Major Nidal Malik Hasan's murder of 13 people at Fort Hood on November 5th was the act of an Islamic terrorist. The U.S. government is trying to explain it as just the act of a lone madman, but that's what terrorist attacks often are. Moreover, to try and depict Hasan's act as anything but Islamic terrorism ignores Islamic history. One should also note that Islamic terrorists worldwide are hailing the massacre as an act of Islamic terrorism. Who are you going to believe? Try believing history.
The main recruiter for Islamic terrorism has always been conservative Islamic clerics, especially in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. The Saudi brand of Islam, Wahhabism, has always stressed hatred for infidels (non-Moslems) and forcible conversion of everyone, everywhere, to Islam. Religious hatred is nothing new, but Wahhabism is practiced by many Saudis made rich by half a century of increasing oil wealth. Everyone is urged to join the struggle ("jihad") for making the world Moslem. You can do this as part of a group, or, as Nidal Hasan did, as an individual.
This radicalism comes along every few generations. By the 1980s, many Moslems had become disillusioned with socialism and democracy. All along, Islamic conservatives had been suggesting the Islamic way. This meant using Islam as a form of government, as well as a religion. This is how Islam worked back in the beginning. Unfortunately, it didnt work back then. This failure was explained away (as someone elses fault, or not doing it right, take your pick). And so began the popularity of radical Islam. When youre on a mission from God, the ends justify the means. It was a small step from accepting the need for an Islamic form of government, and then getting behind terrorism in the name of God. Besides, Arab armies had not been able to defeat infidel armies for a long, long time. Terrorism and the pure hearts of suicidal Islamic warriors would have to do.
True believers selectively pick out Islamic teachings that favor their goals. Take, for example, the killing of Moslems. This is explained away by believing that any Moslem that does not agree with your radical view, is not a true Moslem and must be killed. Any Moslems who do agree with you, and get killed by your bomb anyway, are simply "involuntary martyrs." Most Moslems do not believe these twisted interpretations of the Koran, but are unwilling to step up and stop the radicals. Nearly all of the 3,500 Moslems in the U.S. military accept that there are evil Moslems out there, and have no qualms about killing them. They see Iraqi and Afghan Moslems doing the same thing.
So where's the problem? It's simply that Islamic radicals have always been a part of Islam. They have been the main reason for the backwardness of Islamic countries. A thousand years ago, it was the Islamic radicals who halted the work of Islamic scientists. This continues, with the current Islamic radicals opposing schools that don't put the main emphasis on religion, or teach girls at all. There are four times more women Nobel laureates from the West than Islamic laureates of any gender. Thus Islamic radicalism is tolerated in the Islamic community, as is Islamic terrorism, at least if it is only directed against kaffirs (non-Moslems).
Dreams of world conquest are also nothing new for Moslems either. Wahhabism demanded it, and pronounced the mission an order from God. Wahhabism also encouraged suicide missions, by assuring those who did a wonderful time in the afterlife. While Wahhabism (subsidized by the Saudi royal family, as a form of extortion payment to radical clerics) controlled the education of most young Saudis, what really got the Islamic revolution going was al Jazeera and the general failure of Arab society during the last half century. This combination of mass media and social failure is how religious hatred and terrorism became hugely popular throughout the Moslem world.
But one of the main inspirations for the current outbreak of Islamic terrorism is the failure of Arab, and to a lesser extent Moslem, society in the last half century. Actually, Islam has been an economic and political disaster for centuries. But for a long time colonialism and the Ottoman empire gave the Islamic world a comfortable excuse for their problems. But the Ottoman empire has been gone since 1918, and colonialism completely disappeared by the 1960s. Despite over a trillion dollars in oil wealth, and proximity to large markets for products, the Arab economies have gone downhill over the last half century. Political progress has been similarly retrograde, with tyrants and dictators being the most common form of government. Same with education, science and just about everything else. No progress. Except terrorism. Arab and Moslem terror is nothing new, its just gotten more press exposure in the last decade.
Arab nations have tried democracy, monarchy and socialism, but none of these has been able to cure the curse of corruption, tyranny and lack of economic progress. The Wahabi zealots of Saudi Arabia always held out another possibility; Islam. Not just prayer and a virtuous lifestyle, but forcing other Moslems, and non-Moslems, to practice Wahhabism as well. This religious solution only worked if everyone was converted. That would end the oppression of Moslems, as true Moslems do not oppress other Moslems. Wahhabism saw the non-Moslem world as inherently evil, and the Saudi kings always had a hard time introducing new technologies (like radio, TV and modern medicine) into the kingdom because of the opposition from Wahabi zealots who saw these Infidel inventions as un-Islamic and inherently evil.
Then there was Israel. Moslems had been driving infidels out of Islamic nations for a long time. Thats why most Arab-Americans are Arab Christians. Despite having been there before Islam came along, Arab Christians (and Arabs professing other religions) were always under pressure to either convert, or leave. Many of those who left over the past two centuries, came to America, and prospered in a much more tolerant society. When Jews began migrating to Palestine in the 19th century (to join the few who had always been there since the Romans ran most Jews out of the area 1800 years earlier), the Turks (who ran the area), were glad to have them. The Jews were mostly from Europe, and they brought with them money, technology and education. The Moslem Turks had long accepted Jewish refugees from religious oppression in Europe, but not many of those had come along since the 17th century. The Jews settled in and prospered, as did their Moslem neighbors. The word got around, and more Arabs moved to Palestine, to take advantage of the economic boom.
Then the Turkish empire disappeared in 1918, and the British took over. The Arabs didnt like this, as it was one imperial master replacing another. And at least the Turks were Moslem. Arabs increased their use of terror against Jews and Christians in Palestine. The Jews fought back. After World War II, many more Jews arrived. In many parts of Palestine, Jews were now the majority. The Jews joined the Arabs in demanding that the British leave. In 1947 the British agreed, and tried to get the Arabs and Jews to agree on how to divide between them political control of the area they both lived in. The Arabs would agree to nothing, and other Arab nations in the region vowed to exterminate the Jews. They tried in 1948 and failed. They tried again in 1956, 67 and 73. And failed again.
Each failure was more humiliating than the last. Rather than accept blame for a dumb policy, inept diplomacy and military incompetence, the Arabs blamed outsiders, especially the United States. For decades, Arab propaganda, including stuff included in schoolbooks for kids, insisted that the Israelis were illegally occupying Arab land, were not capable to doing so without the assistance of other nations (especially the United States), committed the most outrageous (and non-existent) atrocities, and that there could be no compromise on this issue of Palestinian control. The message was clear; Israel must be destroyed, and Arabs were not at fault in creating the situation.
Now we have millions of faultless, religiously inflamed and angry Arabs joining in a war on terror. Thats where the terrorists come from. But they also come from countries where Arabs have migrated to. When the foreign born Arab tries to reconnect with his roots, in runs into a snake pit of religious and ethnic hatreds. The Islamic radicals want what they cant have (world conquest) and are willing to die, and kill, to get it. Al Qaeda became a momentary focus for all of this world conquest stuff. But al Jazeera really got the ball rolling by making the most of the its not our fault attitude as it cheered on the terrorists via satellite TV broadcasts.
But it gets worse. Wahhabism is based on the mainstream Sunni form of Islam. That means that the 15 percent of Moslems who are not Sunni, are heretics and worthy of the most horrible punishments. This explains the tolerance the Arab media, and governments, showed towards Saddam Hussein. Some 60 percent of Iraqis are Shia Arabs, while only 20 percent are Sunni Arab (including Saddam). Wahabi zealots in Saudi Arabia could not tolerate Shias running Iraq, despite what a bloody tyrant Saddam was.
Most Arabs, and Moslems in general, are not too happy with all this terrorism in the name of Islam. But they are trapped by ancient lies, and compelled to, at the very least, look the other way. This is becoming more difficult as the Moslem bodies pile up, killed by Islamic terrorists. It is very difficult for the Arab world to admit they have been wrong, stupid and repeating errors for decades. While more Arab scholars and journalists have been pointing out the problems, these radical ideas are spreading slowly, and often against violent resistance. The Arab world is an intolerant place, with those professing unpopular ideas often being imprisoned, killed or driven into exile.
But thats where the terrorists come from, and will keep coming until most Arabs realize the self-imposed ignorance and international terrorism doesnt work. Major Hasan, was not satisfied with all the advantages America provided. He wanted more, and he found the road to mass murder in the exhortations of Islamic radicalism. It was all someone else's fault, and they must pay. Hasan found allies in the U.S. The FBI estimates that at least twenty percent of the mosques in America feature sermons that encourage Islamic radicalism. It will be a long time before that changes, because Islamic radicalism has been tolerated, and nurtured in Islam since the beginning. Despite the failure of Islamic radicalism to ever accomplish anything positive, it's part of the culture, as are the often horrific results.