We are reproducing 02 media reports below on the rampage shooting by a US army major at Fort Hood, US military base, who happens to be a Muslim of Palestinian origin.
It is no surprise for “southasiaspeaks” that this is also used to call ethno-religious calls against Muslims and it would not be limited to the US soil alone. It is only customary that the Head of State, who ever he is, and other dignitaries call for people to have patience and to pray for the victims.
Yet all media and all State personalities talk of possible links or investigating possible links with Islamic fundamentalists or the Al Qaeda. Such is how the ethno-religious hype is kept fired and how it is allowed to grow. It always becomes an issue when the dominant, deciding power feels the pinch of war.
Therefore when many hundreds were left dead and wounded after Obama as President of the US sanctioned “Drone attacks” on citizens of Pakistan and Afghanistan, such ethno-religious backlashes were never talked of or were never feared in the US or anywhere else. None in the US then said, they were Muslim people of another country that was killed by American Christians.
This war is thus a war for geopolitical dominance by the US and for its armament industry to survive. It thus has nothing to do with democracy in Afghanistan or its people. It nevertheless has everything to do with Islamic fundamentalism, for that provides the reason to continue with the war. Therefore the ethno-religious hype needs to be maintained too.
We therefore take this opportunity to stress that war anywhere will only leave societies with such unwanted human tragedy for the sake of the powerful. We take this opportunity to stress that US even under Obama, does not have any reason or right to wage war against Afghanistan. War only helps armed extremists to grow and spread. They only create a market for military hardware industry, US being its leader.
(01) Obama to attend Fort Hood rampage memorial on Tuesday
US President Barack Obama will attend a memorial service in Texas this week to honour victims of the shooting rampage on the military base in which 13 people died, the White House said on Saturday.
Investigators were meanwhile working around the clock to uncover the motives of the Muslim US army doctor suspected in the killings that also wounded 30 people.
Criminal investigators were poring over evidence to determine if the alleged shooter — Major Nidal Malik Hasan, who survived shooting wounds and is under guard at a military hospital — was motivated by Islamist ideology or had snapped under the pressure of his job counseling soldiers traumatized by combat.
In his weekly radio address on Saturday, Obama, ahead of the announcement of his traveling to the ceremony on Tuesday, called the mass-shooting “one of the most devastating ever committed on an American military base.”
An initial search of Hasan’s computer revealed no direct exchanges with known extremists, but US Army and FBI officials had yet to rule out possible links to terrorist groups, US media reported.
Earlier this year, the Federal Bureau of Investigation learned of Internet postings by a man calling himself Nidal Hasan that expressed support for suicide bombings.
Investigators were not able to determine yet whether the writer was Major Hasan, but the details fueled concerns that authorities may have missed warning signs prior to the attack at Fort Hood, Texas.
Neighbors reportedly said Hasan, 39, was in a rush when he gave away his belongings — including a Koran — shortly before Thursday’s bloody shooting spree.
“I’m not going to need them,” he told one neighbor, Patricia Villa, according to The New York Times, handing over bags of vegetables, a mattress and clothing.
A US-born Muslim of Palestinian heritage, Hasan had voiced dismay over US wars in Islamic countries and was distraught that he was about to be deployed to Afghanistan.
He reportedly said the US struggle against terror threats was a “war on Muslims,” while his family alleged he was the target of prejudice and harassment over his Islamic faith.
Poignant details released here Saturday of each of those killed in the rampage drove home the scale of the tragedy.
The victims included a 21-year-old mother-to-be Private Francheska Velez, who was due to return home to Chicago for maternity leave after a tour in Iraq, and 56-year-old John Gaffaney, a psychiatric nurse who had just persuaded the military to let him return to active duty for deployment in Iraq.
Private First Class Kham Xiong, 23, was a father of three whose own father had fought communist forces in Laos during the Vietnam war.
Specialist Ryan Hill, 28, came to the base with his young daughter Emma to put flowers and candles at the main gates as a mark of respect to the victims.
“It makes me mad. I don’t khow somebody can commit an act like that,” Hill told AFP. “Those soldiers were ready to take off and deploy and they won’t even get to do that.”
The bodies of those killed were taken on Friday to the same mortuary at Dover Air Base in Delaware that handles fallen soldiers from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
But at least some of those shot were making a good recovery, according to Roy Smythe, a surgeon at the Scott and White Hospital in Temple, Texas.
“We had initially six patients in the surgical intensive care unit, as of this morning we only have two left,” he said. “Those are no longer on the ventilator and they’re quite stable so a lot of progress has been made.
“There is a possibility that some of these patients will be physically impaired for the rest of their lives and there is certainly no doubt that many of them will be psychologically impaired for the rest of their lives.”
Obama in his radio address hailed the response of soldiers and civilians at the scene who rushed to help victims, tearing off bullet-riddled clothes to treat the injured and using blouses as tourniquets.
The president ordered flags to fly at half-staff at the White House and federal buildings, as troops at home and abroad held a minute’s silence to mourn the dead.
Hasan was shot and seriously wounded by a female civilian police officer who was being hailed as a heroine for ending his deadly rampage.
Witnesses reportedly heard Hasan, who investigators believe fired more than 100 rounds during the incident, shout “Allahu Akbar!” (God is greatest) before unloading a semiautomatic weapon and a handgun at a troop processing center.
Troops based in Fort Hood, by area the world’s largest US military base, have suffered the highest number of casualties and have undertaken multiple tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The shooting has meanwhile raised delicate questions about Muslim soldiers serving in the military, as some commentators warned of an Islamic “fifth column” infiltrating the army while Islamic groups called for calm amid concerns of a backlash.
(02) Fearing backlash, South Asian bodies in US appeal for harmony
Fearing a backlash after a Muslim US Army psychiatrist allegedly killed 13 during a shooting rampage at a military base in Texas, a coalition of 26 South Asian organisations has appealed for communal harmony.
“We call on political leaders, the media, and the public to set a tone of unity as the investigation unfolds and the healing process begins,” the National Coalition of South Asian Organizations (NCSO) said in a statement issued Friday.
“Regrettably, in the past, the actions of one individual from a particular ethnic background or religious faith have led to the scapegoating of entire communities based on actual or perceived ethnicity, religion, and national origin,” it noted.
Offering deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims, it urged community members to explore how they can provide support and resources to address the impact of the violence. “As our country moves forward, the NCSO shares our condolences and commits to participating in our collective healing process.”
Suspected gunman Major Nidal Malik Hasan opened fire with two handguns at the Fort Hood Army post on Thursday, in one of the worst killing sprees ever reported on a US military base, army officials said.
The US-born son of Palestinian immigrants, Hasan’s Muslim and Arab heritage prompted immediate speculation on television stations and internet sites about his motives and whether they were influenced by his background.
Besides NCSO, some other US Arab and Muslim groups have condemned the shootings, offered condolences to the victims’ families, and stressed that no political or religious ideology justified such violence.
A Justice Department spokesman said its civil rights division was unaware of any incidents of violence directed against Arab-Americans or Muslim-Americans since the shooting.
Hate crimes against Arab Americans, Muslims, and Sikhs rose after the September 11, 2001 attacks. The number has since declined but many Arab and Muslim Americans still report verbal abuse and harassment.
Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations, urged “American Muslims, and those who may be perceived to be Muslim, to take appropriate precautions to protect themselves, their families and their religious institutions from possible backlash.”
South Asian Organizations issuing the appeal were: Adhikaar for Human Rights, Andolan, Chaya, Coney Island Avenue Project, Council of Peoples Organization, Daya, Desis Rising Up and Moving, Hamdard Center, Indo, American Center, Manavi, Michigan Asian Indian Family Services, Narika, Raksha, Saathi of Rochester, Sahara of South Florida, Sakhi for South Asian Women, Sikh American Legal Defense & Education Fund, South Asian Americans Leading Together, South Asian American Policy and Research Institute, South Asian Council for Social Services, South Asian Health Initiative, South Asian Youth Action, The Sikh Coalition, Trikone NW, Turning Point and United Sikhs.