My thoughts on Ft. Hood over at Religion Dispatches.
It’s quite possible that Hasan is mentally ill and chose to use Islam to express that illness the way a Christian may believe he’s hearing the voice of Jesus. In both cases they are turning to comfortable cultural idioms to express the confusion in their heads.
The following paragraph was cut from the final version, a decision I do agree with. However, I am thinking of picking up the thread and am curious to hear your thoughts.
One concrete action we can take is to reach out to Hasan’s student, Duane Reasoner, who believes ““In the Koran, you’re not supposed to have alliances with Jews or Christian or others, and if you are killed in the military fighting against Muslims, you will go to hell.”” He is clearly misguided in his understanding of the Qur’an. The first part he is referring to is verse 5:52, which refers to Christians and Jews who broke a treaty with Muhammad in Medina. The second is verse 4:92, which states a believer shall not kill a believer. According to the Constitution of Medina, a believer can include Jews and Christians. However, even if one accepts Reasoner’s understanding that the verse only refers to Muslims, he still has a problem. The greatest killer of Muslims in the 21st century has been the Taliban and Al-Qa’ida. The Sunni-Shi’ah conflict in Iraq is another violation of the Qur’an. Reasoner must either put himself in the position of deciding who is Muslim, or accept that as problematic as US intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan has been, it has probably also saved a large number of Muslim lives. Reasoner needs help, and he needs it now.
I do want to make it clear that the above is not meant as a defense of the invasion of Iraq; the quote is slightly out of context. So please focus on the main point of reaching out to Reasoner.