Yesterday’s tragic shootings at Fort Hood could prompt backlash against Arab and Muslim Americans. The shooter, Major Nidal Malik, was born in Virginia to Palestinian immigrants. There is concern that the shootings could be used to “fan fears about Islamic extremism.” Family members said that Nidal Malik was being harassed and even tried to leave the military.
Major Malik’s cousin, Nader Hasan, in a phone interview on Fox News said,
“You know, I don’t think he was ever disenchanted with being in the military. I think he loved, and he was the one, like I said, who insisted on going into the military, even against his parents’ wishes. It was the harassment that I think was getting—was what got to him, was him being referenced from his Middle Eastern ethnicity, even though he was born and raised here and went to high school here in northern Virginia in Roanoke, Virginia, and went to Virginia Tech and, you know, never been in trouble. You know, just normal, played sports and, you know, never got in any trouble.”
There was absolutely no justification for Major Malik’s actions. His case should be treated as a criminal case, not one that was politically motivated or driven by Islamic extremism. There is no evidence to suggest his acts were tied to any terrorist group. The United States should also address the issue of harassment (religion, gender, sexual orientation) so that another tragedy doesn’t happen again.