Major Nidal Hasan's killing rampage at Fort Hood Army base in Texas has raised the familiar debate: Has Islam, his religion, anything to do with his action?Pundits are adamant to keep Islam out; it's a religion of peace after all. And President Obama affirmed it further: no loving God would look upon him with favor. The question is: Is Allah, the God of Islam amd Muslims, is a loving one? A group of friends at Joe's bar had a little candid chat about it.
There was no joy in Joe’s Bar and Grille and Gun Club that night. It was the day of the Fort Hood massacre—13 Americans dead, 31 wounded. Joe…the Professor…Cowsnofsky…Ranch House…Salamander…there were more than a few wet eyes. The mood was so somber when Blind Pew walked in at 8 o’clock he asked who died.
"America," said Cowsnofsky.
To the boys who had hired Bernard Piffy to track down Yaser Abdel Said, the notorious Dallas cabdriver, who had murdered his daughters, Sarah and Amina Said, it was a long and frightening story—Hassan Akbar in Kuwait; Abdulhakim Muhammad in Little Rock; and now Nidal Malik Hasan at Fort Hood. And there had been the Duka boys near Fort Dix. Almost the entire clientele of Joe’s Bar and Grille and Gun Club were veterans. They were John Wayne American: Cump Sherman fearless.
“If it wasn’t religion, I don’t know what it was,” said Cowsnofsky.
“Don’t be hasty,” warned Dough Boy Brazil. “Don’t blame everything on religion.”
“Yeah,” said Ranch House. “The guy on MSNBC said we got plenty to be ashamed of ourselves and shouldn’t talk. Bill Clinton never apologized for the Salem Witch Trials.”
“Nobody asked him to,” said Joe, “or he would have.”
“And CAIR (Council of American-Islamic Relations) says—“ begin Ranch House.
The Professor broke in. “CAIR?” he said. He turned on his laptop. “Let’s see what CAIR has to say. Ah, here it is…’No religious or political ideology could ever justify or excuse such wanton and indiscriminate violence.’”
“They always say that,” said Cowsnofsky. “Tim McVeigh didn’t run away from the Murrah Building screaming, “Jesus saves!”
Crossbow scratched his head. “His cousin said if he had killed only a couple of GIs it would have been okay, because it would have been normal. Can you believe that?”
“He was being harassed because he was a Muslim,” said Wimpy.
“The Muslim Veterans Group says there’ve been no reports of harassment,” said Clydesdale.
The Professor opened his copy of the Qur’an. “Maybe this will throw some light on it,” he said.
“Qur’an 9:29 ‘Fight those who do not believe in Allah or the Last Day, who do not forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, or acknowledge the Religion of Truth (Islam), (even it they are) People of the Book (Christians and Jews), until they pay the Jizyah tribute tax in submission, feeling themselves subdued and brought low.’ (Another translation says: ‘pay the tax in acknowledgement of our superiority and their state of subjection.’)”
“Well, I couldn’t feel any lower or more subjected than I am right now,” said Mortimer.
“You’re paying the jizyah,” said the Professor.
“Why do they do such things?” pondered J.D. “Nine-eleven…Little Rock…Fort Hood…and it’s not just here, it’s all over the world.”
The Professor laid his Qur’an on the bar. “It’s what’s in this book,” he said.
“Have you read it in the original Arabic?” asked Crosshair.
“As a matter of fact, I have,” said the Professor. “And I’ve come to the conclusion that inside every Muslim there’s a terrorist trying to get out. It’s Islam’s inner struggle—the one they’re always talking about but never bother to define.”
“I suppose you’ve got a quote for that too,” said Crosshair.
“Indeed, I have,” said the Professor:
“Tabari IX:69 ‘Killing disbelievers is a small matter to us.’”
“You ought to go on MSNBC,” said Crosshair. “You could debate that Olbermann guy.”
“Oh, good God, no!” said the Professor. “What do I know about Sarah Palin or Carrie Prejean?”
“Yeah,” laughed Joe. “Almost as little as Olbermann knows about what’s going on in the world.”
“Or Chris Matthews,” said Ranch House.
“Oh, please,” said the Professor. “Don’t compare me to that Matthews guy. I’ve never had a thrill run up and down my leg listening to President Obama though I must admit I felt a tingle the other day when I reread a speech delivered by Millard Fillmore in 1854.”
That brought forth the usual comments on the Professor’s age and whether or not he had actually been there when Fillmore made his speech.
It was good—they were laughing again.
Denis Schulz is the author of Beware of Imams Bearing Gifts of Peace and Tolerance.