Hasan’s beard is not just facial hair; it is a statement. It is his assertion that he is not an American at all, but a Muslim and a jihadist, someone who regards America as an evil enemy, the “Great Satan” indeed — an enemy that he believes must be fought against as a matter of divine principle. Hasan’s beard is his silent declaration that he is an enemy combatant, and that it is ludicrous to try him as if he were in any meaningful sense an American soldier who has even the slightest degree of interest in following any of the rules of the U.S. military. And it is. Hasan grew his beard because of his Muslim faith? He murdered thirteen people because of his Muslim faith -- by his own account. Under these circumstances, he should not be given any accommodation for his religion.
"Judge indicates Fort Hood suspect can keep beard," from the Associated Press, December 18 (thanks to Lookmann):
FORT HOOD, Texas (AP) — The Army psychiatrist charged in the deadly Fort Hood shooting rampage apparently will be allowed to keep his beard during his military trial, after a new judge indicated Tuesday that she won't force him to shave.
The previous judge's order requiring Maj. Nidal Hasan to be clean-shaven or be forcibly shaved before his trial had tied up the case for more than three months, but an appeals court ousted that judge earlier this month.
The new judge overseeing Hasan's case told him during a hearing Tuesday that the beard, now thicker than when he first appeared in court with it in June, violates Army regulations. The judge, Col. Tara Osborn, said she won't hold it against him but that military jurors might.
Hasan answered "yes, ma'am" when Osborn asked if he grew the beard voluntarily. In a previous court hearing, he said he grew the beard because his Muslim faith requires it and not as a show of disrespect. Osborn asked defense attorneys to draft jury instructions about the issue. Jurors likely will be told not to consider Hasan's appearance when deciding on a verdict.
Hasan, 42, an American-born Muslim, faces the death penalty or life in military prison without parole if convicted in the 2009 rampage that killed 13 and wounded more than two dozen others on the Texas Army post.
Osborn was appointed to the case two weeks ago, after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces removed the former judge and tossed his order regarding Hasan's beard. The ruling said Col. Gregory Gross did not appear impartial while presiding over Hasan's case and that the command — not a judge — is responsible for enforcing military grooming standards....