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Radical Muslim Ideology Underlying Cause of Fort Hood Massacre

By Tawfik Hamid
Wednesday, 11 Nov 2009 08:49 AM Current | Bio | Archive

After the heinous attack at Fort Hood, many questions were raised about the underlying cause of the atrocity.

Some pointed out that the Muslim background of the suspect, Mr. Hasan, was the motivating factor, while others presented the case suggesting that being ‘teased’ for being a Muslim and the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were trigger factors for the massacre.

If an external factor provoked a different response in one group of people compared to others, then it is more likely that there is an underlying cause in the former that explains such a difference. So, if the external emotional or political factors were the true cause of the atrocity at Fort Hood, we would expect that these factors will produce the same response in all humans irrespective of their faith.

Basic observations of the responses of Muslim populations to insults, critiques, and to political situations in the last few decades clearly demonstrate that there is an underlying factor in Muslim societies that predisposes many of them to react in a violent manner.

Let us just examine the difference in responses between many in the Muslim world and people of other faiths when both are exposed to trigger factors:

People identified as Muslims committed terrible atrocities that included killing innocents, burning places, and many other barbaric acts as a reaction to the following "triggers":

  • Publication of Danish cartoons of Prophet Muhammad

  • Critique of Islam by Pope Benedict XVI

  • Comment about Prophet Muhammad by a journalist in a beauty queen event in Nigeria provoked extreme violence and a Fatwa to kill the journalist

  • Publishing a book that was perceived as critical of Islam by Salman Rushdie

  • Rumors of U.S. military personnel insulting the Quran

    On the contrary, many non-Muslims were exposed to much more distress yet they did not react in the same manner:

  • The Jews were put into ovens during the Nazi era and are currently called “pigs and monkeys” in several parts of the Muslim world, yet we have not seen the Jewish people beheading the Germans or exploding themselves to kill innocents all over the world.

  • Some Christian minorities who live in some Muslim majority countries have had their churches burned, their priests killed, their religion insulted, and they suffer from different forms of discrimination, yet they do not attack innocents as a result.

  • Many Buddhists in Afghanistan and Bahia in Iran suffered from severe discrimination from the Islamic systems, yet we have not seen any of them killing their fellow innocent human beings to revenge this discrimination.

    The difference in response to the external triggers strongly supports the view that an underlying factor in radical Muslim societies is the main cause of such a violent reaction.

    In other words, why does teasing or insulting or a political situation provoke such barbaric responses in devout Muslims at a global level but do not provoke similar violent reactions in the followers of other faiths who are exposed to much more injustice and prejudice?

    Since humans are born equal, the difference in responses in these situations is likely to be caused by differences in their religious education or ideological factors. These educational or ideological factors must be addressed in an honest manner to avoid further calamities and to protect young Muslims from the damaging effects of these forms of teaching.

    Some may argue that if religious education was the main cause behind these atrocities then why do most Muslims not react in a violent manner while other Muslims do? The answer to this question is that this difference in response within Muslim populations can be due to one or a combination of the following factors:

    1. Lack of exposure to the same form of religious education

    2. Lack of exposure to the same trigger factor

    3. Lack of sufficient religious motivation or courage to perform an action that may threaten their personal life

    4. Different ways for expressing violence such as a father killing his daughter because she was “too westernized," indiscriminate killing of non-Muslims, beheading innocent people, preparing a terror act, and suicide bombings

    In addition, if we accept the concept that teasing and insults can justify such a level of barbarism, then we should ask ourselves: Will we also justify the situation if non-Muslims started burning mosques in the U.S. and engaging in killing innocent Muslims as a response to the discrimination they have in some parts of the Muslim world?

    Since it is practically impossible to stop all possible trigger factors, it is extremely important to treat the underlying cause of the problem (or the form of religious education Muslims receive) that leads some Muslims to react in such a violent manner.

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