Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

“The Reason is Religion, Mom”

May 25, 2012 10:17 am 0 comments

Naser Jason Abdo. Photo: wiki commons.

Army Pvt. Naser Jason Abdo faced his mother during a visit in a Texas jail last July.

Abdo had been arrested for plotting an attack on a restaurant in Killeen popular with soldiers from nearby Fort Hood. He would set off a bomb inside the restaurant, then shoot and kill as many survivors as possible as they scrambled out to safety.

His mother asked the obvious question. Why?

Jurors convicted Abdo of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempted murder after hearing and seeing the answer on video.

“The reason is religion, Mom.”

He had to act in response to American military actions in Afghanistan and Iraq. As a Muslim, he considered those affected by such actions to be family. “When bad things are happening,” he said, “you have to do something about it.”

His mother couldn’t comprehend her son’s logic, to which he explained, “it may seem crazy from the outside, but it’s not.”

Abdo’s reasoning echoes the justification offered by a series of attempted homegrown jihadists. If America is killing Muslims, the logic goes, Muslims must do whatever they can to stop it.

Abdo chose Fort Hood as a target because that’s where Army psychologist Nidal Malik Hasan opened fire a year earlier, killing 13 people. Hasan reportedly shouted “Allahu Akhbar” as he opened fire, and had built a disturbing record of justifying suicide bombings and endorsing other radical ideas during his time in the service.

Hasan had been in direct contact with American-born al-Qaida cleric Anwar al-Awlaki before the attack. Abdo carried copies of al-Qaida’s English-language magazine, Inspire, which included articles from Awlaki invoking theology in urging Muslims in America to wage attacks at home.

“We as Muslims should seek the wealth of the disbelievers as a form of jihad in the path of Allah,” Awlaki wrote in one issue. “That would necessitate that we spend the money on the cause of jihad and not on ourselves.”

Despite the self-professed motives, Islamist advocates argue that radical religious interpretations should not be discussed in assessing terrorist plots by Muslims. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) even conspired with a political scientist in 2010 to gin up sales of the professor’s book, which claimed that religious extremism was a minimal factor in suicide bombings.

The group tries to pressure people out of discussing Islamic radicalism in general.

In the wake of Hasan’s Fort Hood shooting spree, CAIR national spokesman Ibrahim Hooper told a radio interviewer that Hasan’s religious beliefs shouldn’t be considered as a factor. “He could have just snapped from some kind of stress. The thing is when these things happen and the guy’s name is John Smith nobody says well what about his religious beliefs? But when it is a Muslim sounding name that automatically comes into it.”

A week after the massacre, when Hasan’s beliefs and contacts with Awlaki were well established, CAIR issued a press release arguing that those who did discuss religion were exploiting the tragedy to “promote hatred and intolerance.”

And military leaders have shied away from the issue, omitting any reference to it in a report on Hasan’s Fort Hood attack. That drew a strong rebuke last year in a report by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

“We are concerned that [Defense Department’s] failure to address violent Islamist extremism by its name signals to the bureaucracy as a whole that the subject is taboo,” the report said, “and raises the potential that DoD’s actions to confront radicalization to violent Islamist extremism will be inefficient and ineffective.”

It is just as odd to see the Obama administration take pains to avoid even uttering the phrase “radical Islam,” opting instead for a generic “violent extremism.”

Examples of homegrown terror conspirators invoking Islam as a justification include:

· Daniel Patrick Boyd, who was recorded scouting the U.S. Marine Corps Base at Quantico, Va., after failing in several attempts to wage jihad abroad. The American troops even occupy the place of our two holy sites, Mecca and Medina,” he said in a recording by an informant. “This isn’t some fantasy, this is a reality. They are there and they are helping the Jews be in our third holy site, Aqsa. That would be our deen [religion]. This was forbidden by the Prophet on his death bed, he forbid that they can be in Mecca and Medina and there they are.”

· Faisal Shahzad, whose car bomb parked near Times Square failed to detonate in May 2010. “This time it’s the war against people who believe in the book of Allah and follow the commandments, so this is a war against Allah,” Shahzad said at his sentencing. “So let’s see how you can defeat your Creator, which you can never do. Therefore, the defeat of U.S. is imminent and will happen in the near future, inshallah [God willing], which will only give rise to much awaited Muslim caliphate, which is the only true world order.”

· Farooque Ahmed, who scouted subway stations along the Washington, D.C. Metro line in hopes of aiding a bombing plot. “There’s an incessant message that is delivered by radical followers of Islam,” Ahmed’s lawyer said at sentencing, “that one cannot be true to the faith unless they take action, including violent action, most especially violent action … that is a message that can unfortunately take root in individuals who feel like if they don’t do something, that they literally will not find salvation under their faith.”

· Jesse Morton, a founder of the radical website Revolution Muslim, pleaded guilty to charges stemming from threats made against the producers of the animated comedy “South Park,” after the show featured a character supposed to be the prophet Muhammad fully shrouded in a bear suit. In a speech posted online, “Morton asserted that Islam’s position is that those that insult the Prophet may be killed under Shariah law just as if they were fighting with a weapon,” a statement of facts that accompanied his guilty plea said. “Morton exhorted his listeners to fight the ‘disbelievers near you.'”

Add Abdo to the list. He had all the components to make a bomb in his hotel room when police arrested him. He had divine inspiration.

None of that would have happened had he not felt a religious duty to kill his fellow soldiers. The sooner the government is willing to acknowledge this ideology, the sooner concrete steps can be taken to produce an effective program to neutralize the radical message.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture Blogs North American Studios Look to Israel for Next Animation Hit

    North American Studios Look to Israel for Next Animation Hit

    JNS.org – In 2008, Yoram Honig was a producer and director living in Jerusalem, fresh off his first international hit, when the Jerusalem Development Authority (JDA) came to him with a challenge: build a film industry from scratch in Israel’s capital. “When we started here, was nothing in Jerusalem,” he said during an interview in his office in the Talbiya neighborhood. Now, the Jerusalem Film and Television Fund, which Honig heads as an arm of the JDA, pumps 9 million shekels […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Sports Olympic Gold Medalist Gabby Douglas to Wear Leotard With Hebrew Letters in National Competition

    Olympic Gold Medalist Gabby Douglas to Wear Leotard With Hebrew Letters in National Competition

    Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas will wear a leotard bearing Hebrew lettering when she competes at the P&G Gymnastics Championships over the weekend. Douglas’ Swarovski-outlined outfit will feature the Hebrew word “Elohim,” meaning God, on its left sleeve. The Hebrew detailing honors the athlete’s “rich heritage of faith,” according to apparel manufacturer GK Elite, which produced the leotard and released a preview of it on Wednesday. The company said Douglas’ sister, Joyelle “Joy” Douglas, created the Hebrew design. The outcome of the P&G Championships will help […]

    Read more →
  • Europe Sports British World Heavyweight Champion Should Be Banned From Boxing for Sounding Like Hitler, Says Ukrainian Competitor

    British World Heavyweight Champion Should Be Banned From Boxing for Sounding Like Hitler, Says Ukrainian Competitor

    Britain’s world heavyweight champion, Taylor Fury, should be banned from boxing for making Nazi-like comments, a former world champion from the Ukraine said on Thursday, ahead of their upcoming match. “I was in shock at his statements about women, the gay community, and when he got to the Jewish people, he sounded like Hitler,” Wladimir Klitschko told British media, according to Reuters. “We cannot have a champion like that. Either he needs to be shut up or shut down in the ring, or […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Rabbi Shows Cooking Skills and Humor on Chopped

    Rabbi Shows Cooking Skills and Humor on Chopped

    Rabbi Hanoch Hecht just made television history; but, unfortunately, he couldn’t have his rugelach and eat it too. Hecht became the first rabbi to compete on the hit show “Chopped,” where contestants are forced to use four random ingredients in their recipes, and have 20-30 minutes to create an appetizer, a main course and a dessert. A contestant is eliminated after each round. Hecht, 32, said that while the dishes and utensils were new, the kitchen was not kosher, so he couldn’t taste […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Music Orthodox Entertainer Stars in Pepsi Max Commercial as New Face of Company’s Israel Campaign (VIDEO)

    Orthodox Entertainer Stars in Pepsi Max Commercial as New Face of Company’s Israel Campaign (VIDEO)

    Orthodox singer and entertainer Lipa Schmeltzer is starring in a new Pepsi Max commercial for the company’s campaign in Israel. The commercial begins with a bunch of Jewish men eating at a restaurant, when Schmeltzer walks in and tries to decide what to order. An employee at the obviously Israeli eatery offers him a variety of foods, but the entertainer in the end decides on a bottle of Pepsi. Everyone in the restaurant then joins him, drinking Pepsi Max and dancing to […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Book Reviews Jewish Author’s ‘Messy’ Draft Transforms Into Rock Star Novel on Amazon

    Jewish Author’s ‘Messy’ Draft Transforms Into Rock Star Novel on Amazon

    JNS.org – “Writing is a messy process,” says author Elizabeth Poliner. “People who don’t write fiction would be surprised to see what early drafts could look like.” But readers wouldn’t know “what a mess it was for the longest time,” as the Jewish author puts it, when reading Poliner’s critically acclaimed latest book, As Close to Us as Breathing. The volume garnered Amazon’s “Best Book” designation in March 2016 as well as rave reviews from the New York Times,W Magazine, NPR, […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Sundance Tour Features Short Film About Elderly Jewish Woman’s Decision to Eat Bacon for First Time

    Sundance Tour Features Short Film About Elderly Jewish Woman’s Decision to Eat Bacon for First Time

    The Sundance Film Festival Short Film Tour, which started on Friday in New York City, features a mini-documentary about an elderly Jewish woman whose journey away from Orthodoxy leads her to taste forbidden food for the first time in her life. In Canadian director Sol Friedman’s Bacon & God’s Wrath, Razie Brownstone talks about ending her lifelong observance of keeping kosher as her 90th birthday approaches. The recently declared atheist said the discovery of the search engine Google spurred a lapse in her Jewish faith and made her decide to […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Food Chabad Rabbi From New York Competes on Food Network’s ‘Chopped’ Cooking Competition

    Chabad Rabbi From New York Competes on Food Network’s ‘Chopped’ Cooking Competition

    A Chabad rabbi from Rhinebeck, NY, will face off a priest, a pastor and a nun-in-training in an upcoming episode of the Food Network‘s reality show, “Chopped,” Lubavitch.com reported. Rabbi Hanoch Hecht – who teaches up-and-coming chefs about the intricacies of kosher dietary laws at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) — was nominated for the show by a professional chef, and went through a rigorous interview process at the Food Network’s studios in Chelsea, NY. Months later, he was informed he had been accepted as a contestant in the popular TV cooking competition. “I thought […]

    Read more →