The Ground Zero Mosque and Religious Freedom

Saturday, September 11, 2010 \AM\.\Sat\.

Here’s another guest post by David Jones, a former Muslim and Iraq veteran.

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On the anniversary of 9-11 I feel it’s time to have a serious dialogue about Islam and religious freedom in the U.S. It is my hope that my Catholic brethren and anyone else who reads this article will finds my position a reasonable one to hold.

If anyone on this planet understands the concerns of those who are against the building the Ground Zero Mosque, I do. This includes not building it near Ground Zero out of respect for all those that lost their lives there. I am absolutely convinced that most Americans don’t have a clue about Islam though. Many are completely ignorant as to what it really teaches and the threat it poses to both Europe and the U.S. Islam by its nature is an ideology which is inherently political. In many regards it is a closed system, which is not open to reality. It does not organically develop as Catholicism has done throughout its history. Islam considers itself to be a completed (and total) system to be imposed on the rest of the non-Muslim world by any and all means necessary, both through peaceful and non-peaceful means. Therefore it struggles with this concept of religious freedom. If your system or ideology is closed, how can you really be free? Many good Muslims are attempting to answer this question though and many others related to it. We should be open to dialogue with them. We should offer our friendship.

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Between Allah & Jesus- No To Jihad, No to Crusade

Monday, July 5, 2010 \PM\.\Mon\.

I would like to recommend a few good reads to help one navigate the situation of how to regard Islam and Muslims as both Christians and Americans.  First of all – the suggestion that America is or should be engaged in a Holy War Crusade against all Muslim majority nations is one that has to be confronted- there is nothing more dangerous than to try to match the extremism of Bin Laden-style Islam with some kind of Bin Laden-style Christianity.

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Bringing New Life to an Old Monastery.

Friday, January 1, 2010 \PM\.\Fri\.

PHOTO: Maj. Jeffrey Whorton, a Roman Catholic chaplain, celebrating Mass at St. Elijah’s Monastery near Mosul in northern Iraq.

The United States Army hopes to restore St. Elijah’s Monastery, an ancient site of Christian worship stuck in the middle of a base in northern Iraq (New York Times December 18, 2009) | Photo Tour of St. Elijah’s Monastery in Iraq. Read the rest of this entry »


Massacre at Fort Hood

Thursday, November 5, 2009 \PM\.\Thu\.

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13 have been killed and 38 wounded at the Fort Hood army post in Texas.  The alleged shooter, Major Nidal Malik Hasan, is dead, and two alleged suspects have been taken into custody.  This is a major story and details are sparse.  May the souls of the dead victims rest in peace.  More details as they become available.

Update 1: Dead gunman thought to have been a mental health professional,  a psychiatrist. I have heard on Fox that he was assigned in the past to Walter Reed.

Update 2: Gunman was thought to have been a drug and rehab specialist who obtained his license to practice psychiatry in 2005.  According to the Army Times he was promoted to Major on April 22, 2009.

Update 3: More details here about the gunman.

Update 4: Gunman worked at the Darnall Army Medical Center at Fort Hood.

Update 5: Gunman had received a poor performance evaluation at Walter Reed.  He was upset about a forthcoming deployment to Iraq.

Update 6: Colonel Terry Lee who had worked in the past with Hasan says that the gunman had made statements that Muslims should stand up and fight against the aggressor.  He is being interviewed on Fox.  The Colonel also said that Hasan thought that after Obama was elected the war in Iraq would come to a swift end and he became frustrated that this did not occur.

Update 7: The two suspects taken into custody have been released.  I am hearing that they may have been attempting to subdue the gunman and were taken in for questioning about the incident.  Good!  That makes it much more likely that this is the work of just one deranged individual rather than a conspiracy.

Update 8: Now the local Congressman in whose district Fort Hood is located is stating that he has heard that another suspect has been brought in for questioning.

Update 9: The gunman’s name according to some reports is Nidal Malik Hasan and not Malik Nadal Hasan as initially reported.

Update 10: Here is info on the gunman on the Virginia Board of Medicine Practitioner Information page.

Update 11: According to a cousin of the gunman interviewed on Fox, Hasan was born and reared in this country.  He has always been a Muslim and is not a recent convert as was initially reported.  He joined the military against the wishes of his parents.  He complained about harassment to relatives that he alleged that he received from fellow soldiers in the Army because of his pro-Muslim views.

Update 12: Lieutenant General Bob Cone, the commanding general in charge of Fort Hood, at a press conference announces that Nidal Malik Hasan was wounded and is in custody, and was not killed as was initially reported.  He is also stating that Hasan was the sole shooter, and that no one else appears to have been involved.  He says that the slain and wounded soldiers were in an enclosed area awaiting medical and dental treatment.  A female civilian police officer shot and wounded Hasan.  She was wounded by Hasan and is in stable condition.  (Soon to be celebrated by the nation as a heroine I think.)

Update 13:  NPR has this report:  

A source tells NPR’s Joseph Shapiro that Hasan was put on probation early in his postgraduate work at the Uniformed Service University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md. He was disciplined for proselytizing about his Muslim faith with patients and colleagues, according to the source, who worked with him at the time.

Update 14:  Hasan is the son of Palestinian immigrants, both deceased. 

Update 15:  Reports that Hasan had come to the attention of federal law enforcement authorities six months ago because of internet postings advocating suicide bombings.  This seems to be the post in question:

“There was a grenade thrown amongs a group of American soldiers. One of the soldiers, feeling that it was to late for everyone to flee jumped on the grave with the intention of saving his comrades. Indeed he saved them. He inentionally took his life (suicide) for a noble cause i.e. saving the lives of his soldier. To say that this soldier committed suicide is inappropriate. Its more appropriate to say he is a brave hero that sacrificed his life for a more noble cause. Scholars have paralled this to suicide bombers whose intention, by sacrificing their lives, is to help save Muslims by killing enemy soldiers. If one suicide bomber can kill 100 enemy soldiers because they were caught off guard that would be considered a strategic victory. Their intention is not to die because of some despair. The same can be said for the Kamikazees in Japan. They died (via crashing their planes into ships) to kill the enemies for the homeland. You can call them crazy i you want but their act was not one of suicide that is despised by Islam. So the scholars main point is that “IT SEEMS AS THOUGH YOUR INTENTION IS THE MAIN ISSUE” and Allah (SWT) knows best.”

Take this report with a boulder of salt until it is better confirmed.  However, if the authorities did believe that Hasan was posting on internet sites advocating suicide bombings six months ago, why didn’t the Army take steps to keep him away from troops, especially troops heading for Iraq or Afghanistan?

Update 16:  The brave female police officer who took Hasan down is Police Sergeant Kimberly Munley.  She pumped four bullets into the gunman in spite of being shot by him. 

Update 17:  Hasan shouted Allahu Akbar ( God is Great) before beginning his rampage.

Update 18:  Information about some of the victims here.  May they now be enjoying the Beatific Vision.


Now He Tells Us

Thursday, April 9, 2009 \AM\.\Thu\.

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Hattip to Instapundit.  “Speaking to GIs in one of Saddam Hussein’s old palaces, Mr. Obama ticked off America’s accomplishments in Iraq: “From getting rid of Saddam, to reducing violence, to stabilizing the country, to facilitating elections — you have given Iraq the opportunity to stand on its own as a democratic country. That is an extraordinary achievement.””

I will leave for others to explain just how Obama’s Iraq policy differs from what McCain would have done, or from the policy of Bush if he were still in office.


President Obama, War President

Friday, April 3, 2009 \PM\.\Fri\.

Our President was elected under the influence of great anti-war sentiment. He was “the anti-war candidate”. It ought to be disappointing then, for his supporters, to learn that he is decidedly not the anti-war President. In fact, President Obama is actively pursuing the war-on-terror, significantly expanding the Afghanistan theatre with another troop surge. And we shouldn’t forget that President Obama hasn’t pulled the troops out of Iraq yet, and the best estimates are that troops will be in Iraq for 2-3 more years – the same amount of time President Bush would have kept them there. (The article says all “combat troops” will be out of Iraq in August of 2010, but this is misleading. The article goes on to say that there will still be 30,000-50,000 troops there until 2011. The Obama administration redefined people who count as “troops”.) President Obama’s continuation of the war on terror says a number of things. First, the silence of his anti-war constituency indicates that they were not opposed to the Iraq war on principle, but rather opposed to the Iraq war when a Republican candidate was president. In fact, they seem to have a great and newfound tolerance for war now that they like the guy at the helm of it all. It also tells us that the foreign policy of President Bush was not offensive enough for the country to elect a President who would have actually changed things.


Which “unjust war”?

Monday, November 3, 2008 \AM\.\Mon\.

There was considerable debate among Catholics leading up to the war in Iraq in 2002-2003.

With respect to the election, however, I find myself continually puzzled by references to this or that candidate’s “support for an unjust war” or the existence of U.S. forces in Iraq in terms of an illegal occupation.

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