broadcast about this being assigned to a Muslim at all. Not once. This is not to say that there weren’t some things broadcast somewhere, but I do not think it was anything significant that Americans embraced. As I said, you will find what you are looking for. Yes, there are hateful people out there who have fear of Muslims. But this event was not another event for the focus of this, unless of course you decide it was.

    I’m surprised that you wouldn’t understand this as a person who studied the mind.

    Which part?

    I never said that there wasn’t prejudice toward Muslims. The question is, do you allow the individuals in America who ARE prejudiced become, in your mind, OUR whole majority?

    Are you not just as guilty then of sweeping generalizations that create the same type of prejudice you are railing against?

    Do you truly believe the whole nation is thinking this way, and if you do what does this contribute to Muslim relations in the long run?

    Full accountability is the only way to get past any prejudice you may be experiencing as a Muslim. Looking at your own focus, seeing if you are looking for the worst in the society of America or truly admitting that while there are people who do not understand Islam and are influenced by the media, the majority of Americans are really not all tuned in to “fearing Muslims”.

    I do not think there is a single person in this nation or even in the world who hasn’t been on the receiving side of hatred or prejudice for who they are, where they are from or what they believe.

    Perhaps considering that you are NOT that special with regard to carrying the weight of being despised or hated simply for an ideology, nationality, skin color or any other external factor which defines you may help.

    Muslims are not alone, no they are fully like every other human, in this sense. Perhaps understanding this, seeing the Muslim as an equal member in the wholeness of the human race, a new perspective can be formed. There are far more people who see Muslims simply as humans than perhaps you have chosen to imagine.

    And what we hold as “true” in each of our minds becomes the lense which we see the rest of the world through. This is truly how the mind works.

  19. Hassan

    April 20, 2007 at 11:29 PM

    WeAreOne, I understand your point of view, and it would make sense if there was no history or context to it. Believe me I would have loved to have bad things not associated with group of people based on ethnicity, religion or any other thing. But thats the case is, we do not want attention, we get unnecessary attention. You have to walk a mile in our shoes to understand how we feel. Its easy for you to say that we have victim mentality, disregarding history. Plus we only talked about media.

    Your statement “This is an absolute insult against the character and intelligence of the American population during a time of grieving. “, just want to point out, we are part of American population as well, and we are not making any insult to them, and apparently you missed all our greiving part.

  20. Hassan

    April 20, 2007 at 11:32 PM

    South Korea is an ally, its the North Korea, there is anomisity with.

  21. Aisha

    April 22, 2007 at 12:10 AM

    I also never saw the media make a Muslim connection and I am a stay at home mom who watch this coverage. I think the only connection made was weather or not the murder was influenced by media coverage of Anti-American propaganda which includes Muslims calling us the Devil and what not.

    I am married to an Arab Muslim and lived in Eypt for 18 months and I can honestly say that the Arab Muslims I met in Egypt think we Americans are no better than dogs and cannot be true Muslims.

    It is horrible to be a very good person and hated just because of your nationality or religion. In that respect I can understand the temptation to create a victim mentality. I get very angry when I think of how I, a covert to Islam, have been treated by Arab Muslims. It makes me sick and I work hard to fight the anger.

    I would like to see more Muslims do the same and send more messages of peace.

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