Some keep telling us that Nidal Malik Hasan’s act “had nothing to do with being a Muslim.” And there is a variant on this, used by those who, though they may have reservations about Islam, offer us a false alternative. One such Offeror of False Alternatives is that publicity-hound the henna-haired Irshad Manji, Brave Young Reformer Of Islam, who “speaks truth to (Muslim) power etc. etc.” and who should never be confused with the real, full-fledged, non-apologist apostates, though she keeps being confused with them, a confusion she encourages.
This is what Irshad Manji has posted at her blog:
You’ve probably heard about the shooting at Fort Hood, Texas – America’s biggest military base. The main suspect has a Muslim name. Does this matter? If he did it in the name of Islam, then religion is a motivation. In that case, his Muslim identity is relevant. But if he did it out of other motives – say, mental illness – then his Muslim ID means nothing. That’s my take. Yours?
Notice how she has set this up.
This man, this “main suspect,” “has a Muslim name.” Is that really the only thing that with such studied casualness connects this man to Islam, and not his ever-present Qur’an, not his history, over several years, of publicly denouncing Infidels and otherwise showing his deep devotion to the most bloodcurdling parts – see Sura 9 – of the Qur’an, the Hadith, and the Sira, not his postings on the Internet about killing 100 Infidel soldiers, not anything at all except that “Muslim name”?
Did he do it out of some quite unspecified Muslim motive? Or was his “motive”–not exactly a correct use of English, but perhaps we are expecting too much from the excitable likes of Irshad Manji – “mental illness”?
But isn’t there a third possibility? Even if you do not accept what I insist makes the most sense – to see this killer as a Muslim intent on Jihad – there is another way to look at this. Nidal Hasan was unwilling to use other, less violent means to conduct Jihad in this country, for now, given the balance of forces and the far greater apprehension, by Muslims, that the Infidels in this country are not quite as yielding as those in the countries of Western Europe have proved so far (but for how long?) to be. But if you wish, for the sake of argument or out of belief, to think that Nidal Hasan was unusually ferocious in his fervor, more than many Muslims, so that you might wish to console yourself with at least a nod to “depression” or “mental illness” or some such, that is really no consolation at all. In fact, given that in modern industrial societies a great many people suffer from Durkheimian anomie and economic insecurity and loneliness, and so on, given that a great many people at any one time suffer from depression, should we not ask ourselves instead a different question? And that question is: what happens when a non-Muslim becomes depressed, and what happens when a Muslim, living within a society of non-Muslims, becomes depressed?
I have written about this before many times, and choose here simply to repost a piece – “Fitzgerald: Anything To Do With Terrorism?” that appeared here two years ago:
There has been much discussion lately of whether or not this or that case has anything to do with “terrorism.” The Salt Lake mall shooter and the Nashville would-be murderer by taxicab spring immediately to mind. The word “terrorism” may not quite fit if the FBI takes it to mean some kind of organized conspiracy, something done by a group. What should be made clear is that Islam supplies a pre-fabricated mental grid or, to vary the metaphor, a prism through which to view the universe. And on that grid, or through that prism, there is always an Identifiable Enemy, and that Enemy is Always the Infidel.
Feeling bad? Feeling blue? Feeling things aren’t going right for you? It happens to all of us. We blame our parents, our siblings, our children, The System, Amerika with a “k,” Capitalism, fate, the stars, our serotonin level, our cholesterol level. Even, at times, we may blame ourselves. That’s if you are an ordinary Infidel.
What if you are a Muslim? You don’t have to blame your parents, your siblings, or anyone or anything else except: the Infidel. And you don’t need to be part of Al-Qaeda, or Islamic Jihad, or Jaish-e-Muhammad. You don’t even have to have been a faithful attender of a mosque. You can be Intel engineer “Mike” (Muhammad) Hawash, married to an American, with Little-League-attending children, earning $360,000 a year. And when the banality and boredom of life assails you, you can return to that Old-Time Religion, that is to Islam, and start reading, and re-reading, with the effects we all know, the Qur’an. Then you can light out for the territories, in this case those territories being Western China, and thence, you hope, to Afghanistan, in order to kill Americans. Yes, you are technically an “American” yourself, but the categories and the loyalties of the Infidel nation-state mean nothing to you: you are a Muslim, and that is the only Category that counts, Muslim as opposed to Infidel.
All that one need have asked in the case of Sulejman Talovic was why he went out to a mall, and not in a sudden mental raptus, and quietly and calmly proceeded to kill as many people as he could. Did he see it as killing Infidel after Infidel after Infidel? No one need have asked if he had a collaborator, to be guilty of violent Jihad. No one need have asked if he wrote it out. All one needed to do was find out what his worldview was: did he, or did he not, see the world as divided, as so many Muslims are taught to see it, between Believer and Infidel? Did FBI agents determine this before they dismissed “terrorism” in this case? The answer to that question is not known.
If FBI agents are still ignorant of Islam, then the country is endangered. Anyone running for President should assure us that he, or she, will make sure that “all of our security services, all of those who are in the army and the C.I.A. and the F.B.I. and the local police, will be fully informed of the nature of the ideology that menaces us, and does more than menace us.” If you wish, if you don’t dare utter the word “Islam,” then call it “Islamism” or “fanatical Islam” or some other such term.
But more and more, those even in government have a duty to approach the truth asymptotically, so that the uninformed or insufficiently informed will come to locate, accurately, the menace for all Infidels in the immutable texts of Islam, not in the teachings supposed invented by the proponents of “Wahhabi” Islam, or of “Islamism,” or of “extremist” Islam, but mainstream Islam.
And those who are not in government have no excuse for using terms such as “Islamism.” No, those without official positions have a stark and unwavering duty not to add to the confusion that currently prevails among Americans and Westerners in general, but instead to constantly clarify whatever others at the moment may now deem necessary to obscure.
One may hope, of course, that they may deem this obscuring action to be necessary only on a temporary basis, if they are fully aware of the real, disturbing, frightening truth.
To Irshad Manji’s false dichotomy – was it because he was mentally ill (was mental illness, in her comical solecism, the “motive”?), or because he was a Muslim? I think he met the definition of a fervent Muslim, convinced of the rightness of his beliefs and willing, as so many Muslims in other countries over many years have shown themselves willing, to act on them. They act upon them without delay and without calculating the possible consequences to the long-term interests of Islam, as its adherents are still in the process of establishing themselves in the Western world, and are hoping to continue to do so with no disruptions from Infidels waking from a deep dream of interfaith peace. But even if we were to grant – I don’t – that he met the definition of “mentally ill,” we must also look, as my 2007 article says, at the pre-fabricated mental grid, or rather the ideological prism through which the world is apprehended by Muslims, and in which world, the blameworthy are always the Infidels. You don’t blame your parents, your siblings, your spouse, your children, fate, Amerikkka, The System, the stars, your serotonin level, your cholesterol level, the malfunctioning of your dopamine receptors. No, those possibilities are open to Infidels. But for you, the Muslim suffering mental disarray (that kind which does not come from being a Muslim, living in a non-Muslim society and furious that Muslims do not yet rule, and must smile, and be outwardly nice to Infidels, and appear to accept things that are contra naturam in your view, where Infidels still appear unafraid and even call most of the shots), your enemy is always and everywhere the Infidel.
And that is what Irshad Manji ignores. So do others who are trying to deflect attention from the perfectly explicable behavior of a deep Believer, not a “moderate” who has managed to ignore or pretend to ignore some or much of what Islam inculcates. Manji, by focusing on “mental illness,” ignores the fact that such an explanation, for us, the potential victims of those Muslims who suffer depression or other forms of such mental illness, misses the point — that such Muslims turn their fury, almost inevitably, on us, the undifferentiated enemy Infidels.
Given the high rates of mental illness in the modern industrialized world, that is no consolation at all.