“I understand how soldiers can snap.”
I heard this from several people yesterday – all civilians who are respectful and supportive of those who serve our country and protect our freedom. If there’s one image that has been seared into our heads in 21st Century America, it’s that of the rigorous training and dedication it takes to become an American soldier, and yes – there are cases where the wrong individual just loses their mind to the pressure, ending in bloody tragedy.
This is not one of those occasions.
Nidal Malik Hasan planned this. This was not a random “he snapped and went temporarily insane”. Hasan secured enough ammo for his weapons and loaded up his pockets with them. He gave away his furniture and belongings, telling people he would be deployed on Friday, November 6 (he wasn’t scheduled for deployment to Afghanistan until November 28). In other words: he knew he wouldn’t be coming back.
But beyond the simple decision and plans of this monster, we must not allow ourselves to take part in the fantasy that says his ideology and religion have nothing to do with this event.
Is it politically correct to say that Islam teaches that it’s OK to kill infidels? It’s not politically correct – but it IS the truth, and despite all the caterwauling from those who should know better, no, Christianity and Judaism have no comparable belief. There is nothing in the Bible that is comparable to these Koranic passages:
Those who believe fight in the cause of Allah, and those who reject Faith Fight in the cause of Evil: So fight ye against the friends of Satan: feeble indeed is the cunning of Satan. (4:76)
You will find others who desire that they should be safe from you and secure from their own people; as often as they are sent back to the mischief they get thrown into it headlong; therefore if they do not withdraw from you, and (do not) offer you peace and restrain their hands, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them; and against these We have given you a clear authority. (4:91)
So when the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captives and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush (9:5)
O you who believe! fight those of the unbelievers who are near to you and let them find in you hardness; and know that Allah is with those who guard (against evil). (9:123)
In case you’re wondering, no… those aren’t out of context. There’s entire passages about how to slay the infidels and force them into submission (which, incidentally, is the actual translation of “Islam”), and it’s not unreasonable to believe that Hasan, described as a “devout Muslim” by his imam, allowed these passages and his religion to play a key role in his decision to kill 13 and wound over 30.
And no, not all Muslims take this passage seriously. Just like plenty of Christians realize that Christ wasn’t being literally serious when He said “if your hand offends you, cut it off”, most Muslims do understand that the context of these passages is from a time when war was a more active element of life, and that slaying the infidels today is neither productive, recommended, nor consequence-free.
BUT – those passages, and their rewards, are still Islamic scripture – the word of Allah via Muhammed via whoever wrote it down for him. And no, we simply cannot allow ourselves the luxury of the fantasy that his religion is an innocent coincidence.
Nor can we allow ourselves the fantasy that his political ideology plays a role. Hasan is opposed to the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. His long career in the military has been completely stateside, until recently when he was ordered to deploy to Afghanistan. He didn’t want to go because, according to military records, he didn’t believe we should be at war in those countries, anyway.
Making the political decision to be anti-war does not necessarily mean you’re anti-violence, and there’s more than one case of an anti-war zealot using violence to try to shift the political winds of this country: people who decide that the use of violence is justified in their attempt to stop a war (who ironically miss the concept that the war itself may be justified for the exact same reasons), and Hasan seems to be one of these.
Again – we cannot allow ourselves the fantasy.
This man is a monster, but monsters don’t just “happen”. There are elements of nurture and nature that play significant roles in their development, and Hasan’s religion and political ideology are pieces of his puzzle.
And yet – while we wonder “what made him do it”… we must not forget that the reasons behind his actions are secondary to the fact that dozens of families and individuals lives are changed forever. I cannot imagine their pain. I don’t want to. But I can share those tears I have. I can look to my own faith – my belief that the perfect love of God is bigger than this fallen, hateful, sin-filled planet – and know that even in the midst of this tragedy, His Grace and Love are there with those who’ve lost so much. There may never be answers, but there is a Comfort.
Sadly, there are those who will minimize – and have minimized – this event, and who do not understand the depravity and loss. They will make no connection between this man’s ideology and religion and his decision to exercise his beliefs in the bloodiest extreme. They should be ashamed.
They won’t be.
They should be.
Read Full Post »