Soldier Shot for Religious, Political Reasons

Abdulhakim Muhammad, an American Muslim convert who fired an automatic weapon into a US Army recruiting center in Arkansas, has said that he did so because of the US military’s past actions against Muslims.  His barrage killed one soldier and wounded another. 

Muhammad, whose original name was Carlos Bledsoe, said his actions were

for the sake of God, for the sake of Allah, the Lord of all the world, and also a retaliation on US military.

According to the news report, Muhammad

wanted revenge for claims that American military personnel had desecrated copies of the Koran and killed or raped Muslims.

He said the U.S. military would never treat Christians and their Scriptures in the same manner.

The most recent allegation of abuse of the Koran was the US soldier who used the religious text for “target practice” in 2008. 

Prior to that, allegations about desecration were in a Newsweek article that was ultimately retracted, though it still resulted in violent protests around the world.  A US military investigation ultimately found that there were five instances of “mishandling” of the Koran, none of which were malicious.  By contrast, there were 15 incidents in which detainees themselves “mishandled” their own Korans.

Muhammad’s comparison with “Christian scriptures” is hardly valid, given that there is no doctrinal belief in Christianity that Bibles require sacred handling.  Thus, the “mishandling” at Guantanamo, which included guards “touching” the Koran or placing it on the floor, has no comparison in Christianity.  Muhammad also misses the obvious “scandal” that was just recently in the press, when the US military admitted to confiscating and destroying Bibles.

President Obama’s treatment of the attack has been derided in some circles, particularly when compared with his response to the murder of abortion provider Dr. George Tiller.  Of note has been the speed with which the administration responded to each event, as well as the semantic differences in the statements.

As noted, one soldier was killed and one wounded.  The wounded soldier, Private Quinton Ezeagwula, is undeterred, he said, because “I like defending this country.”  His mother said her family is Christian, “and we believe when something happens, God will turn it around,” and good will come of it.