By Tanveer Jafri : After Gaining notoriety by the actions of so called ‘jihadist’ and fundamentalist elements, Islam, was once again injured when 39 years old American Muslim convert major in the US army, Nidal Malik, who is serving for last 20 years, opened indiscriminate fire on the soldiers of his own unit, killing 13 of them. Two high rank army officers were also killed in this firing, while 31 people got seriously injured. It is being said that while firing on his colleagues, Major Malik chanted ‘Allah-u-Akbar’ (GOD is great). There were many incidents in America after 9/11, which showed that perhaps the Muslim community is not safe there now. But gradually situation returned to normality and the American Muslims, by again joining the mainstream American life, demonstrated that first they are Americans and then Muslims.
Though during the Bush regime, the hatred at community level was substantially increased. In fact, there were talks about ‘Clash of Civilizations’ between the Islam and the Christianity. But all this debate proved to be a vicious campaign. After 9/11, while the American Muslims were feeling insecure, at the same time, hundreds of Muslim soldiers of the US army were on duty in Afghanistan and Iraq, who were giving the proof of their patriotism while on duty. It is well known that many Muslim soldiers also lost their lives besides the soldiers of other communities in the US army. Among them, most of the American soldiers were practicing Muslims. While the male Muslim soldiers were performing their duty in Afghanistan and Iraq, at the same time many Muslim lady soldiers were also involved in the different missions of the US army.
After the two successive regimes of the George Bush, the people of America not only rejected the aggressive policies of George Bush, they also elected Barack Hussein Obama as their president, who is not only a non-white but also the son of a Muslim father. But the people of America, despite all these facts, elected Obama only because it was frustrated by the aggressive policies of the Bush administration and was in favour of the peaceful policies of Obama. It is obvious that in these circumstances, it can’t be said that America’s non-Muslim people have any negative feelings vis-à-vis the American Muslims. Despite this, there certainly happen some incidents, which produce a feeling that Islam is hurt once again, and that there is another attempt to make Islam doubtful.
The firing by major Malik Hasan Nidal at Fort Hood army base in Texas is a part of such series of incidents. Though the investigation is on regarding either Major Hasan had contacts with Al Qaeda or any other terrorist organization? It is also being investigated either he had links with a Pakistan based terror organization? The enquiry report will be out after some time only. But it is true that being a Muslim major, he was opposed to the American army intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan. He also used to openly criticize the foreign policy of George Bush. It is possible that due to his radical thinking, he couldn’t control himself and committed such a heinous crime. Certainly, the crime committed by Major Hasan not only comes under the category of anti-national act, indiscipline, rather it is also against the Islamic teachings. Islam teaches loyalty towards one’s country and society. Major Hasan’s cruel act can be the result of his own thinking and feeling of intolerance but it don’t represent any Islamic teaching.
As far as such firing within US army is concerned, it is not the first incident. In 1995, Sergeant William Kreutzer indiscriminately fired at his colleague soldiers killing one of them and injuring 18. In March 2003, Sergeant Hasan Akbar attacked an American army base camp in Kuwait by grenades and rifle. In this incident also, one soldier was killed and 14 were injured. In June 2005, two American security officers were killed by staff sergeant Alberto Martinez in Tikrit, Iraq. In February 2008, an Air Force sergeant, Dustin Thorsan killed his son and daughter at Tinker Airbase in Oklahoma. Similarly, in September 2008, Jody Michael first killed Lieutenant Robert Batlet Fletcher and then himself in Fort hood. In the same way, in May 2009, American Sergeant John Russell killed five US soldiers at the Liberty Camp in Baghdad.
All the above incidents are related to the US army. Among these, a Muslim is involved in only one incident, otherwise rest crimes are committed by the non-Muslims i.e. the Christians. No doubt, after the ‘shootout’ by Major Hasan, the traditional and professional critics of Islam are treating it as a weapon to denigrate Islam, but any crime committed by a fundamentalist element & a mentally disturbed person can never be linked to a particular religion. After the incident of Major Hasan, still there are many such Muslim American soldiers who feel proud to be a part of the US army. These Muslim American soldiers are not in a mood to give clarification on the crime committed by Major Hasan. Truth is also that in every community of the world there would be many ‘Major Nidals’ who put religion prior to their duties. But this can be the personal thinking of an individual. How can another person or religion can be responsible for the acts of such person. On this crime committed by Major Hasan, I would just say that the bullets of Major Malik have only injured Islam once again.