After news broke yesterday that the suspected gunman responsible for the “horrific outburst of violence” at Fort Hood, Major Nidal Malik Hasan, was Muslim, some commentators began assigning “collective responsibility for the actions of one man” to the Muslim community as a whole. On Fox and Friends this morning, Geraldo Rivera warned against casting “a gloomy cloud of suspicion over all the Muslim G.I.s who serve with great honor”:
RIVERA: I think that the great tragedy of this incident is that it will cast a gloomy cloud of suspicion over all the Muslim G.I.s who serve with great honor and who are an amazing assist to the United States in this conflict we’re having with radical Islam. This will, and also, I remember my dad, just very briefly. When we were growing up there would be a notorious crime and my dad used to gather the family. We used to say, like a little prayer, “please God” that it’s not a Puerto Rican. You know because we had, dealing with so many social pressures and prejudices, dealing with all the rest of it, we didn’t want one of these awful examples to cast aspersion and negativity on our group. And this is the same thing with American Muslims now, specifically American Muslim G.I.s.
But, as both Raw Story and Media Matters have noted, later in the segment the hosts of Fox and Friends suggested that “special debriefings” and “special screenings” of Muslim soldiers should be considered. “If I’m going to be sticking in an outpost, I got to know the guy next to me is not going to want to kill me,” said Brian Kilmeade. Gretchen Carlson pondered whether the military had been “exercising political correctness in not approaching” Hasan “as seriously as they would have had he not been a Muslim.” Watch it:
Muslim- and Arab-American organizations have loudly spoken against Hasan’s attack. “We condemn this cowardly attack in the strongest terms possible and ask that the perpetrators be punished to the full extent of the law,” said a Council on American-Islamic Relations statement. In a statement, the Association of Patriotic Arab Americans in Military urged “the media, government officials and all of our fellow Americans to recognize that the actions of Hasan are those of a deranged gunman, and are in no way representative of the wider Arab American or American Muslim community.”
The Hill reports, “A top Republican congressional recruit said on Friday that the shooting at Ft. Hood, Texas yesterday by a solider allegedly sympathetic to suicide bombers shows that the ‘enemy is infiltrating our military.’” Spencer Ackerman notes that the candidate — Allen West — “was disciplined in the Army in Iraq for actually firing his weapon near a detainee’s head during an interrogation.”