The Associated Press is reporting that, according to Ft. Hood's commander, witnesses to yesterday's massacre say Maj. Nidal Hasan was shouting "God is great" in Arabic as he was firing on his fellow soldiers.
FORT HOOD, Texas - Soldiers who witnessed the shooting rampage at Fort Hood that left 13 people dead reported that the gunman shouted "Allahu Akbar!" — an Arabic phrase for "God is great!" — before opening fire, the base commander said Friday.
Lt. Gen. Robert Cone said officials had not yet confirmed that the suspected shooter, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, made the comment before the rampage Thursday.
If true, the above would seem to confirm what many on the wingnut right seemed to positively hope was the case last night—that Hasan's rampage was an act of Islamist terrorism, as opposed to the result of a breakdown or mental illness or the garden-variety insane rage and alienation that has inspired what seems like a mass killing every other month. We all know what first came to mind when Hasan's name was released yesterday. But we suppose a handy guide for finding the line that divides the Glenn Becks of the world from the rest of us is whether you reacted with dread at the idea that it may have been related, however murkily, to Islamism, or if you were filled with smug delight.
The moment I first heard about the mass murders at Fort Hood I knew in my bones that the shooter or shooters were Muslims.
Call me "Islamophobic," call me "psychic," call me what you will.
It now seems that there was only a single shooter: Major Malik Nidal Hasan, an American-born Muslim man of Palestinian/Jordanian descent, an American citizen who is an Army-trained physician-a psychiatrist to be exact-as well as a religious Muslim.
And here, from the Corner's Victor Davis Hanson, is a new meme watch: When a Christian or a Jew or any other kind of regular American blows a gasket and kills a bunch of people, there are a variety of reasons we can investigate as to the potential cause. When a Muslim does it, it's a personal jihad:
[I call it] al Qaedism, or the spontaneous rage of disaffected Muslims, who connect their own failures in some sense to generic radical Islamist sentiments, and act out that anger by running over the innocent (San Francisco or North Carolina), shooting Jews (the LAX or Seattle attacks), or shooting up malls or sniping. These are of course different from but in addition to the 24 organized plots that have been broken up since 9/11, four of them this year alone.
Maybe Hasan killed all those people because he thought Allah wanted him to. Maybe he did it because he wanted to exact revenge for perceived slights. Maybe he was a paranoid schizophrenic and thought they were lizard people. Maybe all of the above. We don't know. But if it was Islamism, this is the lesson that Hanson and his partisans want to take from it:
In other words, the narrative after 9/11 largely remains that Americans have given in to illegitimate "fear and mistrust" of Muslims in general. A saner approach would be to acknowledge that there is a small minority of Muslims who channel generic Islamist fantasies, so that we can assume that either formal terrorist plots or individual acts of murder will more or less occur here every three to six months.
A saner approach. No one, anywhere, has ever disputed that there is a small minority of Muslims—or any religious sect, for that matter—who subscribe to violent and extremist religious views. Make no mistake, this is an argument for legitimate fear and mistrust of "Muslims in general." Expect to see more like it.