US Soldier Kills Comrades in Texas

Though there has been little official confirmation, multiple media outlets have reported that the Soldier who opened fire in a pre-deployment facility at Fort Hood, Texas, was Major Nidal Hasan, an Army psychiatrist most recently stationed at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC.

An undercurrent of religious association has already started, despite the fact that there is not yet any indication that Hasan acted for ideological reasons.  To this point, his story is one of contradiction.  Some news sources are reporting on his devout Islamic background, though others note his dog tags listed “No Religious Preference.”  He apparently hired a lawyer to try to get out of the Army, citing harassment for his religious faith, though he entered the Army out of a sense of duty to country.  He also apparently opposed the ongoing wars, though there is not yet any public evidence to suggest he did so for religious reasons.  American news sources tended to note allegations that he posted on extremist websites, while al Jazeera ignored those and focused instead on combat stress and Army suicide rates.

Also, despite the lack of evidence of religious motivation, American Muslim groups have publicly condemned the shooting.  Their perspective is that the mere perception of Islamic association may be sufficient to incite a backlash against Islam.

Similar to what those groups had to say, there is no religious justification for the murderous violence at Fort Hood; in addition, the actions of one religious adherent do not justify characterizations of a religion as a whole.  In addition, while speculation is tempting, judgment should be reserved until the facts are known.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families, as well as those in harm’s way downrange who now worry for the safety of their families back home.  May God watch over them and their families.