U.S. Muslims condemn Fort Hood attack, fear Backlash

WASHIGTON – American Muslims were united Friday, November 6, in condemning an attack at a U.S. military base as indiscriminate violence unjustified by any religious or political ideology, fearing a backlash over the incident.

“We make it clearly that the American Muslim community condemns the attack in the strongest possible words,” Nihad Awad, Executive Director of the Council on American Muslim Relations (CAIR), told IslamOnline.net.

"No political or religious ideology could ever justify or excuse such wanton and indiscriminate violence.”

Some 13 people were killed and 30 wounded late Thursday in Fort Hood military base in Texas when army psychiatrist, Major Nidal M. Hasan, opened fire at fellow soldiers.

“The incident is horrific,” said imam Shaker Elsayyed, of Dar Al-Hijrah mosque in Falls Church, Virginia.

“This is a very unfortunate incident and we feel it is very sad that it took the lives of those who protect us and our country,” added Khaled Iqbal, deputy director of ADAMS Islamic center in Virginia.

Hasan, who was born in the US to Palestinian parents, was shot and taken into custody after the attack.

During his army service, he counseled many US soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Having counseled the traumatized soldiers, Hasan, who was to be deployed to Iraq this month, knew all too well the terrifying realities of the war.

“We are deeply shocked of the random killing of service people and civilians who protect us and our country and we are sending our condolences to all families of the victims,” said Ibrahim Ramey of the Muslim American Society (MAS) Freedom Foundation.

“We think it is tragic and we condemn it. There is nothing in Islam that tolerates violence.”

  • Backlash

Fearing a backlash, Muslim leaders warn that the attack should not be used to target the Muslim community.

“We reject the idea that this incident is motivated by a terrorist ideology of a religious community, which is Islam,” asserted Ramey.

He fears that there would be a possible backlash reaction for the incident and the Muslim community will bear the brunt of it.

“We are deeply concerned about that. We ask the government to stand vigilant and protect the community.”

The anti-Muslim reaction for the Fort Hood rampage emerged fast in Texas.

"Jihad at Fort Hood?" read the headline of a post on the Jihad Watch blog, just moments after Hasan was identified as the perpetrator of the attack.

The Arab-American Institute said it received one threatening call from an unidentified male, shortly after reports of the incident surfaced, and the group, which condemned the attack, said it was expecting more.

CAIR scheduled a Capitol Hill news conference Thursday night to urge calm and said it would be announcing publicly any threats they receive as they occurred - in hopes of dissuading people from making them in the first place.

“We are urging the community leaders to take extra precautions to protect their families and institutions from a possible backlash,” Awad, CAIR Executive Director, said.

American Muslims, estimated at between six to seven million, have been in the eye of storm since the 9/11 attacks, having their faith widely stereotyped and their civil rights eroded by anti-terror laws.

“We are also calling for calm and unity,” Award urged.

“We urge national political and leaders and media professionals to help setting that tone in a time of crisis.” [adm/islamonline]

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