Not all Baptist preachers are as bigoted and stupid as Pat Robertson (today he made some really outlandish statements concerning Islam)
NORMAN, Okla. (ABP) -- At least one Baptist leader cautioned against attempts to blame the Nov. 5 Fort Hood massacre on the accused assailant's Islamic faith.
Bruce Prescott, executive director of Mainstream Oklahoma Baptists, said Nov. 8 that assuming Nidal Hasan, an army psychiatrist accused of killing 13 and wounding 31, acted because of his religion is comparable to judging Christianity by the acts of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.
"The problem is with the individual. It's not with the faith," Prescott said on his weekly "Religious Talk" radio program. "We wouldn't paint everyone with the same broad brush within our own faith, and we shouldn't do it with others."
Hashmi said he hoped reports that Hasan is a devout Muslim would not result in a backlash of Islamophobia.
"This is really, really upsetting, because this really violates the tenets and the principles of my faith, and I believe of Islam," Hashmi said. "It is very unfortunate that this happened, but we shouldn't use it as an issue of religion, and it shouldn't be framed in that way. I think it concerns some greater issues, such as mental health and the harmful consequences of war. There are many Muslims that proudly and patriotically serve in the American military."
But a spokesman for one conservative Christian organization said it is time to end the practice of allowing Muslims to serve in the United States military.
"The reason is simple: the more devout a Muslim is, the more of a threat he is to national security," Bryan Fischer, director of issues analysis for the American Family Association, wrote in a blog. "Devout Muslims, who accept the teachings of the Prophet [Muhammad] as divinely inspired, believe it is their duty to kill infidels."
CAIR's national headquarters in Washington issued a statement condemning the Fort Hood attack "in the strongest terms possible."
"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."
Fischer, who was recently promoted from executive director of the Idaho Values Alliance, a state affiliate of the AFA, found little comfort in the statement by Muslim leaders.
"Of course, most U.S. Muslims don't shoot up their fellow soldiers," he said. "Fine. As soon as Muslims give us a foolproof way to identify their jihadis from their moderates, we'll go back to allowing them to serve. You tell us who the ones are that we have to worry about, prove you're right, and Muslims can once again serve. Until that day comes, we simply cannot afford the risk. You invent a jihadi-detector that works every time it's used, and we'll welcome you back with open arms."
"This is not Islamophobia," he said. "It is Islamo-realism."
Fischer also said it is time "we all got over the nonsense that all cultures and religions are equally valid or worthy."
"They most certainly are not," he said. "While Christianity is a religion of peace, founded by the Prince of Peace, Islam is a religion of war and violence, founded by a man who routinely chopped the heads off his enemies, had sex with nine-year old girls, and made his wealth plundering merchant caravans."
"And just as Christians are taught to imitate the life of Christ, so Muslims are taught to imitate the Prophet in all things," Fischer continued. He said Hasan "was simply being a good Muslim."
Hashmi, however, said Hasan's alleged actions violate basic tenets of Islam, which he described as a religion of peace.
"There's a verse in the Quran that speaks to this, that if you kill one innocent human being, it's as if you have killed all of humanity," Hashmi said. "Conversely, if you have saved one innocent life, it's as if [you] have saved all of humanity. It shows the sanctity of human life in the Quran, and it mentions this many, many times."
"There's really no call for this, and even the Prophet Muhammad -- peace be upon him -- would never sanction such a thing," Hashmi continued. "This would never be allowed and you would never find the Prophet Muhammad ... ever do anything like this or even advocate something as heinous as this. If Muslims look to their basic teachings of Islam they would not find anything like this."
"When we see violence happening around the world -- whether it be here or abroad -- most of it is really a political motivation, but it's masked with some kind of religious fanaticism," he said. "So what will happen, in instances such as Iraq and Afghanistan, there are many cases where we believe, 'Oh, there's the Sunnis fighting the Shias and whatnot.' There's really no difference between Sunnis and Shias. Ninety-five percent of the basic beliefs are identical. The reason why they are fighting is really just to take control of the land."
Bob Allen is senior writer for Associated Baptist Press.