SUDDEN JIHAD OR "INORDINATE STRESS" AT FORT HOOD?
By Dr. Daniel Pipes
The establishment – law enforcement, politicians, the media, and the academy – stands on one side of this debate, insisting that some kind of oppression caused Major Nidal Malik Hasan, 39, to kill 13 and wound 38 at Fort Hood, Texas, on November 5, 2009. It disagrees on the specifics, however, presenting Hasan as the victim alternatively of "racism," "harassment he had received as a Muslim," a sense of not belonging," "pre-traumatic stress disorder," "mental problems," "emotional problems," "an inordinate amount of stress," or being deployed to Afghanistan as his "worst nightmare." Accordingly, a typical newspaper headline reads "Mindset of Rogue Major a Mystery.".
Instances of Muslim-on-unbeliever violence inspire the victim school to dig up new and imaginative excuses. Colorful examples (drawing on my article and weblog entry about denying Islamist terrorism) include:
1991: "A robbery gone wrong" (the murder of Makin Morcos in Sydney);
1994: "Road rage" (the killing of a random Jew on the Brooklyn Bridge);
1997: "Many, many enemies in his mind" (the shooting murder atop the
Empire State Building);
2000: A traffic incident (the attack on a bus of Jewish schoolchildren near
2002: "A work dispute" (the double murder at LAX);
2002: A "stormy [family] relationship" (the Beltway snipers);
2003: An "attitude problem" (Sargent Hasan Karim Akbar's attack on fellow
soldiers, killing two);
2003: Mental illness (the mutilation murder of Sebastian Sellam);
2004: "Loneliness and depression" (an explosion in Brescia, Italy, outside a
2005: "A disagreement between the suspect and another staff member" (a
rampage at a retirement center in Virginia);
2006: "An animus toward women" (a murderous rampage at the Jewish
Federation of Greater Seattle);
2006: "His recent, arranged marriage may have made him stressed" (killing
with an SUV in northern California)
Additionally, when an Osama bin Laden-admiring Arab-American crashed a plane into a Tampa high-rise, blame fell on the acne drug Accutane.
As a charter member of the jihad school of interpretation, I reject the victimhood and oppression explanations as weak, obfuscatory, and apologetic. The jihadi school, still in the minority, perceives Hasan's attack as one of many Muslim efforts to vanquish infidels and impose Islamic law. We recall a prior episode of sudden jihad syndrome in the U.S. military, as well as the numerous cases of non-lethal Pentagon jihadi plots and the history of Muslim violence on American soil.
Far from being mystified by Hasan, we see overwhelming evidence of his jihadi intentions. He handed out Korans to neighbors just before going on his rampage and yelled "Allahu Akbar," the jihadi's cry, as he fired off over 100 rounds from two pistols. His superiors reportedly put him on probation for inappropriately proselytizing about Islam.
We note what former associates say about him: one, Val Finnell, quotes Hasan saying, "I'm a Muslim first and an American second" and recalls Hasan justifying suicide terrorism; another, Colonel Terry Lee, recalls that Hasan "claimed Muslims had the right to rise up and attack Americans," the third, a psychiatrist who worked very closely with Hasan, described him as "almost belligerent about being Muslim."
Finally, the jihad school of thought attributes importance to the Islamic authorities' urging American Muslim soldiers to refuse to fight their co-religionists, thereby providing a basis for sudden jihad. In 2001, for example, responding to the U.S. attack on the Taliban, the mufti of Egypt, Ali Gum'a, issued a fatwa stating that "The Muslim soldier in the American Army must refrain [from participating] in this war." Hasan himself, echoing that message, advised a young Muslim disciple, Duane Reasoner, Jr., not to join the U.S. Army because "Muslims shouldn't kill Muslims."
If the jihad explanation is overwhelmingly more persuasive than the victim one, it's also far more awkward to articulate. Everyone finds blaming road rage, Accutane, or an arranged marriage easier than discussing Islamic doctrines. And so, a prediction: what Ralph Peters calls the Army's "unforgivable political correctness" will officially ascribe Hasan's assault to his victimization and will leave jihad unmentioned.
And thus will the Army blind itself and not prepare for its next jihadi attack.
© Daniel Pipes 2009
Originally Published in Front Page Magazine, November 9. 2009
Republished with the Permission of Daniel Pipes
Reprinted from the Daniel Pipes Mailing List, November 9, 2009
Article URL: http://www.danielpipes.org/7737/sudden-jihad-inordinate-stress-ft-hood
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Author or co-author of eighteen books, Dr. Pipes is a regular columnist for Front Page Magazine, the New York Sun, and the Jerusalem Post. His analyses of world trends and of forces and developments in the Middle East have appeared in numerous North American newspapers, including the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. He frequently appears on American network television, as well as at universities and think tanks, to discuss the Middle East, Islam, and the Islamist threat to the U.S.A. and the West. He also has appeared on BBC and Al Jazeera, and has lectured in approximately twenty-five countries.
Dr. Pipes is a Polish-American Jew whose parents fled Poland in 1939, immigrated to the U.S.A., and assimilated well into
American society and culture. His father is Richard Pipes, an American historian specializing in Russian and Soviet history
and serving as Professor of History at Harvard University from 1950 until his retirement in 1996. During the Cold War, the
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