What to do with Nidal Hassan?

The man accused of killing 13 people and wounding 29 others at Fort Hood is able to talk, according to the Associated Press, but it’s not known when investigators will be able to ask Nidal Hassan what prompted him to commit mass murder?

For now, officials are saying he acted alone, but they’re trying to determine whether he had any prodding from Anwar al Awlacki, a cleric who once ran an Islamic Center in Virginia, and who posted this on his Web site today:

How can there be any dispute about the virtue of what he has done? In fact the only way a Muslim could Islamically justify serving as a soldier in the US army is if his intention is to follow the footsteps of men like Nidal.

The heroic act of brother Nidal also shows the dilemma of the Muslim American community. Increasingly they are being cornered into taking stances that would either make them betray Islam or betray their nation. Many amongst them are choosing the former. The Muslim organizations in America came out in a pitiful chorus condemning Nidal’s operation.

The BBC’s Gavin Lee went to an Islamic Center near Fort Hood and found at least one man who agrees:

That audio is being widely circulated on the Internet, but the entire interview — available here — reveals that most of the people Lee talked to were sympathetic to the victims of the massacre.

The young Muslim’s reaction reminded me of a young man’s reaction in Minneapolis on September 12, 2001. “I just think we get what’s coming to us,” he said. “I have a lot of negative things towards the government. It just shows that we’re not as powerful as we think.”

The young man came in for relatively little criticism from the MPR audience, and no one suggested he spoke for anyone but himself.

In any event, the military is clearly worried that the relationship between the military and its Muslim members is going to get worse. “If our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that’s worse,” Gen. George W. Casey Jr. said on Meet the Press on Sunday.

The military might even have a bigger problem: How to deal with Hasan and not make him a martyr in the process.

  • Tyler

    I feel the same way about this as I do in regards to “hate-based” crimes – prosecute the act, not the motivation.

  • robert.moffitt@alamn.org

    That’s MAJOR Hassan, and his fate is in the Army’s hands.