Major Nidal Malik Hasaan, a Palestinian-American and Muslim, allegedly screamed “Allahu Akbar” before his shooting rampage. So it’s no surprise that American Muslims and those who support them are concerned about a national backlash. It’s also no surprise that some folk don’t like that other folk are ignoring the so-called Muslim-violence pattern taking place on American soil. Jeffrey Goldberg over at the Atlantic writes:
“It seems, though, that when an American military officer who is a practicing Muslim allegedly shoots forty of his fellow soldiers who are about to deploy to the two wars the United States is currently fighting in Muslim countries, some broader meaning might, over time, be discerned, especially if the officer did, in fact, yell “Allahu Akbar” while murdering his fellow soldiers, as some soldiers say he did. This is the second time this year American soldiers on American soil have been gunned down by a Muslim who was reportedly unhappy with America’s wars in the Middle East (the first took place in Arkansas, to modest levels of notice). And, of course, this would not be the first instance of an American Muslim soldier killing fellow soldiers over his disagreements with American foreign policy; in 2003, Army Sgt. Hasan Akbar killed two officers and wounded fourteen others when he rolled a grenade into a tent in a homicidal protest against American policy.
I am not arguing, of course, that American Muslims, as a whole, are violently unhappy with America (I’ve argued the opposite, in fact). But I do think that elite makers of opinion in this country try very hard to ignore the larger meaning of violent acts when they happen to be perpetrated by Muslims. Here’s a simple test: If Nidal Malik Hasan had been a devout Christian with pronounced anti-abortion views, and had he attacked, say, a Planned Parenthood office, would his religion have been considered relevant as we tried to understand the motivation and meaning of the attack? Of course. Elite opinion makers do not, as a rule, try to protect Christians and Christian belief from investigation and criticism. Quite the opposite. It would be useful to apply the same standards of inquiry and criticism to all religions.”
I’m not sure I agree that the elite makers of opinion dismiss the opportunity to demonize Muslims and their so-called potential for violence against Americans. Just run over to Fox News or tune into the Rush Limbaugh hour. Heck, sit it on some of those Sunday church services in the heartland where the minister insists that if one isn’t quoting the Bible then Islamic sin is surely tap-dancing in the soul. I also don’t agree that Christians are vilified in the same manner as Muslim when it comes to acts of violence against abortion clinics or pedestrians at the local mall. Thoughts?