[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/CRIME/11/09/fort.hood.shootings/story.memorial.mon.gi.jpg caption="A memorial to the victims was erected at the apartment complex where suspect Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan lived."]
Less than 1% of America's 1.4 million troops are Muslim — and that number is only the military's best guess, since just 4,000 troops have declared their faith in their service records. By all accounts, the percentage of Muslims who are outstanding, competent or misfit soldiers is proportional to that of every other ethnic group. But that logic is increasingly hard to hear in the aftermath of Major Nidal Hasan's killing spree at Fort Hood in Texas.
While the word was merely whispered in the hours following Hasan's rampage, Senator Joe Lieberman, who chairs the Homeland Security Committee, made it close to explicit on Fox News on Sunday. He didn't call Hasan a terrorist, but Lieberman suggested the psychiatrist became "an Islamic extremist" while in the Army and should have been weeded out of the ranks. Ralph Peters, a retired Army officer representing a not-insignificant strain inside the U.S. military, said in the New York Post that Hasan raised all sorts of red flags and that the Army was too timid to address them. "Political correctness killed those patriotic Americans at Fort Hood as surely as the Islamist gunman did," wrote Peters. "Maj. Hasan will be a hero to Islamist terrorists abroad and their sympathizers here."
Determining whether Hasan's actions were inspired by religious fervor (he reportedly said "Allahu akbar" before opening fire), his exposure to the mental trauma of the soldiers he counseled or other unknown factors may be impossible. Hasan is in intensive care at a San Antonio hospital, breathing without a respirator. But given his mental state, even he may not know what caused him to kill.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/11/09/art.octavia.nidal.cartoon.jpg caption="A political cartoon from Jordan's Al-Ghad newspaper claimed that Hasan committed atrocities as a result of American influence."]
Octavia Nasr | BIO
CNN Senior Editor, Mideast Affairs
On TV and among ordinary Arabs and Muslims, condemnation of the Fort Hood attack was front and center. But radical Islamist groups were quick to hail Nidal Hasan as a "hero." On several radical sites, they described the shooting rampage at Fort Hood as "the blessed jihadist attack."
A fundamentalist group even produced a video clip showing images from the shooting aftermath while they played jihadi songs glorifying the act. At the end of the video they displayed this chilling caption in English:
Photos of Major Nidal Hasan, the suspect in Thursday's shooting spree, were flashed on TV screens across the globe. That included Arab and Muslim regions.
Thirteen people died after a mass shooting Thursday at Fort Hood, a sprawling Army post in Texas. Take a look at this gallery to learn more about the victims.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/11/09/cahill.forthood.victim.jpg caption="Michael Cahill survived a heart attack three weeks before the shootings at Fort Hood, Texas."]
Mallory Simon and Jim Spellman
Joleen Cahill had a gnawing feeling in her stomach.
She was at work on Thursday afternoon when she heard a gunman opened fire at the Soldier Readiness Program at Fort Hood, Texas, the same place her husband, Michael Cahill, worked as a physician's assistant.
Immediately, Joleen Cahill searched online to see if her husband was OK, but she found no answers.
She went to her Cameron home, where she and a friend huddled around the television.
"We were sitting at home agonizing," said Cahill's daughter Keely Vanacker. "We were calling every number, nobody could help, nobody could give us an answer."
Cahill tried calling her husband. She got no answer.
"I knew that he wouldn't be able to call us, and I knew just to wait," she said. "I kept hoping that no news was good news."
Most of the world's 1.57 billion Muslims know that the Holy Quran states quite clearly that, "Anyone who kills a human being ... it shall be as though he has killed all of mankind. ... If anyone saves a life, it shall be as though he has saved the lives of all of mankind."
Accordingly, it should come as little surprise to any reasonable observer that when Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan recently committed his shocking acts of mass murder at Fort Hood, Texas, America's Muslim community of over 7 million felt an added sense of horror and sadness at this senseless attack against the brave men and women of the U.S. armed forces.
True to form, many conservative media pundits wasted little time in pointing to reports that Hasan had said "Allahu Akbar" (Arabic for "God is great") at the start of his murderous rampage. News coverage continuously showed the looping convenience store black-and-white videotape footage of Hasan wearing traditional white Islamic garb.
First of all, someone simply saying "Allahu Akbar" while committing an act of mass murder no more makes their criminal act "Islamic" than a Christian uttering the "Hail Mary" while murdering an abortion medical provider, or someone chanting "Onward, Christian Soldiers" while bombing a gay nightclub, would make their act "Christian" in nature.
Fort Hood is a transition point for troops who have served overseas.
The following are locations accepting blood donations to help with the tragic violence at Fort Hood:
1. All Austin Area Seton Medical Centers
* University Medical Center Brackenridge
601 East 15th Street
Austin, TX 78701
* Dell Children's Medical Center of Central Texas
4900 Mueller Blvd
Austin, TX 78723
* Seton Medical Center Austin
1201 West 38th Street
Austin, TX 78705
* Seton Edgar B. Davis Hospital
130 Hays Street
Luling, TX 78648