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Fort Hood Attack Unrelated to Islam, Local Muslim Leaders Say (November 13, 2009)

Southfield — Leaders of Metro Detroit's Muslim community gathered this morning to urge all Americans to view the Fort Hood shooting as a criminal act and unrelated to the faith of Islam.
"Islam opposes such actions as committed by Maj. (Nidal Malik) Hasan. The Qur'an considers human life sacred," Imam Steve Elturk of the Islamic Association of North America said Friday morning at a press conference called by the Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan.
Army officials have said they believe Hasan acted alone when he jumped on a table with two handguns, shouted, “Allahu akbar,” a common Arabic expression meaning “God is the greatest,” and opened fire inside a building at Fort Hood, Texas.
The 13 people killed included a pregnant soldier and at least three other mental health professionals. On Thursday, Hasan was charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder.
“We called this meeting to discuss the heartbreaking event of a sick doctor who took innocent lives with his treacherous act. We are shocked, saddened and disturbed by these events”; said Victor Ghalib Begg, chairman of the Michigan council.
Begg said Muslims find themselves in a defensive position whenever a person related to the Muslim faith commits an act of violence.
“These sick people go out and shoot people down. When it happens and a Muslim is involved, the focus is on Islam. We have to defend our faith. Wouldn’t you?”; Begg said. It sounds like we are tried and convicted when people say Muslims don’t denounce terrorism and we are called terrorism sympathizers. We are pushed into a corner.”
Dawud Walid, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said the Fort Hood shooting has been the most traumatic event for Muslims since the Sept. 11 attacks.
“Many of us are on edge,” Walid, a U.S. Navy veteran, said. “;We get hate e-mails every day at our organization, and we've gotten more the last couple of days.”
The group said the thousands of Muslim men and women who wear the U.S. military uniform must not be tarnished due to the act of one.
"We don't know why Maj. Hasan did what he did," Elturk said. "We don’t know all the answers yet."