Saturday, November 07, 2009

'For the Love of God, Can We Leave Religon Out of This?'

The gunman in the Fort Hood massacre hollered "Allahu Akbar!" before embarking on a bloody rampage that left more than a dozen dead, an onlooker told investigators.

"We do have a witness who reported that," Col. John Rossi said Friday morning.(“Gunman in Fort Hood shooting, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, shouted 'Allahu Akbar' before deadly attack”).

Several witnesses reported the same thing, actually. This much was known early yesterday.

Today’s Detroit News article (“Islamic community voices outrage over mass killings”) this morning started out this way:

Dearborn -- Metro Detroit Muslims struggled with dual angst Friday after the deadly shooting rampage at Fort Hood -- outrage over the attack and fears that a backlash will dismantle years of progress toward better understanding of Islam.

(The print edition headline of this article followed the national media memo of “Local Muslims brace for backlash.”)

But the article nowhere describes any “outrage over the attack.” I guess that’s the difference between reporting and journalistic suggestion: reporting tells you what the facts are and gives you the details, and journalistic suggestion tells you what they want you think the facts are, and counts on you not to notice there aren't any details.

No, there are no examples of outrage, unless you count official pronouncements (and I don’t count them) from the usual Muslim groups that scrambled “to denounce the shootings and to reiterate that their religion stresses peace, not violence.”

What we get instead of voicings of outrage at the shootings are the rationalizations from Islamic spokesmen that have left so many of America’s nonMuslims completely skeptical of Islam’s motives.

Victor Begg, of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan, didn’t sound too outraged at Maj. Hasan. He saw the real tragedy here that yet another example of cold Islamic brutality toward nonMuslims sets back “all the hard work we do” to convince the rest of us that Islam is not a religion of cold brutality toward unbelievers.

Osama Siblani, as editor of The Arab-American News was in a prime position to express “the Islamic community’s outrage” over the Ft. Hood shootings, but instead he only complained that “he’s getting threatening e-mails.” The lesson of Ft. Hood, apparently, is that Muslims aren’t safe.

Siblani also stressed that, “We need to focus on the cause of all of this and not the ethnic background of this person.”

Except no one cares about Hasan’s ethnic background, except where it's been a clue to his possible religious affiliation, for, let's face it, obvious reasons. As for Siblani’s suggestion we should focus on the cause, I couldn’t agree more. I say “Allahu Akhbar!” is an important clue.

Then Dawud Walid, whose weekend of rallies against the FBI over Imam Abdullah's death was spoiled by all this, also forgot to voice the outrage of the Islamic community.

"This (Fort Hood) crime was heinous,” said Walid, “but there are heinous crimes committed all the time and the assailants' religions aren't brought into play. That seems to be the case for American Muslims."

Good point, as usual. When suicidal nihilists, unemployed divorced guys, or sexual maniacs commit mass murders, the murderers’ religions aren’t brought into play, because the murderers generally leave religion out of it.

But when an assailant hollers “Allahu Akhbar!” before he begins his mass killing, he’s sort of making his religious motivation unavoidable. Unavoidable, that is, unless you’re the Army brass or the FBI, who spent all night Thursday trying, unsuccessfully, to get Hasan’s Muslim religion back out of play.

Tarek Baydoun, third-year law student and Dearborn Islamic spokesman-in-waiting, managed a few words about how the Ft. Hood attack was “horrendous.” But then he weakened it by assuming, as the lawyers like to say, facts not in evidence. The shooting, while "outrageous," he said, “has nothing to do with religion. It was strictly criminal.”

To exclude religion so forcefully at this stage seems a bit premature. Or delusional. Based on what limited, but undisputed, facts we know as of now, Baydoun may as well claim the Ft. Hood shooting had nothing to do with firearms. Witnesses and victims didn't only hear shooting, you see--they also heard Hasan yell “Allahu Akhbar!”

But then Baydoun isn’t trying to defend handguns. He’s trying to defend the religion of peace.

1 comment:

jiggy with it said...

no more white tiled gas station! gonna be all gone soon!