Original Article: 'Going Muslim'
Tunku Varadarajan, 11.09.09, 12:00 AM ETSource at Forbes.com
"Going postal" is a piquant American phrase that describes the phenomenon of violent rage in which a worker--archetypically a postal worker--"snaps" and guns down his colleagues.
As the enormity of the actions of Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan sinks in, we must ask whether we are confronting a new phenomenon of violent rage, one we might dub--disconcertingly--"Going Muslim."
This phrase would describe the turn of events where a seemingly integrated Muslim-American--a friendly donut vendor in New York, say, or an officer in the U.S. Army at Fort Hood--discards his apparent integration into American society and elects to vindicate his religion in an act of messianic violence
against his fellow Americans. This would appear to be what happened in the case of Maj. Hasan.
The difference between "going postal," in the conventional sense, and "going Muslim," in the sense that I suggest, is that there would not necessarily be a psychological "snapping" point in the case of the imminently violent Muslim; instead, there could be a calculated discarding of camouflage
--the camouflage of integration--in an act of revelatory catharsis. In spite of suggestions by some who know him that he had a history of "harassment" as a Muslim in the army, Maj. Hasan did not "snap" in the "postal" manner. He gave away his possessions on the morning of his day of murder. He even gave away--to a neighbor--a packet of frozen broccoli that he did not wish to see go to waste, even as he mapped in his mind the laying waste of lives at Fort Hood. His was a meticulous, even punctilious "departure."
We are a civilized society. One of our cardinal rules of coexistence is that we (try always to) judge people only by their actions and not by their identity, whether racial, religious or sexual. This is our great strength as a society, and also, in the present circumstances, our great weakness: How to address the threat posed by the fact that, of the hundreds of thousands of Muslims in our midst, there are a few (perhaps many more than a few) who are so radicalized that they would kill their fellow Americans?
Must we continue to be neutral in handling all people from different groups even though we know that there are differential risks posed by people of one group? The problem here is a heightened version of the airport security problem, where we check all people--including Chinese grandmothers--regardless of risk profiles. But can we afford that on a grand, national scale?
(And I mean that question not merely in a financial sense, but also in terms of the price we'd pay in failing to detect a threat in time.)( Collapse )Are we also going black? going 'jap'? going jew? going hindu? I guess he's trying to say something along the lines of legislators *are* too politically correct, laws *should* be dictated on... well bigotry and irrational hatred of large groups of non-homogeneous people.
Oh I wish he elaborated on how to tell risky muslims apart in the air-port from harmless non-muslims... should we go by whether or not they have giant beards?