Jamal Dajani: Don’t ask me about Hasan or why he did it

Apparently, I fit the profile of someone who has these answers: I am a Muslim Palestinian American: I must know what one out of the 1.5 billion Muslims around the globe is thinking at any given time.

“Hey, Jamal…sorry to disturb you so early. But you know the Hasan story is big, and I was wondering if you’re willing to come for an interview and talk about how it feels being a Maahzlem (Muslim) and all,” a television producer says to me on my cell.

“How did you feel being a Christian, with Timothy McVeigh and Adolf Hitler being Christians?” I fired back.

Silence… I probably should not have said that, but there it is.

Hasan is a coward…not only for committing this heinous act, but for counting on being killed or taking the gun on himself, leaving behind his family and the entire Muslim community to account for his despicable actions.

The Left needs to realize Islamists are its foe too. Respect Islam, but not Islamists. Do not try to justify or excuse Hasan’s actions. Just because wingnuts may use these hideous events as a pretext for political gain does not mean liberals must automatically take the other side or somehow try to explain Hasan.

(The Communist Party of Iran supported the Ayatollah when the revolution started. After the Ayatollah seized power, about the first thing he did was kill the communists.)


  • DJ

    I have no idea why Hsan did it, either. But I can see the direction the media is taking this:

    AP reports that Hasan told classmates he was a Mulsim first and an American second– like that’s a bad thing, like that makes him an extremist. On the contrary, I would suggest that one’s deepest beliefs ought never be sacrificed to nationalism. If you’re a Christian, for example, but willing to put your nation ahead of the teaching of your religion, you’re not much of a Christian. (Many early Christians were executed because they refused, even under penalty of death, to join the Roman military.)

    The issue is not whether religious belief comes first– it must– but the nature of those beliefs. Hasan believed the war on terror is a war against Islam. At least one Pentagon general has said so, too. So does that make Hasan an extremist, or just a troubled man who could not live with the paradoxes of his life?

    We may never know the answers– not because the answers aren’t there but because the press already has the answer it wants us to have. The pattern of lonely man, son of immigrants, friendless, relocated multiple times, harrassed for their country of origin, has become all too familiar in these cases. But that doesn’t sell papers. A religious extremist in the army does.

    • All true. But many in the military have similar backgrounds (and get along fine). Hasan became an extremist when he pulled the trigger. Multiple witnesses said he was yelling ‘Allahu Akbar” while shooting. He may have just been a deranged loner twisting religion to justify his madness. But if links to extreme Islamist groups / terrorists are found, then this will go nuclear.

  • DJ

    Yes it will– and that’s my point. The media WANTS to hang the extremist label on him, even with the smallest bit of evidence, because it neatly explains many things, sells papers/airtime, and creates fear in people’s minds. “We’ve been infiltrated!” That way we don’t have to look at (1) why do so many Muslims see this as a war against Islam, and (2) why are there so many castouts pulling the trigger? Both of these ate questions we don’t want to ask because they go to the root of the rottenness of our political and economic system.

    Maybe he was a legitimate extremist who infiltrated the army. (Seems unlikely.) Maybe he cracked under the pressure of conflicting loyalties. It’d be nice to know the TRUTH, not the spin that sells airtime (and protects our precious self-image).

    • This country does get way more than its shre of lone deranged gun men, that’s for sure. At this point, I don’t think anyone knows why he did it.

  • DJ

    My prediction (not a long shot): there will be two schools of thought. The Right will blame religious extremism or Islam in general (depending on how far right they are), and the Left will blame guns. Neither will choose to look at the pattern of outcasts turning to violence, and more specifically how the structure of our society promotes it. That’s just too scary– we might learn we are complicit.

    And Sue has made the observation in the past that it’s always males who do it.

  • Sue

    Yes, my solution is “ban males” — which is as likely and effective a solution as the Right or Left has put forth.

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