Pittsburgh Tribune-Review - November 19, 2009
As the news stories on the Fort Hood tragedy accumulate, it is possible to at least suggest that the shooter acted from a deep sense of ideological fervor based on his reading of his religion, Islam.
On Sept. 15, I attended the Federation for American Immigration Reform's highly successful "Hold Their Feet To The Fire" radio conclave in Washington, D.C. The event protested the presence of 12 million-plus illegal aliens and featured 44 talk show hosts from all over America.
There, I had a conversation with my friend Peter Gadiel, whose 23-year-old son, James, was killed on the 103rd floor of the World Trade Center in the 9/11 attacks. Peter told me his hometown of Kent, Conn., had planned to erect a plaque in James' honor. Peter had suggested to the town council that in addition to his son's name and birth and death dates, the plaque should include language saying that James was murdered by Muslim terrorists. The council felt that was too stark a description and refused such language.
As a social liberal but one who believes in reportorial factualness, I was of course shocked at the council's refusal. I hope it will reconsider. However, I suggest, on the basis of common humanity and common sense — which have always been qualities that bring out the best in Americans of all races, creeds and colors — that Americans better take a hard look at this fanatical situation.
First, the plain truth: People who believe in Islam have adopted a faith born in medieval times, a religion certainly in part born in violence, which has not evolved in any substantial way since its inception. Islam's benign adherents, who represent that religion's majority, are, I am sure, as shocked as we all are at the dastardly acts of those such as Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the alleged Fort Hood shooter.
However, the record of native-born Muslims in and Muslim immigrants to Europe and the U.S. is far from reassuring. As with all entrants into the U.S., we should be extremely cautious about importing unneeded millions of new migrants of any faith or race — just as we certainly should not ever be guilty of kowtowing to the fanatical wishes of the Islamic fundamentalists to not publish images of Allah in cartoon form so as to avoid being attacked by those same jihad types.
You may recall my dismay at the behavior of my university, Yale, when the Yale University Press, after consultations with Muslim clerics, diplomats and counterterrorism officials, canceled the scheduled publication in an academic work of 12 cartoons spoofing Muhammad. The cartoons had appeared in a Danish newspaper four years earlier, sparking Muslim protests that resulted in riots and more than 100 deaths.
We had better begin to recognize the uncomfortable truth that Islam just isn't another religion that benignly promotes peace on Earth and goodwill toward men, and certainly not toward women in most Middle East countries.
The recent book by Christopher Caldwell, "Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam, and the West," suggests Western Europe's Islamic immigration situation — it had virtually no Muslims in the middle of the 20th century, but 15 to 17 million Muslims at the turn of the 21st — is a cautionary tale for the U.S.
OK, so Hasan was born here and likely represents the rarest of anomalies of behavior. But the crux of his motivation is being spread, like a cancer, through well-known educational channels among the youngest, most vulnerable people all over the world. Look at the age profiles of suicide bombers.
Question: If you are a GI, would you rather be fighting in combat alongside a comrade-in-arms who is gay or one who is a devout Muslim?
However, just as our current immigration policies leave the door wide open for too many migrants of all races and religions, we must, as commonsense American citizens, understand that those who embrace Islam come from a religious background that has carried its medieval founder's violent principles forward into our modern era, as well as his benign ones.
If we expect the Fort Hood shootings and the other acts of violence to be isolated incidents, we are not looking realistically at the straightforward mathematical potential for further, more frequent violence as Muslims' numbers expand in our country.
Was the Fort Hood incident an anomaly or a statistical likelihood?
Donald Collins, a Greensburg native and co-chairman of the National Advisory Board of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), is a freelance writer living in Washington, D.C.
Donald A. Collins [email him], is a freelance writer living in Washington DC and a former long time member of the board of FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform. His views are his own.