Terror at Fort Hood

BY SHIRAZ MAHER

Terrible news from Fort Hood, Texas, about the murder of 13 US Servicemen by one of their own colleagues, Major Nidal Malik Hasan. Some news reports suggest that Hasan shouted ‘Allah Akhab’ (God is Great) before embarking on his rampage.

The incident has been condemned by the American Muslim Armed Forces and Veteran Affairs Council. It aims to ‘serve the spiritual needs and religious welfare of Muslims who serve or have served in the United States Armed Forces, their dependents, as well as veterans’. Their press release says:

The American Muslim Armed Forces and Veteran Affairs Councail (AMAF and VAC) condemns in the strongest terms the attack on soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas resulting in the murder of at least a dozen soldiers and the wounding of many others.  We express our deepest condolences to the victims and their families.  We join the Community of Fort Hood, Texas in their mourning.

Similarly, the Association of Patriotic Arab Americans in Military (APAAM) which represents about 3500 Arab-American in the US Army said:

…thousands of Arab Americans and American Muslims serve honorably everyday in all four branches of the U.S. military and in the National Guard. Additionally, many of us have willingly stepped forward to fulfill our duty with our fellow soldiers in both Afghanistan, Iraq and other locations around the globe, including most of the member of APAAM. Indeed, many of us are today currently deployed in both countries, honorably serving each and every day.

In recent months I’ve been researching the role played by Muslims in the British Armed Forces during the First and Second World Wars. It is a remarkable fact that hundreds of thousands volunteered – they were not conscripted – to serve when Britain stood against fascism in Europe. Indeed, during the Great War Muslims from British India were an integral part of the forces that confronted Ottoman troops at a time with the Sultan claimed suzerainty over Islam.

That contribution is not only frequently overlooked but is largely unknown. The incident at Fort Hood last night will only further damage the reputation of Muslims in the Armed Forces and fuel suspicions that they constitute a fifth column within the military. Indeed, after the Armed Forces Muslim Association was launched at RAF Northolt last month, the campaign group Nothing British about the BNP reported how a BNP supporting website, Green Arrow, had condemned the idea of British Muslims serving in the Armed Forces. He writes:

No True Brit sailor onboard a warship is going to feel save [sic] when the kick off takes place – and it will – with a bunch of moslems [sic] whose loyalty is not towards Our Country but to a dead pervert

When it comes to serving with Muslims on the frontline he suggests:

I would be thinking fragging and friendly fire round about then.

Such views are likely to be bolstered now by Hasan’s rampage in Texas last night.

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