Muslim groups quick to condemn shooting
Stars and Stripes November 7, 2009
SILVER SPRING, Md. — American Muslim groups have been quick to distance themselves from the actions of Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, who allegedly opened fire at Fort Hood, leaving 13 people dead and 30 others injured.
“Of course we condemn these things,” said Arshad Qureshi, chairman of the board of the Muslim Community Center outside Washington, where Hasan attended prayer services before being transferred to Fort Hood this summer.
Corey Saylor, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Washington-based advocacy group, said the group expects an initial increase in anti-Muslim rhetoric and incidents.
“Our hope is that once the emotion passes and the investigation tells us more about his motives, everyone will go back to remembering that all Americans find this atrocity repulsive and there are in Arlington National Cemetery a lot of headstones with Muslim crescents on them,” Saylor said.
Qureshi stressed that the Muslim Community Center is apolitical and said it encourages worshippers to keep their opinions on politics and other private matters to themselves.
The center has not received any threats stemming from the Fort Hood incident, and neither the police nor the FBI have contacted the center, Qureshi said.
In a pre-emptive move, after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Qureshi said the center reached out to the local community, including churches, to let people know that it is not connected to terrorism.
“We are Americans,” he said. “We have nothing to do with what happens in Iran or Afghanistan, or whatever.”
The Council on American-Islamic Relations in a statement on Friday condemned the “cowardly attack” at Fort Hood.
“No religious or political ideology could ever justify or excuse such wanton and indiscriminate violence,” the statement said. “The attack was particularly heinous in that it targeted the all-volunteer army that protects our nation. American Muslims stand with our fellow citizens in offering both prayers for the victims and sincere condolences to the families of those killed or injured.”
Meanwhile, the Muslim Public Affairs Council in Los Angeles planned a news conference Friday along with the Islamic Society of North America and the American Muslim Armed Forces and Veterans Affairs Council to denounce the shooting.
“The organizations today expressed their shock and condemnation of the senseless and appalling act of violence,” a news release from the Muslim Public Affairs Council said.
“All three organizations unequivocally denounce the incident in the strongest terms possible and offer their deepest condolences and prayers to the victims and their loved ones.”