Sunday, November 08, 2009

Nidal Hasan and Fort Hood murders

The murders by Nidal Hasan on Fort Hood on Thursday are bad enough in and of themselves. But making his act worse is that Hasan was a field-grade Army officer with the sacred duty to lead and care for soldiers, moreso as a psychiatrist and, therefore, medical doctor. (He's still alive, but while Hasan still holds his commission and license, I am loath to consider him a doctor and officer any longer.) As such, Hasan's crime is a gross betrayal of everything that was honorable and beneficial about who he was.

Hasan acted out as a radical Islamic terrorist (yes, he's a terrorist - it's an obsolete notion that Islamic terrorists are limited to card-carrying, dues-paying members of recognized Islamic terrorist organizations), but he reminds me more of recent high-profile murderers George Sodini, Seung-Hui Cho, and Charles Carl Roberts. They were mentally diseased men. Hasan's acts likely will cause honorable Muslim American soldiers to be scrutinized and perhaps alienated in a profession in which shared trust is essential, and I would not be surprised if Hasan intended for that to happen. Rather than turn on our own, though, I hope and trust the military community will instead reaffirm the fraternal bonds among soldiers.

Here's the statement from APAAM on the Fort Hood shootings:

At a time of deep sorrow in the midst of this horrific tragedy, our thoughts are first and foremost with the Fort Hood shooting victims and their families. One can only imagine the unspeakable pain and loss they are and will be dealing with in the weeks, months and years to come.

It is unfortunate that whatever demons possessed Nidal Hasan, that he chose to deal with his problems in this way.

In the aftermath of this terrible tragedy, it is more important than ever that we not make the same scapegoating and broad stroke mistakes that were evident in the aftermath of previous tragedies. The Association of Patriotic Arab Americans in Military urges the media, government officials and all of our fellow Americans to recognize that the actions of Hasan are those of a deranged gunman, and are in no way representative of the wider Arab American or American Muslim community.

In fact, 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.

There have been three Congressional Medal of Honor awarded to three of our nation's heroes. One of those heroes is Arab American Petty Officer Michael Monsoor, US Navy.

The Association of Patriotic Arab Americans in Military (APAAM) was created shortly after September 11th, 2001, in an effort to organize current and former Arab- Americans in the military. There are approximately 3,500 Arab- Americans serving in our Armed Forces. Based on the fact that there are no other formal organizations representing Arab- Americans in the military, APAAM has the distinction of being the first official organization for Arab- Americans in the Military.

Media Contact:
Ray Hanania
APAAM Media Coordinator, Vietnam Era Veteran

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