Southern Religion

Too many simple, probably wrong answers about Nidal Hasan

Lisa Miller writes in Newsweek:

Major [Nidal] Hasan may suffer from loneliness, isolation, PTSD, and a terror of being deployed overseas. He may, indeed, be mentally ill. But he was also allegedly exchanging e-mail with Anwar al Awlaki, a Yemeni-American cleric whose rhetoric urges Muslims to see terrorism as a selfless and righteous act for the greater good of the global Muslim community. In his tract “44 Ways to Support Jihad [.pdf],” al Awlaki writes, “Jihad today is obligatory on every capable Muslim. So as a Muslim who wants to please Allah it is your duty to find ways to practice it and support it.” Even if Hasan was not, strictly speaking, an enlisted man in a terrorist cell, he was exposed to these ideas. They may have framed his thinking. They may have given him a “rationale” to act as he did. Either-or choices don’t satisfy. Bruce Hoffman, professor at Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service, puts it this way: “Just because somebody may be mentally unstable doesn’t mean this isn’t an act of terrorism.”


November 24, 2009 - Posted by | Religion, terrorism | ,


  1. He’s a Muslim. By definition he’s either deranged or evil depending on your overall viewpoint on personal responsibility.

    Comment by jonolan | November 24, 2009

    • As you wish, although the author’s point and ours is that he may be both a Muslim terrorist and mentally ill. Simultaneously.

      Comment by baptistplanet | November 25, 2009

    • My point was that, by being Muslim, he was definitively deranged and, therefor,of course he was both a terrorist and mentally ill simultaneously.

      The only question is whether his violence was caused by that derangement or by his evil. That’s a question whose answer will be based upon the observers’ viewpoint on personal responsibility and evil as a force.

      Comment by jonolan | November 25, 2009

    • Do you think all believers are deranged? Those who believe in a list of faiths you have accumulated? Or just Muslims?

      Comment by baptistplanet | November 25, 2009

    • Just Muslims for the most part. While all religions – my own included – have their nutcases, in Islam antisocial, violent, oppressive, and frankly deranged behavior seems far closer to being the norm.

      Comment by jonolan | November 25, 2009

  2. Truthful words, some true words man. Made my day!

    Comment by enganuall | November 25, 2009

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