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The Tragedy of Nidal Hasan’s Fort Hood Shootings: Media Discipline & Muslim Condemnations

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Like the rest of the America, I was disheartened and shocked by Thursday’s events in which a U.S. serviceman, identified as Nidal Malik Hasan, perpetrated a terrible act upon his fellow servicemen. That night I was glued to as many news sources as one person could handle: simultaneously monitoring local AM talk radio, websites, Cable TV news and statements from  American Muslim organizations.

My frustrations were exacerbated, both by some of the news coverage (though I have something positive to say about their initial reporting) and by the Muslim community’s reactions. In contrast to the initial reporting and punditry, I believe that Muslim community’s handling of the issue leaves much to be desired.

Clearly, condemning the killing of unarmed people in a non-combat situation is the right thing to do.

However, why do we have to do it as Muslims?

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This is an issue of common humanity. Condemning these and similar events can serve to strengthen the association with Islam. If we learn conclusively that Maj. Hasan believed he had religious justifications for his actions, our condemnations as Muslims actually reinforce those making that connection instead of refuting it. Muslims and non-Muslims alike have to separate the actions of Muslims from the religion of Islam. A great resource outlining the logic of this can be found in the Freedom and Justice Foundation’s landmark position paper titled the Triumph over Terror, Interfaith Statement. Understanding this separation of terms for the religion and the follower — that is unique to Islam — would lead to a better strategy like offering condolences to the families who lost loved ones and focusing on the loss of life.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) once instructed Mu’adh Ibn Jabal (may God be pleased with him) not to speak on his behalf, or on behalf of Islam. In fact Mu’adh was specifically instructed on how and what to say when he was sent to essentially perform missionary work. Mu’adh was told to speak only for those that elected him as their leader. Now, let us remember just who Mu’adh was. He was endorsed by the Prophet as having the most knowledge on Halal (the permissible) and Haram (the prohibited). He was the companion whom when the Prophet used to show that Iman (faith) is in the heart, the Prophet patted the chest of Mu’adh.

If Mu’adh was instructed to speak only on behalf of those that elected him, how about us?  It would be good for us to remember the difference between the words “Muslim” and “Islam.”

Today, Muslims acting in the role of spokespersons must consider the multiple audiences they’re addressing. When possible they should be credible subject-matter and subject specific experts. They should not speak beyond their actual leadership or expertise. In best-case scenarios religious questions (what does Islam say about xyz?) should be deferred to religious leaders with the appropriate qualifications.

So, when is it appropriate to condemn on behalf of Muslim organizations and who should do it?

In my view, only local Muslims should speak on local issues that are directly related to their communities. National organizations can handle the national issues. The exception to this rule of thumb is when Muslims discuss a policy or subject-matter expertise that benefits the community. This commentary should be intended to guide and suggest proactive steps, improved responses, education or strategy development. Facilitating dialogue, helping community leaders gain knowledge and experience or educating the community on positive action that they can take are all excellent examples of reasons to comment on a situation or tragedy as an American Muslim.

As for the news reporting following the incident, I was surprised both by the early restraint shown by some news sources and more surprised by which media outlets which demonstrated that initial restraint. During FOX news’ interview with Kay Bailey Hutchison, both the U.S. Senator and Shepard Smith were seemingly eager to announce the suspect’s name was a Muslim name. However, they did show restraint unlike ABC’s news crew, which subsequently started the domino effect with CNN next and followed by others all introducing the Muslim angle to the story.

Locally, Michael Berry— a popular talk show host and former Mayor Pro Tem for the City of Houston— also demonstrated a responsible approach when discussing Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan’s religion. He qualified the listener’s comments reminding them that at the time there was a lot of speculation, but not confirmed facts. Berry did speculate mildly, yet he stuck to the facts as they were being released and continually reminded listeners that much of the on air discussion is unverified.

I am sure that many readers are surprised at this praise for the early reporting, so let me be clear: I do not think any of the coverage was prefect or even ideal. But what should be noted is that even media sources typically hostile toward our community displayed more sensitivity and concern for facts for confirming the facts than others media outlets that have a reputation for being less biased toward the Muslim community, at least in the early reports.

Muslim organizations vs. the media

Why does the early media restraint matter? It is a fair question especially now as the story’s narratives develop and the patterns of bias return. The answer is in the contrast between our community’s organizations and the media. If FOX News and talk radio demonstrated some restraint on reporting the Muslim angle, shouldn’t our organizations also have shown restraint in their responses?

This is where condemnations come in. Very rarely in my time as an activist has the request come to me to condemn something. People relate to people. If you and your community did not do it — and/or if you believe Islam does not endorses it and you still feel the need to condemn it — do it as a human being. If however, an incident happened in your community and it was clearly expressed by the perpetrators that they believed they had religious motivations, condemn it as a human and as a Muslim. However, ONLY the local community should do this, otherwise you are actually giving the story legs (a longer news cycle) and affiliating yourself and your faith with an unaffiliated event.

As rumors in Maj. Hasan’s case give way to facts, we will see if the rushed condemnations from many American Muslim organizations are relevant. If the motivations of Maj. Hasan are some how proven to be rooted in his religious beliefs, the condemnations would have been both more effective and more appropriate if they were released as those details are made known and verified. Knee-jerk condemnations sometimes come off as insincere and overly protective, begging all sorts of new and avoidable questions.

To be fair, I have to acknowledge the embattled state that many of our organizations are in. Our leaders and activists are constantly attacked — from every conceivable source — simply for advocating for Muslims and that Islam be understood and respected. These attacks are not only from non-Muslims but also from within our community. It is this latter category of attacks from the Muslim community that makes writing this article so difficult. May Allah reward our community’s representatives for the difficult tasks they face, make them successful and forgive us all for our short comings.

In closing, my heart goes out to the families of the victims of this tragic shooting. I pray that Allah guides and comforts them during this time of loss. I also pray that Muslims in the West, especially those in all forms of public service, will not be maligned due to unfair association of these types of actions with our entire community and faith.

Moderation for this post

To preserve the integrity of this discussion, any comments relating to the topics of (1) permissibility of Muslims working for the military or (2) whether this murderous spree should not be condemned (this article is about HOW not if) and, (3) of course, any celebratory comments (an unfortunate reflection upon some in our Ummah) will be deleted. Please stick to the topic: how separating Islam and Muslims is important in public dialogue and how it is especially important in condemning on behalf of Muslim communities.

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Paul "Iesa" Galloway is a native born Texan. He was recently called "the Yoda of interfaith affairs" by a colleague from his daytime gig. After hours Iesa serves as a consultant, messaging strategist and trainer on media, government and community relations. Iesa is a product of the "Military Brat" experience of the 1990's on US Army bases in Germany he has traveled extensively, for extended periods in Kenya, Hungary and Communist Poland on missionary trips, visited Communist East Germany with the Boy Scouts of America, as well as enjoyed time in France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Holland and Austria. Since embracing Islam, Iesa was asked to be the founding Executive Director of CAIR-Houston, where he served the community from 2002 to 2006, he has completed the Hajj pilgrimage, participated in an interfaith pilgrimage to the Holy Land with the Society for Biblical Studies and completed a study abroad program on the history of Islamic Spain, Morocco and Andalusian Philosophy with the University of Houston. Iesa's education is rooted in History and Public Relations and he has a interfaith and multiracial background.

62 Comments

62 Comments

  1. Ibn Masood

    November 10, 2009 at 7:03 AM

    Assalamualaikum

    Juding from the news reports out so far…. I’d say this whole thing is being overblown. It seems more like a case of stress + depression making a person snap.

    I hope that Muslim organizational condemnation of the incident hasn’t accidentally given this story a ‘Muslim edge’. They should investigate the Major’s use of any psychotropic/depression drugs as well.

  2. Hassan

    November 10, 2009 at 7:19 AM

    About the media restraint, I do not know, perhaps I am pessimistic, but the restraint seemed like formality till they are going to reveal the obvious. I mean I had not a slightest doubt that the shooter was going to be any other than muslim.

    Every news organization knew the name, and they knew they are going to have fun with it later, so just to show professionalism, they showed restraint.

    • Iesa Galloway

      November 10, 2009 at 8:21 AM

      That is exactly the point, if indeed for some the media restraint was a formality… why was there at least not some due diligence on the part of our organizations? Also while they had a name given to them it should be respected that some source wanted to confirm the name prior to releasing it.

  3. Taimoor

    November 10, 2009 at 7:29 AM

    We have forgotten that these innocent soldiers were being sent to Iraq to kill radical Muslims. So, the radicals are at war with the innocents.

    • Mountaineer

      November 12, 2009 at 2:38 AM

      I have no idea why you’re being voted down bro.

  4. Mahmud

    November 10, 2009 at 8:02 AM

    Seriously, do you wish to come out as a balanced just individual? Or are you bent double on pandering to how the media and people perceive you?

    “Murderous spree”, “unfortunate reflection upon the Ummah” are but a few comments which allows you to surreptitiously project your position on the reader while preventing anyone to discuss those positions. If you REALLY wanted to deal with HOW muslims deal with the media and HOW to be effective spokespeople you would have removed all your emotional rhetoric – but in reality you know you are just voicing your opinion under the guise of a more intellectual discourse.

    And isn’t it very ironic that you talk of HOW as Muslims we should effectively address the Media and our different audiences and yet you do not address the very audience you condemn. Your injustice will inevitably fail and so will this da’wah and personally and sadly, I hope it does because this version of Islam where da’wah and Muslims living in the West are the banners to justify anything and everything coming above basic aspects of our belief is as extreme as the very people whom you condemn.

    Perhaps your extreme methodology is worse because as Malcolm X once said, “They come to you like the Angel but they are just the Devil in disguise!” – my meaning being that the ideological warping of our Deen for the selfish purpose of self-preservation is perhaps more dangerous than seeing a real gun pointed to your head – one danger you do not readily see the other is clear and visible – so which extreme is more dangerous?

    In my opinion yours along with the rhetoric that many of the speakers from Muslim matters, Al-Maghrib and other institutes comes out with.

    If you want an honest discussion, you got to come across as honest, otherwise its like the Americans being the mediators between the Israelis and Palestinians – that farce even Non-Muslims can see clearly – I hope in your desperate attempts in self-preservation haven’t blinded you from that now too?

    In closing my heart goes out to the families of the victims of this tragedy – this tragedy where Muslims are oblivious to how Islam has been warped to fit our comfortable lives, rather than our lives to fit al-Islam; where lies are disguised as truths; where cowardice is disguised as valour; and where extremes are disguised as moderations but in reality they are just aberrations! I pray Allah guides us all in this time where we are at a loss for words. Amin!

    • Iesa Galloway

      November 10, 2009 at 8:53 AM

      Asalaam Alaikum Mahmud,

      Seriously, do you have a problem with the phrase “murderous spree?” What else would you call it when an individual shoots enough people to kill 13 and wound over 30?

      The quotes you chose to reveal what you assume are my intentions and are not even a part of my article. They are the comment policy for this thread.

      You misquoted the second one to boot. Leaving out the key phrase “‘some in our‘ Ummah” which is an obvious and weak attempt to spin the intent of the comment moderation policy and to magnify your attack as if your position — which by the way you have not presented — represents “the Ummah’s.”

      What is very obvious is that you have an ideological bone to pick with everyone that doesn’t agree with you. Taking out the words “some in our Ummah” divides the community and prevents real dialogue as it try’s to dishonestly paint the brother/sisterhood of Islam as a monolith.

      “If you want an honest discussion, you got to come across as honest.” I do not know about your intentions but I wrote this with both my first and last name. I did more than “come across” with honesty… if you don’t like my ideas that is fine, disagree and make your points, however, don’t think it is enough for you to try and read between the lines and find my true intentions… I write what I mean and mean what I say.

      On the other hand you have attacked on conjecture and even told me I condemned some audience?

      I think you should spend more time thinking through your comments before you post them and what position you are attempting to advocate for. It will be far more effective than a emotional outburst. I say this as you said “we are at a loss for words” and quite obviously you are not.

      In hopes a productive discussion the topic of this thread is again: how separating Islam and Muslims is important in public dialogue and how it is especially important in condemning on behalf of Muslim communities.

  5. MM Associates

    November 10, 2009 at 8:34 AM

    My personal feelings about the incident:

    I think the media actually handled the situation pretty well, especially CNN. They didn’t play up the religious angle as much as they could have. Look, the guy was a Muslim, and reports indicate he did have radical religious views. Yes, there were some in the media who acted in a dumb way–such as Fox and Friends–but overall, I must say that the media acted responsibly this time around, and we should credit them for that instead of always being negative. So brother Iesa, I don’t think your post overpraises the media at all; I think if anything it is an understatement.

    Also, your article seems to be critical of CAIR’s response, although I may have misunderstood what you were saying. I think CAIR responded in an excellent way. Their statement was prompt and it was widely reported in the media. That’s very important.

    I am also a bit critical of the response by the Muslims more than the media. But alas, that’s not a popular thing to say nowadays, since we Muslims love to criticize and blame others for everything, without thinking maybe there is need for self-improvement. True well-wishers of the Ummah would not fear to criticize it!

    -J.Hashmi

    • Iesa Galloway

      November 10, 2009 at 9:20 AM

      I was not pointing at CAIR in specific, but the bulk of our organizations from national to local.

      I am also not trying to say no part of the responses were beneficial.

      What I am questioning is the condemnation as a Muslim (why…? We should respond to the public by holding ourselves to the VERY same standards other communities operate under) or on behalf of Islam (Who speaks for Islam?).

      And that is my main argument; the notion that we should be separating the terms Islam and Muslim in the public dialogue.

      Agreed it is unpopular to try and improve by looking at OUR faults, always has been… but, “descent is patriotic” or as the Hadith goes:

      Tamim ad-Dari said that the Messenger of Allah said, “The deen is nasiha (good counsel/sincere conduct). The deen is nasiha. The deen is nasiha.” They asked, “To whom, Messenger of Allah?” He said, “To Allah and His Book and His Messenger and the Imams of the Muslims and the common people.”

      And the hadith: “A believer is a mirror to his brother. A believer is a brother of a believer: he protects him against any danger and guards him from behind.”

    • Dawud Israel

      November 10, 2009 at 1:33 PM

      From what I understand, the reason the media handled it *well* was because now they expect this from us. Its almost become routine for the media to malign Muslims they can only do it so many ways and hatred can only last for so long before its strength dissipates.

      Fear-mongering of Muslims is often worse, because it can be played with and blown up, than when Muslims actually do something crazy- then its just news, not propaganda.

      But of course, its pretty bad for us Muslims…

  6. Abu Rumaisa

    November 10, 2009 at 9:39 AM

    I would help if Muslim org can explain why this is being condemned in detail. That would help everyone more, especially Muslims.

    “Clearly, condemning the killing of unarmed people in a non-combat situation is the right thing to do.” I would agree with that but I would be delusional if I actually believed that’s how modern warfare is fought! Do US forces wait for insurgents to arm themselves before targeting them! They are targeted in their bases, homes, etc.. where ever they can find them.. & I would say they not doing anything wrong when they do so!

    • Ahmad AlFarsi

      November 10, 2009 at 9:45 PM

      Don’t forget his covenant, by virtue of his being allowed to live in America, not to cause harm to Americans (civilians or otherwise) and to abide by the laws of the land (whether that covenant was explicit or implicit/customary). The same covenant would apply to anyone with a US passport/citizenship or visa (i.e. everyone in the country).

      Muslims are not allowed to be treacherous. The soldiers thought they were safe from him, and he betrayed the trust (recall that all trusts are sacred in Islam).

      I don’t think the issue here is that he attacked civilians (because he didn’t, except for one civilian police officer), but rather that of treachery and betraying the trusts. Muslims are not allowed to be treacherous or betray their trusts. Imam Suhaib covered the shar’i aspects of this issue pretty well on two posts, here and here

      • Abu Rumaisa

        November 11, 2009 at 10:59 AM

        I completely agree with u and Jazak’Allah khair for the links to Imam Shuaib’s articles. That’s the kind of condemnation I wanted to see.

        I have a question regarding breaking of covenant, is spying allowed in Islam?

    • Yusuf

      November 18, 2009 at 1:33 AM

      To be truthful, in an ideal situation when done by the rules, yes. The individuals have to show the intent, and the ability to do harm to the individual, Law of Armed Conflict, Use of Force pyramid etc. Cover these actions, one who operates outside of these rules can be prosecuted under the Military Uniform Code of Military Justice. As I have witnessed first hand.

      I guess I should give a little background: I am a Muslim in the US military, I originally joined to support what was happening in Kosovo, when the Clinton adminstration provided aid to the Muslims that were facing genocide at the hands of the Serbs, that is where it started, anyway, I am with the Military Police and have apprehended people involved in some use of force violations-so ideally yes, there is something in place for that, is it always followed? No, just like everything in the world, there are people with issues that transgress.

      I had spoken with numerous people within the Muslim community on the eve of my second deployment to Iraq to train Iraqi police. My intent was always to provide a link between the American forces and the local community, to educate both sides-and to know if there is a Muslim amongst the forces that the forces would be able to understand, and thereby show more respect to the Muslim community.

      Sorry for straying from the main topic, just wanted to respond to the above and got carried away with it(i will use the “It’s my first post, excuse”:)

      • Amad

        November 18, 2009 at 1:56 AM

        Thank you Yusuf for sharing.

        What you mentioned gets completely missed by most people… in fact, it didn’t hit me until your comment either, that there are Muslims who may have joined to help both their country and their fellow Muslims, as in Bosnia/Kosovo and perhaps even in training Iraqis… i.e. in some sense, defensive roles, rather than offensive.

      • greentea

        November 23, 2009 at 6:22 AM

        Salam. Your intention is good akhi. But your involvement places you and Muslims in harms way. You represent a nation that is illegally occupying another nation and perpetuates war with another nation. In this there is no doubt. The American message is fake and is riddled with false valor. The real product of this design is that Muslims are fooled to think their presence is going to reduce the harm for Muslims in Iraq. We know this is untrue. Any American that claims to have good intentions while playing a role with a military has simply a narrow understanding of this War.

        Your presence perpetuates the ugliest design of modern day colonization. You are treated like a priest trying to teach the savage how to live in the new world. That’s euphemism for western hegemony. Muslims in Iraq are not weak ya akhi. Getting out will likely result in civil bloodbath, but in the long run it’ll allow people to determine what is right for them. Vietnam is a fair example.

        America’s message is a pretty deceptive message; it tries to create a phony halfway point: we are there to help people, but we won’t tolerate giving them rights of self-determination or sovereignty. P.S. we need to control oil. No deal my friend. Get out while you can. You’ll do more good by staying out of this war. You cannot help your country (terrorist state) by occupying another land. The logic is simply self-serving.

        Stick to the principle of Ends don’t justify the means. Your noble end is simply not justified by means of illegal military occupation. Salam

        • Yusuf

          November 23, 2009 at 5:38 PM

          Sorry this is a tad long-winded.

          The US does have a horrible track record in the arena of occupation/subjugation and colonialism. I will not disagree with that. Everything from the concept of Manifest Destiny, the Monroe Doctrine, written primarily to maintain a sphere of interest in the Western Hemisphere, to the invasion and occupation of the Philippines just among the few instances of true colonialism in action. However I will disagree that the US occupation of Iraq contains any of the trappings of prior occupations. Many will say, well the US wants to exploit the natural resources of Iraq, which as we know is an indicator of the concept of colonialism. However, in June 2008, Iraq was on the verge of two year support contracts from major foreign oil companies, the key is these support contracts would have allowed Iraq to keep and nationalize the Oil industry. Certain key people in the government, mainly the Shia that were involved in the Oil Ministry objected to this, because of the tag word “Foreign”, the short sightedness exhibited ultimately led to the bidding process by foreign entities on the development of the fields themselves. Why? During the Summer of 2008, the Iraqi government had the money to pursue this plan, with the rising prices of Oil decided instead of investing more in the Oil infrastructure, they raised government employee wages as well as hiring more government bureaucrats, a scratch my back, I scratch your back scenario developed. So basically, if the US’s primary interest was stealing the oil away, then they Iraqi government would never have been given the chance to develop their plan that far, they dropped the ball. Another trapping of colonialism is forced conversion either to a cultural or religious norm. We have not seen the pursuit or even a inkling of this in Iraq.
          So yes, Oil figured into it, but not in the colonialist mentality of “let’s steal it for ourselves and get rich off of it”, But more along the lines of maintaining the global economy, and the horrible concept of capitalism, not justification at all, and I have no issue with calling it an illegal war, which we agree on, but I disagree with it being labeled colonialism in its traditional sense and colonialism being the reason for the occupation.
          America did pursue an illegal war; there is no question about that, but I also believe it would be irresponsible for American to pursue an all out withdrawal without trying to support and build up Iraq’s infrastructure.
          I think it is almost a western guilt mentality. For instance, Afghanistan/Russia, the US contributed arms and money to the Mujahedeen struggle against the communists. Using them as pawns in the Cold War, once the smoke cleared and the battle was won, the US support vanished leaving the Afghan people without a functioning economy, infrastructure, education system, etc., and not just the United States, the majority of countries after they were cured of their Red Scare panic stopped all aid to Afghanistan.
          Now you said “The real product of this design is that Muslims are fooled to think their presence is going to reduce the harm for Muslims in Iraq. We know this is untrue.” On a daily basis, individuals do make a difference. This is something I have witnessed firsthand through multiple deployments to Iraq, I have been able to maintain a bridge and defuse many situations that could have ended up badly for both parties. You won’t read about it in the news, and the media will regulate it to the last pages or minutes of a broadcast, because “feel good” news does not equal ratings in the eyes of the mass media.
          The comparison of Vietnam and Iraq are two totally different situations. With Vietnam you had one prevailing agenda, Communism. With Iraq, you have multiple agendas being pursued by different aspects of the population. The concept of an immense civil conflict occurring once all forces leave Iraq is a myth. That concept is what has kept forces in Iraq for so long, I believe the worst is over, and that is why all Combat forces have withdrawn from the cities, and are only allowed to embark on missions with the implicit permission of the Iraqi government and in conjunction with Iraqi Security Forces.
          In the end I enjoy the dialogue and seeing other’s opinions in regards to this “issue”, and I enjoy reading opinions that do not automatically go to the “What you are doing is Haram”.

  7. ibnmasood

    November 10, 2009 at 10:39 AM

    CAIR has been in this business long enough. They knew they needed to give a statement especially given that a Muslim name has been revealed, but CAIR has also condemned other atrocities that did not have any link to Muslims. For example, they condemned the Virginia Tech shootings (if I’m not mistaken) which had nothing to do with Islam/Muslims. CAIR faces a lot of heat for being linked to radicals, so it’s important for them to clarify their position immediately. If they even hesitate even for a moment, it would be noted as tacit approval. Therefore, I disagree completely with your suggestion to wait for facts to come out before responding. I think it is only right that we condemn what is condemnable to clarify that we are furthest from what they associate with us. Even the Prophet (saw) clarified that he was with his wife to a group of passer-bys in order to dispel any doubt. He didn’t wait until these people started making faces or whispering things, to the best of my knowledge. Likewise, it’s important for us to clarify our stance, especially since there is an obvious doubt in the hearts and minds of the public about what Muslims really believe, especially about a situation like this.

    • MM Associates

      November 10, 2009 at 10:51 AM

      I agree with you 100%.

      Just to be clear, I love brother Iesa’s writing and I didn’t mean to be too critical, but I do agree with you (brother IbnMasood) on this point. No matter which way you sliced it, the shooting was bad, so CAIR had a duty to respond promptly with a statement.

      -J.Hashmi

      • Iesa Galloway

        November 10, 2009 at 11:13 AM

        Asalaam Alaikum,

        Please do be critical! On topic constructive criticism is what this post is all about.

        To be clear, I was not focusing on CAIR. I am speaking to CAIR and ALL of our organizations.

        I agree CAIR and the community HAD/HAVE to respond. What I am saying is condemning in the name of Islam is problematic. (It associates Islam with the action or confirms to doubters that Islam is questionable in terms of the issue being condemned)

        Condemning as a Muslim is a step in the right direction. (Still leaves the viewer to seeing Islam and Muslims as problematic as it only safeguards the individual or group that did the condemnation and leaves the rest of the Ummah under suspicion en-mass)

        Condemning as a concerned human being is better. (Critics of Islam allege that Muslims basic humanity is corrupted because of Islam. In other words normal people are not fanatics… Islam makes/encourages people to become one)

        Acting with compassion as a human who happens to be a Muslim is best. (America has had much better (read effective) preachers, spin doctors and advocates than we currently offer. What people respect is sincere, authentic action and that is what made Islam spread so far and wide during the early generations)

        Action, I believe is closest to justice and compassion.

        Doing the right things consistently leads to creditability.

        Credibility leads to effective advocacy and more importantly to real long term results and Dawah.

        In summery: we are not going to win people over with only statements. Statements however ARE important and should be done on the most basic level with your target audience in order to have the most in-common with them.

        JazakAllahu Khairan for the chance to have positive dialogue on the issue.

        Iesa

        • ibnmasood

          November 10, 2009 at 4:06 PM

          I’m not sure I agree. Even Muslims who view the American army as agents of oppression and injustice needed to know why this incident was wrong, and why we as Muslims who care about actually following the tenets of our faith are not weak hypocrites if we wholeheartedly disagree with the actions of this criminal. Otherwise, when radicals say the end justifies their means, Muslims and non-Muslims might actually think they are representing the non-apologetic, non-wishy-washy, non-scared-of-the-West version of Islam. We need to be strong in our arguments to show that indeed they are the ones who are doing disservice to their faith, not us.

          • Iesa Galloway

            November 10, 2009 at 4:25 PM

            GREAT points!

            I do not think that your comment and separating Islam and Muslims weakens those points… I believe the opposite is true, it strengthens them.

            When you tell a Muslim who did something wrong, that the wrong action does not represent Islam, that it represented ONLY their own self. You are telling them in the strongest possible terms that it did not follow the tenets of our faith.

            Those who accuse others of being scared of the “West” rarely in my experience know anything about who they are talking about. It is played out here at MM all the time. We have so many articles about injustice against Muslims yet every time we speak against terrorism we are labeled negatively in-spite of all the other works.

            I firmly believe that ones comments against another reflect more on the commentator then on the other person.

            I also believe that if no one is mad at you, you are not making a difference, and when people who hate Islam and people who take extreme positions in Islam are against you then insha’Allah you may be on the straight path.

            Allah hu Allim and may Allah guide us all to what is best!

            Iesa

  8. Dawud Israel

    November 10, 2009 at 1:15 PM

    Salam aleikum,
    If I may I wish to share what I believe to be a big reason why this stuff happens…

    I think its grossly overlooked how little Islamic education (whichever institute, really) IGNORES real and difficult topics of concern. No one teaches exactly what Jihad is– or its place in Islam, probably for fear of being maligned by the government as a terrorist, they simply use slogans- and so this leaves open audience to radicals (orchestrated by shaytan) to play on Muslim discontent, frustrations, and anger to make jihad, whatever they want to make of it and use it to their own egotistical ends, ultimately destroying the honor of the Muslims. The other choice is you can follow the mainstream Muslims and live peacefully, (which we should) who nonetheless more often than not, and lets be frank, have no idea what they are talking about. So in the eyes of a Muslim, especially practicing Muslims who doesn’t know much about Islam and is just totally tired of this circus- who has more credibility to their own concerns: the big-bearded (and therefore pious-looking) radical dude or the chillaxed Muslims? I’m just showing you the thought process here…how we think, not how we should think.

    One Canadian brother I know talks as if there as a conspiracy among the shaykhs to hide certain aspects of Islam and to hide certain types of knowledge, especially that which relates to jihad. This is a very honest feeling I know he expressed, probably because of Anwar al-Awlaki’s website’s influence, despite me recalling the hadith from Abu Hurayrah about it being an obligation to share all the knowledge he knew (except the names of the hypocrites). So our teachers need to keep these emotions and the inferiority complex Muslim have developed, in mind and make them part and parcel with a discussion on jihad- and would have to be a discussion on tazkiya, the Seerah on dealing with humiliation and learning self-control.

    – edited, off topic…

    If we are to approach these issues- its a delicate matter, better to inform the authorities we will be teaching what Islam TRULY says on these things and they are free to come and observe (or let their Muslim spies do it). It should be an academic discussion- not a show-and-tell kind of talk to white-wash or dilute Islam. Islam’s beauty will be clear for all to see, we need not be so lacking in confidence about our deen.

    • Iesa Galloway

      November 10, 2009 at 2:38 PM

      Education is key, absolutely!

      In your intro explaining the the thought process it should be clear that the “the big-bearded (and therefore pious-looking) radical dude or the chillaxed Muslims” is of course a false dichotomy.

      You are very correct in that the world needs to understand that Islam has a “Just War Theory/Doctrine.”

      What I would point you to though is research by Dalia Mogahed for Gallup and research done on suicide bombing that clearly show that it is NOT Islamic creed and belief that motivates the bulk of terrorism, suicide bombings or most militant expressions but political motivations like as mentioned “emotions and the inferiority complex Muslim have” and “Muslim discontent, frustrations, and anger.”


      That is why religious education is vital, but at best a weak solution to the problem.

      Again that is a reason why separating Islam and Muslims as well as being careful in condemning the actions of Muslims is so important.

      Iesa

  9. Dawud Israel

    November 10, 2009 at 1:24 PM

    Many thinkers were anti-semitic or even full blown Nazis, but their ideas were important and valuable that even today they are not censored.

    Question is: Is al-Awlaki’s work valuable or replaceable? Should we so quickly distance ourselves from him considering the questionable nature of his alleged website?

    • Iesa Galloway

      November 10, 2009 at 2:16 PM

      Dawud,

      JazakAllahu Khairan for bringing the topic back to the articles intent. Distancing ourselves from something (out of a PR need) is similar to the political motivations behind some condemnations.

      The Triumph over Terror, Interfaith Statement helps address this.

      Separating Islam and Muslims in the public discourse actually minimizes the representative ability of a Muslim to be seen as supported by the whole Ummah. It forces the market place of ideas to work better, in that the strength of a position becomes more relevant than the one advocating it…

      Also because it hinders one individual’s, one organization’s or even one movement’s ability to portray Islam it makes the legitimate positions more readily identifiable through forcing their advocates to use academic proofs, scholarly consensus and finally mass acceptance.

      “And Sufyan (also) told us from `Abd Allah ibn Abi Labid from `Abd Allah ibn Sulayman ibn Yasar from his father, who said: `Umar ibn al-Khattab (Allah be pleased with him) made a speech at al-Jabiya in which he said: The Apostle of God (Peace be upon him) stood among us by an order from God, as I am now standing among you, and said: Believe my Companions, then those who succeed them (the Successors), and after that those who succeed the Successors; but after them untruthfulness will prevail when people will swear (in support of their saying) without having been asked to swear, and will testify without having been asked to testify. Only those who seek the pleasure of Paradise will follow the community, for the devil can pursue one person, but stands far away from two. Let no man be alone with a woman, for the devil will be third among them. He who is happy with his right (behavior), or unhappy with his wrong behavior, is a (true) believer.'” (see also Musnad al-Shafi’i, vol. 2, pg. 187; and Ibn Hanbal, vol. 1, pg. 112-13, 176-81).

      • Dawud Israel

        November 10, 2009 at 2:38 PM

        Excellent points!!!

      • saleem

        November 12, 2009 at 12:19 PM

        Great response.

        We need to stand as a community

        edited…

  10. Ibn Abid

    November 10, 2009 at 3:58 PM

    I don’t think we Muslims should be giving “apologetic” responses for crimes that a minority among us are to be blamed about. Just as I don’t think today’s white Christians should be apologizing for slavery even though at one point they were trying to justify slavery via the Bible. It was done by a certain at a prticular time and they are responsible for it. Similarly these horrific acts are done by a specific few and they should be punished harshly! I still think we should wait until we get to hear what the suspect actually has to say in his own words before we pass judgement on him as to exactly why he did what he did. As far as reporting crimes from Muslims against non-Muslims is usually more reported and given attention then vice versa just as Whites committing crime against Blacks is given more attention than vice versa and this is just a type of hypocrisy of the media in all parts of the world where the majority is given prefernce over the minority. A.K.A it’s just bad for business for media to make the majority of its people not look victimized. And as a matter of fact Muslims DO speak out against these attacks and condemn them but the media refuses to cover them! Why don’t the media take cameras to the Friday sermons that millions of Muslims go to every week and record and broadcast there condemnations. Why dont’ then medias go to the Islamic conferences where they condemn these attacks?! The media simply refuses to cover us Muslims when we do condemn them. So us Muslims are not silent we do condemn the killing of innocent people. Yes a few Muslims are killing innocent non-Muslims but this doesn’t mean the opposite is also not true. Actually if we take the statistics of murder in general in America alone, then more people are being killed by non-Muslims. There is a hypocrisy in the media going on where a certain “image” is executed for a specific goal. And this is true for all media in general whether a Muslim or a non-Muslim nation where the majority is preferred over the minority.

  11. danyal khan

    November 10, 2009 at 5:08 PM

    “Non-combat situation”? I understand that training before the deployment of forces within a Muslim country is combat. However, I think our approach should be to address the incident from a point-of-view of binding contracts in Islam rather than trying to explain the fiqh of the situation. Is a Muslim, who has enlisted into the American military (or any other kuffar military for example), allowed to break his contract signed before becoming part of their military by violating any of its conditions?

    I simply can’t evisage how a Muslim can justify participating in non-Muslim armies who are constantly and consistantly engaged in fighting Muslims in any part of the world at any given time. I know the scope of this discussivethread is limited due to the political and social sensitivies at the moment, but I hope MM will provide more substance to the debate rather than generalise and sweep through the very real concerns and questions that this incident raises.

    • Iesa Galloway

      November 10, 2009 at 5:27 PM

      Non-combat equals unarmed people not engaged in fighting…

      Muslims in the armed forces is a good topic and there is a lot to be discussed about serving, conscientious objections and more.

      However, please do not blame MM for the topic I choose related to this incident. My background is in Public Relations and activism. I believe that the strategies behind our proactive and reactive work on behalf of the community is incredibly important and a very real concern.

      So the discussion is limited because of the topic I choose and NOT due to political and social sensitivities.

      I will keep the discussion focused. So in any replies please make it relevant to how separating Islam and Muslims is important in public dialogue and how it is especially important in condemning on behalf of Muslim communities.

      Unlike other topics how we frame our positions is something we can actually influence and improve.

      JazakAllahu Khairan,

      Iesa

  12. Tayyab

    November 10, 2009 at 8:27 PM

    All I can say is whatever the right answer is, this criminal and his evil ideology and all of those who have given encouragement to such warped thinking has caused headache after headache for Muslims around the world. How many innocent Muslims will now be discriminated against because others are angry at what this guy did? How in any way did what he did help us? If you even think what he did was justified religiously, it is tactically insignificant and stupid. And for those of us who live in the real world, we are now left with the reality and mess this criminal created. Isn’t it amazing that the country and people that this butcher and his hypocritical brethren hate so dearly is giving him medical care and protecting him. His own kind kill innocent women and children in masajid, forget about non-Muslims.

  13. Abdullah M

    November 11, 2009 at 4:02 AM

    It is a staggering thing to see, the highly placed and pervasively visible, going on and on about the fall of The Berlin Wall with no mention of the wall that surrounds Palestine. It is amazing to see so many unnamed mouthpieces mentioning that the Fort Hoodwink psychiatrist was a regular at a strip club. Some of the details mirror those made after 9/11 about Mohammed Atta and friends in Florida. This was around the time they were visiting Israeli bagman, Black Jack Abramoff on his gambling boat; as reported by the FBI.

    It is amazing to hear that this psychiatrist had ancient links to ‘so-called’ 9/11 terror mosques and radical Imans. It is completely amazing that a non combat, medical officer could shoot nearly 45 people on a military base with an automatic handgun and a revolver.

  14. Alex

    November 11, 2009 at 6:37 AM

    I was looking through the web and I finally a normal moslem/muslim website. I live in the South where anti-islam sentiment is high. I was just looking for the mainstream opinion on this to show some of the ignorant people that I know Islam is about, peace, brotherhood and goodness.

    It looks like Mr. Galloway, Mr. Amad, and Mr. Shaykh Yasir Qadhi are the organizers of this site, I think? I, on behalf of other Americans in my community ( Some of whom I have to prove your not all terrorists to on a daily basis LOL), ask that you please pray for the deceased soldiers ( I am assuming Islam believes in heaven?)

    Can anyone of you say a prayer for them or in Islam is it only the Shaykhs or imams or what not? It would be greatly appreciated.

    Alex

    • Iesa Galloway

      November 11, 2009 at 9:19 AM

      Dear Alex,

      Thank you for your kind words. And yes, anyone can pray to God directly – that is the whole message of our religion! May the souls departed find justice with their lord… and may He grant comfort and guidance in this time of confusion to the family members. May those who inflict unjust killings – whoever they may be and wherever they inflict their injustices – be given what they deserve.

      Iesa

    • Ahmed

      November 11, 2009 at 10:12 AM

      Hi Alex,

      That would be interesting if the UK’s Mr. Galloway was an organizer on MuslimMatters :) To my knowledge, you’re right about Sh. Yasir Qadhi and Mr. Amad being some of the founders/counsel to this website.

      Yes, as others have stated, in Islam, any person can pray to God without an intermediary (priest, imam, whatnot). If you’re looking for things to show to co-workers and such, here’s some “mainstream” Muslim groups and their press releases on the shootings:The Council on American Islamic Relation’s (CAIR) condemnation of the shootings, as well as the Muslim Students Association National branch’s statement.

      • Ahmad AlFarsi

        November 12, 2009 at 6:51 AM

        Dude, you’ve got your Galloways all mixed up :) …

  15. muslim sister

    November 11, 2009 at 7:05 AM

    there is a tendancy to outdo each other in finding words to condemn the action to the media. I know it is impossible to please everyone, and the thought is not to be an armchair critics of muslim orgs. but merely to offer some advice in calibrating our language, even when condeming things.

    e.g. using the word “unforgiveable” for the act . it is not unforgiveable. If the victim’s family does not find forgiveness in their hearts yet, that is understandable. If he is put to trial, found sane, guilty and punished, fine – that is accountability.

    But most of us did not have family members murdered in that act. And, we are religious people following a religion of mercy. Mercy and forgiveness is for when people mess up – you don’t have to be perfect to receive mercy and compassion. There is tawbah, there is lack of accountability when insane, compensation for victims, etc. Allah SWT can forgive anything except shirk. Umar (ra) buried his own daughter alive with his bare hands! Ours is a religion of second chances.

    So while we condemn the rampage , let us refrain from some forms of dramatic language that again casts muslims and islam in a light that is very severe and unforgiving and revengeful.

    • greentea

      November 11, 2009 at 7:24 AM

      Well said.

      • Iesa Galloway

        November 11, 2009 at 9:30 AM

        Well said indeed!

        Please do let us know which organizations used “unforgivable” in their statements as your point is excellent.

        JazakAllahu Khairan,

        Iesa

        • muslim sister

          November 12, 2009 at 6:43 AM

          Here’s the statement…

          “In the Name of God, The Compassionate, The Merciful

          FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 11/5/2009

          The All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) condemns the cowardly and unforgivable attack at Fort Hood and expresses heartfelt condolences to the victims and their families….”

          the rest at http://www.adamscenter.org/Media/PressReleases/P21.aspx

          As mentioned in the original post, this is not to pick on muslim organizations but to advise to choose our words even more wisely….

          Note the irony of starting in the name God The Compassionate, The Merciful and then saying this was unforgivable.

          An excuse I can find is they might see a distinction between forgiving the attack, versus forgiving the person. “Unjustifiable” might have been better. We justify actions, but we forgive people. But people reading this press release will not ponder it that deeply.

          Conclusion:, a poor word choice that reinforces negative stereotypes about muslims, and does not reflect the mercy of Islam.

  16. Bahader

    November 11, 2009 at 8:30 AM

    Salamo aleikom!

    I dont know why Yasir Birjas or Yasir Qadhi … or other speakers with knowledge haven’t addressed this issue..

    So frustrating when I think about it.

  17. Amad

    November 11, 2009 at 8:45 AM

    Excellent post on Gawker… highlighting how the radicals from both sides feed each other (also goes to highlight how Awlaki’s message is being fully exploited by the neocons and Islamophobes to maximum political and incidientary use):

    How the Ft. Hood Shooter Brings Radical Clerics and Right-Wing Nuts Together

    • Hassan

      November 11, 2009 at 10:50 AM

      Slightly off topic, but I have noticed that over the years, you have downgraded the status of Anwar Al Awlaki (and hence I also for this comment). He went from Shaykh to Imam to now just being Anwar and radical.

      So what is the process of elevating a person to Shaykh and then bringing him down?

      • Amad

        November 11, 2009 at 11:12 AM

        Good question. Probably the same process as some one becomes an Imam for the Ummah, like the 4 imams… people gravitate en masse to someone, he garners respect from even opponents, and his knowledge & taqwa become obvious… When a person falls off the pedestal, I reckon the opposite occurs.

        As for radical, it’s quite simple… when your views become radical, you have taken on a position of a radical Muslim. Since this post isn’t about any personalities, I think we are digressing.

        I would like to mention that MM in general would like (and is working towards) the strategy of establishing fundamentals and principles, and let these principles be the coordinates for those who are sincere, to establish for themselves, who is radical, who is moderate and who is progressive. May Allah help our shayookh to start working on those soon :)

        • Hassan

          November 11, 2009 at 11:38 AM

          That would be extremely nice.

          Although he is/was good speaker, but his resume was never impressive in academic way..

  18. Hassan

    November 11, 2009 at 11:41 AM

    As muslims we follow Islamic laws, regardless of circumstances, and law dictates not to kill/murder people that are not expecting it from you. The soldiers were not in battlefield anyways.

    Rest shyookh can clarify

  19. MB

    November 11, 2009 at 12:28 PM

    I’m not so sure about the media discipline.

    If you define this sort of thing as “disciplined:”

    From Fox:
    In an interview with US Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), Fox host Shepard Smith asked: “The names tells us a lot, does it not, senator?” “It does,” Hutchison replied. “It does, Shepard.”

    • Iesa Galloway

      November 11, 2009 at 4:35 PM

      I saw a similar clip as well… My comment was that the initial reporting a was restrained. Once the name was made public FOX went out of their way to highlight it in many of their programs…

      The clips I am speaking about were before this one as they interviewed the Senator many times… Hummm wonder who FOX wants to win the Gubernatorial race in TX?

      Anyway, my point is this, EVEN waited for confirmation (others didn’t) so why didn’t or community organizations wait before condemning it as Muslims?

      Again, the need to separate Islam and Muslims is key here…

      Iesa

  20. Mazen

    November 11, 2009 at 1:26 PM

    I’m not exactly the most knowledgeable Muslim, but I think there’s a serious issue with even needing to address the media and with the double standards being propagated in the world today.

    When a Christian commits an act of murder, terrorism, or goes on a shooting spree… you don’t exactly see the churches and Christian organizations across America needing to run around and condemn these acts of violence. People don’t point their finger at the churches and say why hasn’t the Christian community denounced these actions! Yet, as Muslims… we’re expected to run around condemning Muslims who’ve gone wrong?

    Why do Christians not need to denounce these acts? It’s because Americans know that this is not Christianity and that this person happened to be “off his rocker.” American’s need to be taught Islam and to understand it. One of the challenging issues that does need to be addressed is the issue of Jihad, which is being swept under the rug by so many – the result of which is leading to confusion among lay Muslims and Americans.

    While I feel like we shouldn’t have to denounce these actions, because it should be implicitly understood by society that this is wrong, I do believe we need to denounce these actions because of the widespread confusion relating to Islam.

    Furthermore, the reality is that Allah has commanded us as Muslims to command the good and forbid the evil… not just with respect to Muslims, but also with respect to non-Muslims. If we feel the need to condemn acts such as Nidal Malik’s shooting spree as Muslims, then the simple fact is that we should condemn the acts of every shooting spree just as much to get our point across. Muslims need to be outspoken against acts of violence like this in general and not only when something happens that’s relating to a Muslim.

    This illustrates the need not just for PR… but for serious education about Islam and for serious talks about Jihad. If people understood Islam as it really is, it wouldn’t be an issue. We need to stop being reactive and we need to start being more proactive. Always being on the “defensive” is not the way to correct people’s understandings. We need to start an educational offensive to help correct people’s understanding, not just Americans but Muslims as well.

    While I may not be the most knowledgeable of Muslims… I do understand the importance of following the Quran and Sunnah –> Can anyone even find an example in the Seerah, or from the era of the 4 Caliphs, where Muslims were peacefully allowed into a non-Muslim lands and then the Muslims essentially committed acts of “justified” dishonesty, murder or theft? I have not been able to find one yet, but again.. I’m not the most knowledgeable. However, I think that incha’Allah speaks for itself.

  21. Baasel

    November 11, 2009 at 6:13 PM

    As salamu akaykum everyone,

    Linda Heard, who writes for Middle East affairs on gulfnews.com, writes in her article “Muslims need not be apologetic” says “Nidal…whatever the motivation…American Muslims are under pressure to condemn the attack, which Christians and Jews are never required to do when one of their co-religionists turn to violence. I don’t recall Irish Catholics having to dissociate themselves from Oklahoma bomber Timothy McVeigh, for instance…”

    If I may, I’d like to ask the shayukh on here a sincere question. When Rasul’Allah salalahu alayhi wasalam saw mistakes by the people engaging in fighting, did he condemn them or did he advise them? As we openly “condemn” certain actions BY NAME, would we openly “support” certain actions BY NAME? (I.E. if a resistance movement was struggling to push out foreign occupier). It has been on my mind every since the “condemning phenomena” that’s been going on lately. I realize I may be a little aggressive in my question. I apologize, Jazak’Allah Khair in advance.

    Lastly, regardless, every Muslim and non-Muslim will hear about the Fort Hood shootings. You know what they don’t hear about though? Abeer Qasim Hamza, the mahmudiyah killings, Haditha, Blackwater, and Fallujah. Allahu Alim. What should the Islamic response be towards U.S. aggression? Isn’t it a myth that this war started on 9/11? Pre-9/11, the CIA had been overthrowing regimes and installing brutal dictators from day one. The U.S. has been installing military bases all over the earth using puppets they support, and they’ve been starving Iraq with sanctions. And when we have a civil war to overthrow the tryants, we’re regarded as barbarians. Yet I don’t remember anybody interfering in the U.S.’ bloody civil wars. Next time, can we do Istikhara before condemning anybody….?

    As salamu akaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatahu

  22. Hicham Maged

    November 11, 2009 at 6:34 PM

    Although I am not surprised by the media reactions which seem “Islamophobic”, I find that the condmenation was important to clarify the reality since we are aware about the both stereotyping and misunderstanding towards “Islam” and “Muslims” that lasted for many decades and escalates after 9/11.

    On the other hand, since this happended in USA, it was rational and logic that organisations inside to clarify this because wether he did it for mental-illness or believing in radical thoughts or even has connection with radicals, he’s Muslim in the eyes of Media that play well of this point and media do affect people’s perception now-a-days more than the past era.

    p.s. I would like you to check Daryl Cagle’s cartoon entitled “My Muslims Condemning Violence Cartoon” which I liked it in the matter of fact.

  23. Ibn Masood

    November 11, 2009 at 11:42 PM

    Assalamualaikum

    I was just forwarded this:

    http://www.examiner.com/x-23316-Madison-Independent-Examiner~y2009m11d10-Ft-Hood-Official-story-full-of-holes

    Maybe you guys would like to go over it and even post it with permission from the author?

    • antiextremist

      November 12, 2009 at 12:23 AM

      some so called independent blogger is now being cited as credible? ha…maybe it wasnt nidal – maybe it was the columbine shooters

  24. MacWell

    November 12, 2009 at 6:52 AM

    Mazem stated: When a Christian commits an act of murder, terrorism, or goes on a shooting spree… you don’t exactly see the churches and Christian organizations across America needing to run around and condemn these acts of violence. People don’t point their finger at the churches and say why hasn’t the Christian community denounced these actions! Yet, as Muslims… we’re expected to run around condemning Muslims who’ve gone wrong?

    Sir? it’s very easy to explain. Christians, and the Christian religion don’t preach murder of those who don’t agree with them. Further, the Bible rallies against lying, whereas your (holy book) declares the usefulness of lying to infidels. So Mazem, while your, and your brothers here and elsewhere condemn this barbarian for his actions, with a wink and a nod, we don’t believe a word you say. Now, you might think that’s unfair, but, you have no one else to blame but yourselves, your religion, and your leaders. One more thing?, the next time you hear of a Christian shooting up some bank, or 7-11, he would have to shout something like, “Jesus saves”, for the Christian community to condemn it in the same manner. I, for one, have never heard of someone doing that.
    If any of you here would like to discuss it further, I’d be happy to. I’ll save the remind me when someone follows up to this post. Do any of you enlightened ones want to test me?

    • Iesa Galloway

      November 12, 2009 at 4:39 PM

      Dear Grand Mufti MacWell,

      Thank you so much for teaching us what our religion is all about… to think without you (a non-Muslim) to correct us on what we actually believe in, we would have missed the message of embracing lying and murder…

      I was a tad tempted answer your comment by asking how many non-Muslims have “gone postal” and we never heard about their faiths’ being highlighted or abortion clinic bombings — among any number atrocities — that are committed in the name of religion.

      However, I am not only bound by my own comment policy to keep the discussion focused on the point of this article — which seems like you did not bother to read in the first place — I am convinced that my time with you would have been fruitless as the obvious answer to Mazem’s question is that Americans have an idea of what Christianity is and what it is not through participation, education or interaction.

      The topic of this thread is: how separating Islam and Muslims is important in public dialogue and how it is especially important in condemning on behalf of Muslim communities.

      I am leaving your comment up for two reasons:

      1) You started out on topic
      2) To let others who wish simply to start a mudslinging fight between communities of faith know that I will not let my article be a forum for that.

      While it may satisfy your ego to yell at us and claim that our faith has more blood on its hands than yours… save it and your off topic baiting for the plethora of hate Islam and hate Muslims websites out there.

      Your approach demonstrated that you are not interested in any of the roads to understanding previously mentioned (participation, education or interaction) however, I would like to take this opportunity to invite you to Islam (participation) by you becoming a Muslim, or to recommend authentic literature on Islam (education) or to help assist you in locating a Muslim in your area (interaction) to dialogue with (email our general account if interested).

      When you are ready for mature, honest and constructive discussion you are most welcome to comment until then we do not need your hate driven attempts at hijacking the discussion or bullying our readers.

      All the best,

      Iesa Galloway

  25. Joachim Martillo

    November 12, 2009 at 11:18 PM

    When I first heard the story of the shootings and Nidal Hasan’s background, the most consistent parts suggested (and still suggested) a disturbed or more likely depressed medical professional, who has been self-medicating and probably aggravating his condition: Fort Hood and Self-Medication. The mainstream media have barely touched on the topic.

    More information seems to be coming out in support of psychotic episode: Hassan’s Supervisors Worried He Was Psychotic Before Rampage. (I have to wonder whether they thought he was psychotic like MASH Corporal Klinger, who was faking a psychological disorder in order to get out of the army and who was of Arabic extraction.)

    The treatment of the Fort Hood story indicates pervasive Islamophobia, bigotry, and prejudice throughout the media. Contrast the treatment of Hasan with the Hijab Killer Alexander Wiens, who has a very high probability of Jewish ancestry. As far as I know, I am the only person that has tried to investigate is life in Perm: Probable Jewish Extraction Hijab Killer.

  26. Pingback: C L O S E R » Blog Archive » Closing the week 46 – Featuring Fort Hood and Nidal Hasan

  27. Umm Bilqis

    November 14, 2009 at 5:45 PM

    Assalamu alaikum. I noticed that a gag order has been placed by admin about how we feel about certain issues. May I make a suggestion. How about unplugging mainstream news? If you rely on other sources this will be just another incident that happened and you have the choice of not commenting, not condemning not standing in support of or against the issue. Sometimes when you are gagged or feel fearful of the opinion of others you can remain silent?This allows us not to mess around with issues of Al Wala wal Baraa. Some shaik once said that the fiqh of minority populations is always weak and lenient.
    To look at the reasoning behind the entire incident is difficult because we don’t know his mind frame nor his niyaa. However for myself, to paraphrase Malcolm X,( as a field mouse Somali sister),I don’t feel like,” what’s the matter boss We sick?” but feel if the boss caught a cold I hope it finishes him.!

    • Iesa Galloway

      November 15, 2009 at 11:52 AM

      Asalaam Alaikum Sister,

      Interesting perspective… I believe it is unrealistic to not comment on major news issues although it would be immediately convenient, the long term results would be very troubling. Look to the pre-9/11 Muslim community. Nearly completely isolated, with nearly no relationships with not only other faith communities, but nearly no relationships with virtually any institution that influenced our lives. For instance, it is disturbing how many Muslim parents TODAY send their kids to public schools and make no effort to get to know their child’s teachers, the administration of the school or even be aware of the material in their studies…

      This is not at all an issue of “We sick?” it is an issue of protecting your rights, being a positive force in the societies we live in and more importantly preserving your values… (If we truly have a higher moral standard, we should be calling others to that standard…)

      The point is that the motivations/reasoning behind this and many similar incidents are irrelevant. What is relevant is what we as a community do not what one individual does.

      About the idea of a gag order… there is a difference between encouraging an “on topic” discussion and a full out gag. Every reader can easily find a forum discussing any number of topics. My suggestion is comment on the topic, and/or empower yourself and write your own piece and/or go to a platform that is discussing the angle you want to discuss… This goes back to the “We sick?” idea… Malcolm X, preaching self segregation was tolerated… Al Hajj Malik Shabaz was martyred when he called on people to positively affect their environment by leaving racism and to seek true empowerment. Of course this was AFTER he found the healing of Al Islam and left the black power movement of the nation.

      • Umm Bilqis

        November 15, 2009 at 5:41 PM

        Assalamu alaikum brother,
        Jazak’Allah Khairan, for responding, point taken about the gag order issue. I’m afraid that you misunderstood my post I am not advocating self segregation nor pointing out to Malcolm’s stance on that issue, but rather questioning why organizations have to respond to this issue in the way that they did?I think we should engage in discussions on issues that are out there but not necessarily every issue out there. Get what I mean? Perhaps this would have been a good time as some people in our community suggested to hold mainstream media accountable for bringing his religion into the issue! Some have but not enough, I saw more non muslims doing that as well. I agree with you about the muslim families not knowing about their kids homework etc, I’m an advocate for homeschooling and I believe In engaging the non muslims primarily for dawah purposes. In regards to Malcolm’s statement, I was pointing out that I dislike that army, I think they are demon spawn.

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