“We don’t know all the answers yet, and I would caution against jumping to conclusions until we have all the facts,” said President Obama with regards to Nidal Malik Hasan’s motives in murdering thirteen people last week. So maybe President Obama and his press secretary won’t acknowledge that Nidal Malik Hasan is a terrorist, but that is no excuse for members of the mainstream media who are ignoring this facet of the recent Fort Hood shooting.
“We have not established a motive for the shootings at this time,” CBS5.com quoted Army Criminal Investigative Command spokesman Chris Grey. ABC News defends Hasan, quoting only officials who can’t quite discern Hasan’s motives yet. Dr. Phil was apparently appalled when a guest mentioned Hasan’s religion. At Time Magazine, they’re blaming Hasan’s shootings on “stresses” and the fact that his parents died and no girl would marry him.
While it is true that as far as we know, Hasan had a sad life and is not connected with a larger terror cell, these facts does not preclude him from committing acts of terror. Indeed, anyone at all could potentially commit an act of terror at any time, regardless of communication with Osama bin Laden or any other radical leader.
However, Hasan actually did have contact with radical leaders, including one Anwar al-Awlaki. He and al-Awlaki went to mosque together often-al-Awlaki was one of Hasan’s teachers there-and communicated via email on a regular basis. Al-Awlaki’s name should be familiar because he also taught several 9/11 hijackers at mosque-and because after the shootings, he blogged about how Hasan was actually in the right, calling him a “hero” and “a man of conscience who could not bear living the contradiction of being a Muslim and serving in an army that is fighting against his own people.”
Al-Awlaki also claimed, “no scholar with a grain of Islamic knowledge can deny the clear cut proofs that Muslims today have the right – rather the duty – to fight against American tyranny.” These are words from the man Hasan looked to as a teacher and friend. Is it possible that Hasan befriended this al-Awlaki for years and didn’t embrace radical Islamofascist ideals? Certainly. However, is it likely?
Indeed, those who claim that Hasan’s belief in Islam was not a factor in the shootings should remember that Hasan was distinctly heard shouting “Allahu akbar,” or “God is great,” in Arabic, during the attack. This phrase is often yelled by Islamofascists during their terrorist attacks on innocent civilians and American troops. Of course, merely saying “Allahu akbar” does not mean that one is a religiously motivated terrorist; but perhaps when the phrase is uttered during a murderous rampage, it ought to be taken as an indicator of something more serious than “stresses” or the fact that the shooter couldn’t get a date.
Maybe ABC, CBS, Dr. Phil and Time are right: Hasan was just a lonely, stressed guy who suddenly and inexplicably began to murder his comrades. However, we should ask ourselves, do these assumptions even make sense in the context of the shooting and Hasan’s background? And moreover, should such popular news sources completely ignore-and often defend-Hasan’s potentially religious motives?
Perhaps ABC, CBS, and the rest are afraid of the Muslim community issuing a fatwa if they accurately report the truths about Hasan and his radical Islamic background. But they shouldn’t pretend that they’re being objective when they report on the man who just murdered one innocent civilian and twelve honorable soldiers.